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16 Well-Paying Jobs That Make Social Distancing Easy

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scientist walking in a field of crops
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Works Well Without Others

While many companies have announced that their employees won't be returning to the workplace until 2021, many American workers are already back in the office a few days a week or more, doing their best to stay safe by keeping 6 feet apart and wearing masks. If you are in a high-risk health category or live with someone who is, that's a source of constant anxiety. Thinking about a career switch? Here are a handful of jobs — creative, technical, and everything in between — that don't require a lot of close contact with others, along with median pay (for 2019) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related: 25 Companies With the Most Work-From-Home Jobs Right Now

Personal Chef
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Private or Personal Chef

Median pay: $37,870
The median pay isn't nearly as high as some other careers on this list, but keep in mind that private chefs at the top of their game can earn more than $80,000 per year. If you have stellar culinary skills as well as the contacts and marketing know-how to back that up, you could find yourself earning quite a bit of dough. As for social interaction, some private chefs work with one family in that family's home; others cook for multiple families out of their own kitchen and deliver meals. 

Related: 23 Entry-Level Jobs You Can Do From Home With No Experience

Forestry worker or tree faller thinning a forest
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Tree Faller

Median pay: $44,650
Like life a little on the dangerous side? If a job description that includes "run to safety as tree falls" doesn't scare you off, being a faller for a logging company is a job that certainly doesn't require a lot of human interaction. Other parts of the job include being familiar with tree characteristics and clearing debris using chain saws and axes. Up to 25% of fallers make more than the average pay — some nearly $80,000 per year.

Truck Driver
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Truck Driver

Median pay: $45,260
It might not be the highest paying job on this list, but with little secondary education needed to perform the duties, nailing a job as a heavy or tractor-trailer truck driver who transports goods from one location to another — often with very little human contact — is an opportunity that's ripe for the picking if you're not intimidated by large machinery and enjoy a paid road trip. 

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Archivist
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Archivist

Median pay: $49,850
Also sometimes called a curator, this job requires overseeing the collections of institutions — think museums, historical sites, colleges, corporations, etc. — often with few close coworkers. Archivists and curators worked with artwork, historical items, and the like. While higher-level positions often require a master's degree, some museum technicians have just a bachelor's degree. In the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 10-year job growth outlook of 2018-2028, this field is projected for faster than average growth.

soil sample
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Geological and Petroleum Technician

Median pay: $51,130
According to the BLS, workers in this field "test or analyze geological samples ... to detect presence of petroleum, gas, or mineral deposits" to gauge potential for "exploration or production or to determine physical or chemical properties ..." These technicians also have one of the lowest "contact with others" scores, according to O*NET data. Another bonus: Jobs in this field are expected to grow faster than average over the next 10 years.

mail carrier wearing a mask
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Mail Carrier

Median pay: $55,210
Yes, delivering mail can involve a lot of walking, but if that's not a problem for you, this is a job that doesn't require too much interaction with others — although keep in mind that you'll have to start and end at the post office, and some duties will be required of you there that will bring you in contact with others. That said, if you always fancied having a job that would let you listen to podcasts and/or audiobooks while you work, this one's pretty well-suited for that. 

Related: Why Stamp Prices Keep Rising as the Post Office Sinks Slowly

Editor on a laptop
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Editor

Median pay: $61,370
Editor positions are somewhat on the decline, but it's unlikely that opportunities for skilled editors — those who are concerned not only with spelling, punctuation, and syntax but also improving readability and developing content ideas — will ever completely disappear. Editors must work with writers and other professionals, but that work can often be done without face-to-face interaction. 

Related: How Working From Home Long-Term Will Save You Money

plant scientist
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Soil and Plant Scientist

Median pay: $62,430
Folks in this field study the breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops, plants, and soil. The job often involves research and experimentation and could be appealing to someone who finds inspiration in both the outdoors and science. It's a field that is expected to grow rapidly in the next 10 years and, for those who have an ecological mindset, it is considered an occupation that will play a role in the "green economy" of the future.

Zoologist
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Zoologist/Wildlife Biologist

Median pay: $63,270
Wildlife biologists and zoologists spend a fair amount of time working with animals, not other people, and they can work in offices, outdoors, and in labs. Duties include making recommendations for managing wildlife populations and habitat, writing reports or giving presentations, and studying wildlife in natural settings. Many jobs within this field require only a bachelor's degree while top-level positions can require subsequent degrees.

Landscape Architect
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Landscape Architect

Median pay: $69,360
If you like plants more than people and don't mind the occasional bout of manual labor, landscape architecture could be the job for you. In most cases, it requires a bachelor's degree. Landscape designers tend to spend a fair amount of time in offices creating models, and can also meet with clients remotely. There is some amount of time spent on job sites, but even there, the coworkers are few and the outdoor locations are safer than indoors.

Related: Are You Required to Put Yourself in Harm’s Way? Know Your Rights When Returning to Work

Technical Writer
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Technical Writer

Median pay: $72,850
If you have a gift for writing and have often looked at manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and the like and thought, "I could do better," a career as a technical writer might be for you. It's a field that's expected to grow faster than average, and job applicants with technical skills and knowledge of scientific and technical products — including web-based products — can expect to have a good shot at jobs in this industry.

Video game artist or creator
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Multimedia Artist and Animator

Median pay: $75,270
If you don't mind working on a computer most of the time, this field ticks a lot of boxes other than being a great career for social distancing. Multimedia artists and animators can work in the video game industry, marketing and advertising, film and TV, and more. The job requires creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and more, so it's not likely to get boring with repetitive tasks. It usually requires a bachelor's degree and is expected to have average growth.

Statistician
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Statistician

Median pay: $87,780
For someone who enjoys analyzing and interpreting data and solving complex problems, the field of statistics is a well-compensated one that doesn't require a ton of human interaction and is expected to have faster than average growth. This job will likely require higher education, however, as about 85% of respondents in one O*NET survey of statisticians had either a master's or doctorate degree. That said, those who excel in this field can expect to make between $110,000 and $140,000 per year.

Data Scientist
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Data Scientist

Median pay: $94,280
Okay, so data scientists get paid pretty darn well, but what exactly do they do? According Northeastern University's graduate blog, they "work closely with business stakeholders to understand their goals and determine how data can be used to achieve those goals." This includes designing modeling processes, creating algorithms and the like, and then analyzing data for insights. This sounds pretty specialized, sure, but if you feel like you have a knack for big-picture stuff, there are data science boot camps all over the country that don't require years of schooling.

Actuary
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Actuary

Median pay: $108,350
You have to be something of a numbers whiz to get this job done, as these number crunchers use "mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty," per the BLS, but you'll be well paid for those tasks. And, with a 20% growth outlook expected between 2018-2028, this is a field projected to grow much faster than average.

medical researcher
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Researcher

Median pay: Varies
This is an expansive category, because research enthusiasts can find work in just about any field or industry: marketing, medical, legal, political, historical, etc. While the interests of researchers can vary, people in this field need to have better-than-average writing skills and also be copacetic with spending a good bit of time on their own. The pay and level of education needed can vary widely based on the industry. Market research analysts, for example, have median pay of nearly $64,000 per year, while computer and information research scientists can make more than $122,000 annually.