With Halloween just around the corner, the job search portal CareerCast.com has released its seasonally appropriate list of the creepiest careers in America. The list of six vocations focused on those that required contact with insects and other vermin, and disclosed their average annual salaries. But CNBC.com decided to supplement the list with other jobs as well, jobs that are considered creepy in multiple senses of the word.
What follows is a list of jobs that are not for anyone but those with very strong stomachs. Some of them pay well and some don’t. Some require years of schooling, while others only offer the trial by fire that is on-the-job training, whether the rookie hire is ready for it or not. Whatever the case, these jobs are for a narrow subset of workers with a high threshold for unpleasantness.
What are 10 of the creepiest jobs in America? Click ahead and find out.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 20 October 2011
Average Salary: $47,740
Entomology is the scientific study of insects. The insect kingdom is vast, with an estimated population of between six million to 10 million species, according to the 1997 book “Biodiversity II: Understanding and Protecting Our Biological Resources.” The field entomologist observes them in their natural habitats, and uses the findings to expand our understanding of them.
The field of entomology is not for everyone, since a significant number of people experience overpowering feelings of revulsion at the mere sight of a single insect. However, for those brave souls who find insects fascinating, the job offers an average annual salary of $47,740, according to CareerCast.com.
Average Salary: $43,480
With any luck, most of us won’t see a dead body too often, and on the rare occasion when we do, it will be at a memorial service. In this context, the deceased has been cleaned up, dressed immaculately and made to look as though he or she is merely sleeping, an effect achieved for the benefit of the living by the embalmer.
Embalming dates back to mankind’s earliest cultures. As the years have passed, the art has undergone scientific advances that have made it safer and more sanitary for its practitioners. Be that as it may, many people just don’t want to hang around dead bodies all day, and the vocation is perceived as creepy by wide swaths of the population.
The median annual salary for embalmers is $43,480, according to a May 2010 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Average Salary: $30,340
Finding a cockroach or mouse in one’s kitchen is a viscerally upsetting experience for homeowners and apartment dwellers alike. An intrepid few will take it upon themselves to rid their residences of vermin, but often that job is almost as unpleasant as the creatures they’re trying to eliminate, particularly when it comes to disposing of mice who have met grisly fates in glue traps.
Pest control specialists, more commonly known as exterminators, get their hands dirty so that the easily sickened won’t have to. Whether ridding a studio apartment of bedbugs or removing an entire rat population from a high-rise office building, the pest control specialist performs a valuable service for which he or she receives an average annual salary of $30,340, according to CareerCast.com.
Average Salary: $23,380
McDonald’s serves hamburgers to 64 million of its loyal customers every day, according to a 2010 report issued by the company. It is likely, however, that this figure would be much lower if those same customers had to slaughter the cows and process the carcasses themselves.
This unsavory task is instead performed by slaughterers, so the customers can enjoy their Quarter Pounders in a blissfully unaware state. Slaughterers work in abattoirs and meat packing plants, and despite the public service that they’re performing, the pay is not that great. The mean annual wage is $23,380, according to a May 2010 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Average Salary: $61,660
An arachnologist studies spiders, scorpions, ticks or any other of the 10,000 species of invertebrate arthropods that one finds crawling on the floorboards. The arachnologist studies their biology, behavior and effect on the ecosystem, and determines if they can be used to control the crop-threatening insect populations on which they dine.
Needless to say, anyone who’s even remotely squeamish about tarantulas and ticks is not advised to pursue a career in this field. However, those who choose to specialize in this area can earn $61,660 a year to do so, according to CareerCast.com.
Average Salary: $30,000
Even the most careful and diligent motorist is not immune to the occasional accident. Sadly, sometimes that accident is a high-velocity encounter with an errant animal that wandered onto the road. For many motorists unfortunate enough to experience this, the feelings of sadness and guilt can be overwhelming. Not so overwhelming, however, that they’ll actually remove the unfortunate animal from the road and clean the spot where it met its maker.
This is where the road kill removal specialist enters the picture. He or she removes the unlucky varmint from the road, cleans the affected patch of asphalt and disposes of the remains in a tidy fashion. In doing so, they keep the highway clear and spare motorists a gruesome sight on their daily commutes. The specialist earns an average annual salary of $30,000, according to CareerCast.com.
Average Salary: $39,000
The sites of violent crimes are not just dotted with bullet holes and shattered windows. They’re also a sanitary nightmare, and once the police investigation is done and the landlord wants to rent out the apartment again, someone has to clean all that splattered sinew out of the carpeting.
The crime scene cleaner offers this valuable service, but at considerable risk. In addition to the stomach-churning nature of the work, the cleaner is also exposed to potential biohazards, and in order to receive certification he or she must be vaccinated for Hepatitis B. The median average salary for this job is $39,000, according to SimplyHired.com.
Average Salary: $61,660
A reptologist studies snakes, lizards, alligators and other cold-blooded organisms. While revulsion at snakes is arguably less acute to the layman as perhaps revulsion at insects, the average individual still doesn’t want to pet one, much less feed it live mice or clean its cage.
Reptologists do all that and more. Their study of the scaly creatures normally takes place in zoos or museums, and the average annual salary is $61,660, according to CareerCast.com. This is the same annual salary that an arachnologist earns, so those unhappy with working with tarantulas can transition to iguanas without sacrificing the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.
Average Salary: $33,570
Many homeowners fancy themselves handy with a toolbox. These amateur Bob Villas are ready to take on whatever malfunctioning household feature is in need of repair, be it a screen door that requires hanging or a light fixture that needs replacing. These same individuals will draw the line, however, when it comes to servicing a septic tank.
Septic tank servicers perform the maintenance and repair of drains, sewer lines and tanks, and generally make sure that all of our homes’ less savory functions do what they’re supposed to do. A septic tank servicer earns a mean annual salary of $33,570, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Average Salary: $47,740
Those who want to work with the deceased can become morticians, those that want to work with blood can become phlebotomists and those that want to work with insects can become exterminators. However, for those wishing to achieve a trifecta, only the field of forensic entomology will do.
A forensic entomologist uses an encyclopedic knowledge of insects to assist police in solving crimes. Typically, he or she turns up at the scene and collects data about such unappetizing phenomena as maggot mass. This reveals the length of time that the victim has been laying there, and it ultimately helps police begin to build a case file.
Forensic entomology requires study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and it’s the creepiest job in America according to CareerCast.com. Its annual salary is just $47,740, which may seem like a low wage for unpleasant work that requires so many hours of study. For those hoping to work in a creepy field, however, the sacrifices are well worth it. Just don’t forget to bring an extra large box of latex gloves.