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Make Money Using Your Natural Talents

Here are 5 skills you can leverage into part-time work

2. Medical Equipment Maintenance and Repair

The nitty-gritty: Were you the kid who always took things apart in the garage for the sheer fun of putting them back together? From wheelchairs to gurneys, if you've got the fix-it gene, this is a fast-growing job that plays right into your innate mechanical ability. Medical equipment repairers maintain and fix a variety of equipment from electric wheelchairs to EKG machines. For the most part, the tasks call for steadiness and good hand-eye coordination. But it's the inner awareness of how things work and fit together that allows you to not only enjoy this work, but also succeed in it. It can be physically demanding, as bending, crouching and standing go with the territory. Employment of medical equipment repairers is projected to grow 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, much faster than the average for all occupations. As you might expect, jobs can be found at hospitals, assisted care communities, medical centers, physicians' offices, health and personal care stores and medical equipment wholesalers. You might be called in for emergency repairs, so fast work under pressure must be in your wheelhouse.

Pay: A median of $44,490 per year; $21.39 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Qualifications: Education requirements for medical equipment repairers depend on what kinds of equipment you're in charge of. If you stick to hospital beds, gurneys and electric wheelchairs, you may learn entirely through on-the-job training. Medical device manufacturers, too, often provide technical training. If you work on high-tech equipment, such as CAT scanners and defibrillators, however, you may need a bachelor's degree in engineering or biomedical equipment technology. Even so, medical equipment technology is swiftly advancing, and new devices are coming onstream all the time. As a result, repairers must constantly update skills and knowledge of equipment. Employers, particularly in hospitals, often pay for their in-house medical repairers to become certified. For example, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers certification in three specialty areas: Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician, Certified Radiology Equipment Specialists, and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist.

3. Calligraphy Artist

The nitty-gritty: It's the power of penmanship. In our digital world, where the electronic signature is becoming status quo, those who can create flowing cursive writing with smooth coordination and fine motor skills are few and far between. You can use your dexterity to create fonts and scripts for company logos, wedding invitations, place cards and menus, among other word-based undertakings. You probably won't get rich, but there is work for someone who practices the antique art of calligraphy. You must be detail-oriented and embrace the slow, steady pace of creating looping letters.

Pay: Most calligraphers set the rate themselves based on how many envelopes they can do in an hour, for example, or how long it takes to design an invitation. $30 to $50 an hour plus the cost of supplies is standard, but it can be higher. The average annual salary for calligraphy jobs is $64,000, according to

Qualifications: A formal degree is not necessary to land work in this field, but art courses in calligraphy can ramp up your natural talent for handwriting. Look for offerings at a community college in your area. There are also professional associations for calligraphers, including the Society of Scribes and the Society for Calligraphy. Members can enroll in workshops and attend annual conferences, as well as tap into professional listings and networking prospects. The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting offers a selection of free online courses. The Washington Calligraphers Guild, a nonprofit organization, connects calligraphers with peers and potential employers.

Next page: Make money with fitness training or sewing talent. »

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