Most everyone hates speaking in front of a crowd. So if that’s one of your skills, take advantage.

Fear of public speaking ranks among Americans’ top terrors, some surveys say, surpassing fear of flying, terrorism, and often even death itself. Amazing, right?

So you’ve got a seriously handy career skill if you love the limelight or the rush of making speeches in front of hundreds or even thousands of people.

Ready to put your public speaking prowess to work? Check out these crowd-pleasing careers.

1. Spokesperson 

You’ll get plenty of time in front of cameras and crowds as a spokesperson or press secretary. Whether you’re working for a politician, an organization or a celebrity, you make sure public announcements are delivered in the most appropriate fashion possible.

Your goal? Maximize positive coverage.

Average salary: $31,000 – $95,000

2. Professor

Enjoy the privilege of public speaking on a daily basis as a college professor.

However, beware that this might be one of the tougher gigs on the list. Not only do you write and produce most of your own material, you work for a tricky audience: your words must engage even the sleepiest college freshman.

Average salary: $30,000 – $129,000

3. Speech Writer

True, as a speech writer you don’t actually give the speeches yourself. But you must know the subtle science of how to rouse an audience, build a speech that can motivate hundreds, and tack on that perfect finishing line.

Without ever getting near a podium, you’re still the expert on the ultimate version of crowd control.

Average salary: $31,000 – $95,000

4. News Anchor

You deliver the news to hundreds, thousands or even millions of viewers. In this center-stage job, you’re responsible for accurate, appropriate and concise delivery on every broadcast.

Plus, you’re expected to keep your cool—and sometimes even improvise—when reporting on breaking news. No pressure, right?

Average salary: $28,000 – $146,000

5. Politician

From your first campaign speech to your last address on legislation, your job as a politician is full of connecting with crowds. In fact, public speaking is an essential skill in this role: a good speech can make or break a political career.

What’s more, your turns of persuasive phrase can be vital for bringing about the change you want to see in the world.

Average salary: Highly varied

6. Religious Leader

As a pastor, priest, minister or any other religious leader, a major part of your work is to inspire those around you through spoken words. During a service, you give rousing speeches, offer inspirational ideas, and read out religious texts for all to hear.

This means you’ve got a lot of responsibility: People come from miles around to hear you speak and grow their spiritual understanding, so you’ve got to be on your game 24/7.

Average salary: $24,000 – $77,000

7. Motivational Speaker

Motivational speaker takes the cake as the ultimate crowd-pleasing career. Using your voice, energy and charisma, you get up on stage to inspire people to change their lives—whether by finding love, finishing their novel or simply transforming their outlook.

In this role, you are the master of working a group so that each and every person feels like you’re speaking directly to them.

Average salary: $23,000 – $86,000 

All salary data comes from the US Department of Labor.

Are you a crowd pleaser? What public speaking roles would you add to the list?

Annie Favreau works for Inside Jobs, a career exploration site that helps people discover a career they’ll love and build strong, successful futures. Join the conversation @InsideJobs!


  1. USC Sol Price

    This is great. I’d add admission counselor to the list. I spend a lot of my time in graduate admission giving talks about our public policy program to large and small groups of people.

    • Anonymous

      That’s a great career to add to the list! Thanks for sharing.

  2. David353

    Public speaking skills should be given more attention in our schools. when you think about it a good percentage of our students will end up working in the corporate world and have literally zero skills when it comes to public speaking. some will use tools and techniques such as self hypnotherapy techniques ( to conquer their fear of speaking. I believe tools like these will go along way in helping those of us who were never taught the skills of speaking in public.

  3. Cherry Davis

    I could do ALL these jobs other than being a minister (not very religious).

  4. MacKenzie Sheppard

    What majors does one take to perform one of these careers?

    • Hale Archer

      1) Spokesperson – major in communications
      2) Professor – get a PhD in the field you wish to teach.

      3) Speech Writer – a journalism or creative writing degree would be nice, although you might not need a degree if you have talent (and connections).

      4) New Anchor – Journalism, Communications and / or a theatrical, performance or fine arts degree (some schools have a “multi media dept,” etc. OR, you could take independent classes to learn audio and / or teleprompter skills (especially teleprompter).

      5) Politician – You might start with a political science (poly sci), business or international affairs degree (international relations is becoming increasingly important for politicians, especially at the federal level.

      6) Religious – Seminary (I guess)?

      7) Motivation Speaking doesn’t really require a degree, although you might want to take some public speaking courses (toastmasters, Dale Carnegie Training, etc.), unless you are a natural.

  5. Xaviar Quintin Surls

    I want to be a Motivational speaker, not ordained to preach, I am a hell of a lot better than Obama, dislike news anchors, I am writing a book, professor is not me goal. Speech you need in all of them.

  6. Jeff Wilson

    I am beginning to think it may be time to start pursuing a career where I could serve in this sort of capacity.

  7. Michael White

    I am working as a doctor here in Mexico, and have a British passport. Wpuld love to live and work in the USA in a job that focuses on public soeaking. I am ready to give up my profession to make a change in my life, and be more productive.

  8. Robert J. Seyko

    I love speaking in public. Perhaps more than anything I do. My family, friends, and professional associates have told me repeatedly over the years that I am very good. But I don’t know how to get public speaking opportunities. Any help would be appreciated.

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