Posted by Heidi Schwartz
While this story is a little late for Halloween, it’s a fact that scary jobs are scary all year long. And when it comes to what some of America’s workers fear most, looking death in the face has nothing on public speaking, exposure to germs, or enthusiastic teens. In fact, the scariest job of all on this list is especially appropriate, considering the recent conclusion of the latest election cycle.
A new CareerBuilder study shows the idea of being a stand-up comedian, kindergarten teacher, or even a parent is just as nerve-racking to some people as being a stunt person, crime scene investigator, or mortician. The nationwide survey, commissioned by CareerBuilder and conducted by Harris Poll between August 11 and September 5, 2014, included 3,103 workers across industries.
Asked to choose from a list of the jobs they found the most frightful (or submit their own), workers provided the following answers—with some surprising results. Based on their selections, CareerBuilder pulled employment data for each occupation from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) to show how many brave souls have taken on these roles and what they’re being paid.
10 Jobs That Strike Fear in American Workers’ Hearts
- Politician: There are 56,857 politicians/legislators in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $9.89
Average salary for U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives in 2014: $174,0001
Scary for those who fear: Responsibility; accountability to a large number of people; rejection.
- Microbiologist for Infectious Diseases: In general, there are 20,800 microbiologists in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $32.61
Scary for those who fear: Germs; Ebola; accidentally leaving the hazmat suit at home.
- Security Guard at Teen Pop Idol Concert: In general, there are 1,163,023 security guards in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $11.62
Scary for those who fear: Getting trampled by screaming tweens.
- Kindergarten Teacher: There are 158,084 kindergarten teachers (non-special education) in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $24.12
Scary for those who fear: Germs; temper tantrums; shaping the minds of America’s youth.
- Crime Scene Investigator: There are 128,432 detectives and criminal investigators and forensic science technicians in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $35.75
Scary for those who fear: Blood; the disappointment on people’s faces when you tell them the job is nothing like it is on TV.
- Animal Trainer: There are 32,360 animal trainer jobs in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $12.03
Scary for those who fear: Animal attacks; allergy flare-ups.
- Mortician: There are 27,505 mortician, undertaker and funeral director jobs in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $22.83
Scary for those who fear: Dead bodies; silence; zombie attacks.
- Radio, Cellular and Tower Equipment Installers, and Repairers: There are 16,213 radio, cellular and tower equipment installer and repairer jobs in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $21.59
Scary for those who fear: Heights.
- Stand-Up Comedian: There are 37,272 jobs in the entertainers and performers, sports and related workers industry, which include comedians, in the U.S.
Median hourly pay: $16.89
Scary for those who fear: Public speaking; awkward silence.
- Parent: There are too many parent jobs in the U.S. to count.
Median hourly pay: Not nearly enough.
Scary for those who fear: Almost all of the above fears.
Note: Salary data for U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives comes from the House Press Gallery. All other salary data comes from EMSI.
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,103 U.S. workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between August 11 and September 5, 2014(percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 3,103, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have sampling error of +/-1.76 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.