By Christine Laue, PayScale.com
For all the primping and prepping you do for a date, Cupid enlists dozens of co-conspirators to make the big event go perfectly.
The esthetician taming unruly eyebrow hairs wants you to look flawless, and the sommelier pouring wine certainly doesn’t want to ruin the mood with a merlot mishap.
This Valentine’s Day, online salary database PayScale.com takes a look at five jobs that play a role in the perfect date. The jobs below pay from $35,000 to $58,000 annually.
1. Executive Chef – $50,200
Forget oysters as an aphrodisiac. One couple loved Chef Clayton Chapman’s seared scallops with white chocolate so much that the gentleman asked Chapman four years later to re-create it to surprise his wife. Chapman, executive chef and owner of The Grey Plume fine dining restaurant in Omaha, Neb., happily obliged.
“Things like that are why we cook,” Chapman said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that people want to share that time in their life with us.”
Many executive chefs start as food preparation or line cooks and work their way up. While postsecondary training isn’t necessarily required, many executives chefs attend community college, technical school, culinary arts school. Some may earn a two- or four-year college degree in hospitality.
2. Clinical Esthetician – $38,400
You want your date to stare into your eyes, not at your caterpillar-like unibrow. Enter the esthetician.
These skincare specialists are part of the “personal appearance” category that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports will grow by over 25 percent from 2010 to 2020 — much faster than the average for all occupations.
All states require most “personal appearance” workers to be licensed, but qualifications vary by state. Generally, clinical estheticians require more training than a regular esthetician and can work in settings such as a doctor’s office or medical spa.
3. Sommelier – $58,200
Bordeaux? Pinot? Know the difference and you might be a good match for a job all about match-making. The sommelier is skilled in the art of matching wine with food to enhance flavor.
Jesse Becker, a Master Sommelier, asks couples on dates questions so he can find a wine that will create a romantic experience to “blow them away” — not so he can show off his encyclopedic knowledge.
“I’m really in the background,” said Becker, owner of PWMWINE.com, a San Francisco wine importer. “It’s a role that I play because I love service and I have a passion for it.”
Other than some states’ age requirement of 18 or older, there are no prerequisites to become a sommelier. Still, the job requires special knowledge. Many are self-taught, while the most serious pursue the Court of Master Sommeliers’ courses and exams.
4. Jeweler – $40,500
For an important date, you might turn to a jeweler for a custom-made bracelet or a pair of monogrammed cufflinks.
Traditionally, jewelers have learned their trade by several months of on-the-job training. But more are turning to vocational or technical schools or distance-learning centers. Many also study gemology. Art and design schools also offer Bachelor of Fine Arts or Master of Fine Arts in jewelry design.
5. Pastry Chef – $35,500
There’s no better way to wrap up a date than with whipped cream — on a decadent dessert, of course. And not just anyone can make whoopie pies and red velvet cake to a romantic standard. A pastry chef is the go-to professional who specializes in making these sweets.
Many pastry chefs start in lower-position food service jobs and work their way up, and postsecondary training isn’t necessarily required. Even so, many receive formal training from a community college, technical school or culinary arts school. The American Culinary Federation certifies pastry professionals, but certification isn’t required.
Source: Salary data is provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Salaries listed are annual salaries for full-time workers with 8-12 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.
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