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12 Surprisingly Dangerous Jobs Worth the Risk

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If “danger” is your middle name, why not add it to your resume? Taking on greater risk at work can lead to greater rewards. Such is the case for the following dozen jobs, which all endure high rates of work-related injuries and illnesses and also pay more (often much more) than the national median of $43,992 a year.

They’re probably not the jobs you’d expect. Your mind might go straight to reality TV shows such as “Deadliest Catch” and “Ax Men.” Fishing and logging are indeed life-threatening: 41 fishers and 55 loggers died on the job in 2017, especially high counts considering the total number of these workers are just 24,509 and 48,804, respectively, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare those figures with an overall fatality rate of just 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers in the U.S. But with the fields shrinking and offering relatively low compensation (with median earnings between $33,000 and $39,500), those dangerous jobs are hardly worth the risk.


To identify the best high-risk job opportunities, we worked the numbers for you. Focusing on fields that are collecting generous paychecks now and are projected to expand greatly over the next decade, we ranked 773 popular occupations to see which ones offer the most promising futures. We also favored occupations with lower typical education requirements, allowing for lower investments of time and money. Finally, we scoured the top of our rankings for positions that face on-the-job injury and illness rates higher than that of all jobs in the U.S. Take a look at the best jobs for all you risk-takers.

SEE ALSO: 20 Worst Jobs for the Future

All data for work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities was provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2017. Incidence rates refer to reports of injuries and illnesses that resulted in days away from work. Unless otherwise noted, all other employment data was provided by Emsi, a labor-market research firm owned by Strada Education. Emsi collects data from dozens of federal, state and private sources, including reports from the BLS and surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau. The total number of jobs listed for each occupation is for 2017. Projected 10-year job growth figures represent the percentage change in the total number of jobs in an occupation between 2017 and 2027. Annual earnings were calculated by multiplying median hourly earnings by 2,080, the standard number of hours worked in a year by a full-time employee. Jobs are ordered, based on our scoring methodology, from first to 12th.


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