Top 15 Creepiest Careers & What They Pay Spooky, Dirty or Downright Scary, These Jobs Aren’t for the Faint of Heart

While many students train for careers that are considered somewhat traditional, others want to work off the beaten path and do things every day most people would never dream of — things that may be considered odd or downright eerie. Continue reading to find out about 15 creepy jobs that will send a shiver down your spine while making your skin crawl. For some, these occupations may range from disturbing to disgusting, but for the people who hold these creepy positions, they are every bit as rewarding as they are challenging.

Bomb Technician

Whenever there’s a bomb threat, these brave professionals are on the front lines investigating whether or not there is an actual explosive device at a location or if it’s all a hoax. After doing a sweep of the area to detect and identify explosives, bomb technicians are tasked with carefully deactivating and disposing of the devices, as well as ensuring that everyone at the location is evacuated safely. In some cases, bomb technicians may be required to work on cases involving people wearing suicide vests or hostage situations that include explosives. Once they have gained experience dealing with different types of emergency situations, they may go on to train other technicians.

Bomb technicians are generally police officers who receive specialized training, which can take up to eight months to complete, to do this dangerous job. During this training, professionals learn how to deal with different types of bomb threats, including when an explosive device is on the roof of a building, underwater, or in a parking lot. Also, as bomb technicians learn these skills, they build their communication, teamwork, and critical thinking abilities.

  • Mean annual wage: $62,960

  • Degree level required: High school diploma

Crab Fisherman

Seafood lovers may know how to serve up a cookbook’s worth of delicious king crab dishes, but they may not know much about how crab fishermen must navigate dangerous Alaskan waters in order to get those crabs on their plate. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, crab fishermen have one of the most dangerous careers out there, with 37 of these professionals dying on the job between 2003 and 2009 alone. The common causes for these workplace fatalities are drowning because of rough seas and waves, as well as fishermen being thrown overboard after getting accidentally entangled in the 800-pound steel cages they work with, which are known as crab pots. Also, it is not uncommon for job related deaths to be caused by workers getting hypothermia.

Despite the potential dangers, some people are still interested in getting these deadly catches, which entails daily tasks such as using equipment to pinpoint where the crabs are located, dropping baited crab pots in the water and retrieving them after they are full, and finally sorting and storing the catch.

  • Mean annual wage: $28,530

  • Degree level required: Not required

Crime Scene Cleaners

After a violent crime occurs, as police are working to solve the case, these professionals are tasked with literally cleaning up the aftermath—which can include body tissue, bone fragments, and blood and other bodily fluids. Also, they may also handle contaminated items at a crime scene such as furniture, carpeting, and bedding. This position is not for the faint of heart—or the weak of stomach—because not only are crime scene cleaners exposed to gruesome sights and smells on a regular basis, the nature of the job puts them at risk for being exposed to diseases like hepatitis and AIDS. In addition to handling the physical and psychological demands of the job, workers must also be able to show compassion to the loved ones who may be at the scene. Flexibility is a must for those in this position: Since tragedies like murders and suicides don’t occur on a set schedule, crime scene cleaners are often required to work late nights, early mornings, weekends, and holidays.

  • Mean annual wage: $41,400

  • Degree level required: High school diploma

Entomologist

From ants to beetles to cockroaches to dragonflies, entomologists spend their days working around the creepy crawlies that most people generally go out of their way to avoid—and pay a lot of money to exterminate. But there’s a good reason why these professionals are so interested in the study of bugs: Though they seem like pests to most people, some insects actually play important roles in our environment by pollinating flowers and protecting crops. In addition to providing an understanding of the role bugs play in an ecosystem, the work of entomologists can help prevent the spread of disease, contribute to the development of new medications, and provide information about when and where a crime occurred.

Generally, entomologists focus on a specific area. For example, structural entomologists focus their research on the bugs that can be found in people’s homes, like cockroaches, in order to determine ways to get them out of a building and keep them out. Similarly, agricultural entomologists primarily study how to rid farms of harmful insects without hurting the ones that are beneficial to crops.

  • Mean annual wage: $62,290

  • Degree level required: Bachelor’s degree

Epidemiologists

When there’s a disease outbreak, epidemiologists are hard at work trying to understand why it’s occurring, what can be done to help those affected, and how to stop it from spreading further. Although much of this work involves crunching numbers and conducting interviews, epidemiologists are still responsible for collecting and examining blood and tissue samples of those who are sick. In addition to handling biological materials that would make a lot of people queasy, these disease detectives are also putting themselves at risk of contracting an illness during their investigations. As a result, safety precautions, such as wearing masks and gloves, are necessary when doing this work.

Epidemiologists may work for government agencies on the federal, state, and local levels, as well as hospitals and colleges. In some cases, they can find employment in the private sector, where they may conduct research for pharmaceutical or insurance companies. These professionals tend to specialize in a specific area of public health, such as injury, infectious disease, environmental health, or substance abuse.

  • Mean annual wage: $69,660

  • Degree level required: Master’s degree

Forensic Psychologists

All fans of true crime books or shows on the Discovery ID channel have wondered exactly what makes criminals tick. Forensic psychologists are responsible for getting those answers and deep diving into the recesses of the scariest minds mental health professionals can encounter. In order to do this, these professionals study the facts of a crime and talk to a convicted criminal to make recommendations about how the person should be sentenced or if they should be given parole. When someone has not been convicted yet, forensic psychologists may assess the suspect to provide insight on whether or not the person is mentally fit to stand trial. After making these vital determinations, they write reports detailing their findings and are often called to testify in court. In addition, forensic psychologists may be asked to help the victims of violent crimes work through their trauma, so they are mentally strong enough to testify against their perpetrator.

Not all of the work that forensic psychologists do is reminiscent of a “Criminal Minds” episode, however. Since this area of the field is concerned with applying psychological principles to legal issues, these workers may also use their expertise to assist with civil and family law cases.

  • Mean annual wage: $77,030

  • Degree level required: Doctoral degree

Herpetologist

Much like entomologists, herpetologists work with things that generally tend to make the skin crawl. In their case, it’s amphibians and reptiles, which means they can be experts on snakes, lizards, crocodiles, frogs, and newts. As they study these creatures, herpetologists learn information about their anatomy, behavior, genetics, and reproductive practices. However, this work is not always done from the comfort of a lab: Herpetologists often study animals in their natural habitat, which can make them vulnerable to disease, invasive species, and pollution.

When they’re not out in the field, herpetologists analyze the specimens they collect, provide care for the animals they’re studying in the lab, and write reports about their findings that may be published in scholarly journals. Oftentimes these researchers also work as college professors, so when they’re not studying animals themselves, they’re teaching the next generation of herpetologists about them. Those who don’t work in a research setting may find employment at museums, where they preserve, catalog, and organize animals that are put on display. Also, these professionals may work at zoos taking care of reptiles and amphibians, as well as running educational programs for the public.

  • Mean annual wage: $62,290

  • Degree level required: Bachelor’s degree

Medical Laboratory Technologist

The good news is, the work of medical laboratory technologists helps to identify patient illnesses—such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease—and supplies invaluable data to doctors that allow them to choose the most effective treatments. The bad news is, these professionals have to spend their days handling tissue, blood, and urine samples in order to do it—which means they are putting themselves at risk of contracting the illnesses they’re working to detect. As a result, medical laboratory technologists are required to wear masks, goggles, and gloves on the job to stay safe.

There are several types of medical laboratory technologists, with each focusing on a different specialty. For example, blood bank technologists are responsible for taking blood from people, classifying it, and then preparing it to be used in transfusions. In addition, clinical chemistry technologists work with bodily fluids to analyze the hormones of a patient, and immunology technologists examine samples to understand the immune system and how it responds to threats. No matter which specialty medical laboratory technologists choose, they’re expected to work long hours on their feet in the lab.

  • Mean annual wage: $51,770

  • Degree level required: Bachelor’s degree

Pathologists

Medical doctors are no strangers to working with things others consider gross and this is true for pathologists. These physicians, much like epidemiologists, are concerned with the study of disease, so their work involves examining tissues, bodily fluids, cells, and organs in order to determine if someone is suffering from an illness. Although pathologists don’t generally interact with patients directly, they play an integral role in patient care as they advise the doctors on the best treatments for a disease.

Pathologists may choose a specialty on which to focus their work. For example, surgical pathologists examine specimens that have been collected from procedures like biopsies and cytopathologists look at fluids and tissue smears to find out if someone is suffering from a disease. But the work of pathologists is not limited to helping the living. In some cases, these professionals specialize in the dead, which makes them responsible for performing autopsies to find the cause of someone’s demise. Not only does this help medical specialists discover why someone died, it also allows them to find out if a treatment they were receiving for a disease was effective or not.

  • Mean annual wage: $211,390

  • Degree level required: Doctoral degree

Phlebotomist

People who can’t stand the sight of blood should avoid this career like the plague, since blood is what phlebotomists work around every single day. These professionals take blood from patients that is used for medical tests or transfusions; ensure that drawn samples are labelled, stored, and entered into a database properly; and maintain the instruments they use, such as needles and vials. But even though they’re working with blood, it doesn’t mean phlebotomists can get away with the bedside manner of Count Dracula. In many cases, they are taking samples from nervous patients who are afraid of needles and anxious about what their test results might be, so it’s imperative for phlebotomists to have good communication skills to calm people down, as well as explain to them how the process works. In addition, these workers are required to help patients when they have an adverse reaction after giving blood.

Phlebotomists can find employment in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, clinical laboratories, and blood donation centers. Those who work in labs and hospitals may have to work nights and weekends, while other professionals generally work regular full-time business hours.

  • Mean annual wage: $33,670

  • Degree level required: Certificate

Police Diver

For some, diving is a great recreational activity that allows them to get in touch with nature. For police divers, however, going underwater is anything but relaxing. Instead of looking for exotic fish or underwater plant life, these professionals spend their day looking for the dead bodies of people who have committed suicide, been murdered, or drowned accidentally. In addition, police divers may look for evidence in a murder case, such as a weapon, as well as objects that may be related to drug smuggling or terrorism.

Not only is the result of the work gruesome, the conditions they work in are less than ideal. The water that police divers go in may be murky and contaminated, making it necessary to follow strict safety protocols and have a paramedic nearby in case something goes wrong. In order to do this challenging work, professionals have to complete specialized training that covers underwater crime scene photography, evidence preservation, and the recovery of bodies, vehicles, and planes.

  • Mean annual wage: $62,960

  • Degree level required: High school diploma

Psychiatric Ward Attendant

Psychiatric ward attendants have a demanding job that requires as much compassion as it does competence. These workers are responsible for helping those in psychiatric facilities with their daily needs, such as giving patients their medication, helping people bathe and get dressed, and serving meals. In addition, ward attendants may be required to perform certain housekeeping-related duties, including making beds and clearing the floor of items patients can possibly trip over. They may also assist patients with recreational activities.

Although at first blush this job doesn’t sound like it belongs on this list, working with psychiatric patients every day can actually be quite disturbing at times. Since these patients may have a difficult time controlling themselves, workers can be subjected to violent outbursts that include being bitten by patients and even having urine or feces thrown at them. As a result, psychiatric ward attendants often suffer injuries on the job as they try to restrain patients and calm them down.

  • Mean annual wage: $29,330

  • Degree level required: High school diploma

Steeplejack

For anyone with acrophobia or vertigo, even the idea of doing this job is terrifying. But for those who have no fear of heights, it is a way to spend the day on top of tall buildings in order to do restoration work, as well as inspections. To that end, steeplejacks are required to use high ladders, scaffolds, and platforms to get to the heights they need to go to do their work. And once they get high above the ground, these professionals may install lighting, touch up the paint of a building, and replace roof glass. In addition, steeplejacks determine if any damage has been done to a structure and report that information—along with a solution for fixing it—to engineers, surveyors, and architects.

While fearlessness is a must to do this job, steeplejacks also need specific training in order to do it effectively and safely. While some employers provide on-the-job training to their workers, others expect prospective employees to obtain experience through an apprenticeship program.

  • Mean annual wage: $33,450

  • Degree level required: High school diploma

Taxidermist

Many people find working with animals to be rewarding—but most of them prefer their furry friends to be alive when they do. However, being around dead animals not only doesn’t turn taxidermists’ stomach, it is the inspiration they use to create their works of art. In order to preserve mammals, fish, and birds—and help them look as if they were still alive—these workers tan, stuff, and retouch them until the projects meet customer expectations. And when it’s all done, they mount the animals, so they can be displayed.

While this job requires a strong stomach and unique artistic ability, there is also a great amount of business acumen that is needed to be successful. These professionals are generally self-employed, so they need to know how to market their services and nurture relationships with clients. Also, depending on where they live, taxidermists may be required to obtain a license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the fish and gaming agency in their state.

  • Mean annual wage: $49,160

  • Degree level required: Bachelor’s degree

Toxicologist

Rounding out the list is another career that requires handling bodily fluids that many people would rather not think much about. In this case, professionals examine tissue, blood, and urine samples in order to detect the presence of substances or chemicals in someone’s body. As a result of this lab work, toxicologists are able to determine if alcohol, drugs, metals, or poisons have anything to do with a crime. In addition, they may perform drug testing for employers, check a location for environmental contamination, and help sports teams find out if players have taken performance-enhancing substances. No matter what kind of tests they do, toxicologists are required to document their findings and explain what the results mean.

Toxicologists may work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, consumer products companies, private forensic laboratories, and colleges. Their schedules depend on where they work: For instance, someone who does forensic investigations may work irregular hours, including late nights and weekends, while a toxicologist at a pharmaceutical company will keep regular business hours.

  • Mean annual wage: $57,850

  • Degree level required: Bachelor’s degree