When we think of creative jobs, we typically gravitate toward artists or musicians, painters, writers, and architects—the traditional “creative” thinkers. But the larger market is full of jobs that require creative thought and expression.
But at the core of creativity is the ability to develop original ideas and find unique ways to solve problems—there are far more creatives among us beyond the painters and musicians and dancers.
Take a look at these jobs that prove creativity can be found in even the most unlikely of places.
Average salary: $51,629
Interpreters must possess a great deal of knowledge and creativity to not only speak and write fluently in at least two languages, but to take nuance and meaning from one language to another. Translation requires a great capacity for creative thinking and a profound understanding of language
Average salary: $79,825
Physicists study the mysteries and interactions of energy and matter. It takes a large amount of creative thinking to develop hypotheses on how the world works and create experiments to test these otherworldly theories.
Average salary: $62,896
Every patient a mental health therapist sees requires a specialized approach and individualized attention. Therapists must convert their knowledge of the body and mind into personalized and effective solutions.
4. Criminal investigator
Average salary: $66,641
Criminal investigators have to work backward, sometimes with very little material, to find the truth. It requires great patience, understanding of people, systems, and culture, plus the ability to synthesize all of that.
5. UX researcher
Average salary: $83,369
It takes a lot of creativity to design a website or online system and make it visually appealing, but it’s just as important to uncover how users interact with it and to make the experience as simple and easy to use as possible.
6. Political campaign manager
Average salary: $56,840
A campaign manager wears many hats: advertiser, fundraiser, crisis manager, spokesperson, marketer, PR rep, and general champion for their candidate. It’s not easy to sway the opinions of the public, so creative thinking and new ideas are necessary to make an impact.
Average salary: $83,377
Some may think of lawyers of paper pushers, but most areas of law require a great deal of creative thinking. Creating compelling arguments, uncovering facts (that someone may not want you to find), interviewing experts, winning over a jury, and conducting deep research are all ways attorneys must be creative in their work.
8. SEO strategist
Average salary: $58,860
While some see search engine optimization as simply plugging in keywords throughout a website, the process actually involves a high level of skill and strategy. SEO strategists conduct research on their target market, keywords, and competitors to optimize website content and advertisements to boost traffic and overall business performance—all for search algorithms that change daily.
9. Wedding planner
Average salary: $41,429
Any kind of event planning requires a long to-do list and lots of organization. But with wedding planning specifically, it takes an extra dose of creativity to work with two families, interpret ideas, create the perfect atmosphere, coordinate timing to a tee, and do it all within budget.
Average salary: $20,261
Mojitos, margaritas, and Bloody Marys are great, but bartenders at craft cocktail bars and high-end restaurants and hotels are artists in their own right. Many write their own menus, create their own mixers and bitters, and even invent new drinks on the fly—all while making it look oh, so easy.
11. Small business owner
Average salary: $68,000 (can vary widely)
Small business owners often operate on islands, coordinating the ins and outs of the business: imagining great products, marketing them to customers, balancing the books, drumming up new business, racing the competition, and then starting all over again.
12. Medical sales representative
Average salary: $74,074
Any kind of sales jobs require creative energy to craft a value proposition that appeals to customers’ unique and changing needs. Medical sales can be a crowded field and customers are busy, so getting a foot in the door (literally), can require a great deal of creativity.
13. University athletic director
Average salary: $76,880
Athletic directors are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the roster of sports teams, coaches, and players. These directors need creativity to efficiently juggle recruiting, scheduling, training, fund raising, press requests, and budgets.
14. Personal financial advisor
Average salary: $60,519
Financial planning is a creative job that requires advisors to think differently for each client, who come with different goals for their money and ideas for managing it. Personal financial advisors have to think of practical ways to cut costs, plan for future expenses, and meet short- and long-term goals.