We all know that there are many jobs that nobody wants to do. There are some people who will go to any lengths to avoid manual labor, but you might be surprised by how much money these “dirty” jobs can make. And not all of them are manual jobs, per se. They are just…bizarre.
Employers in these sectors can’t afford to be too picky with hiring. Sometimes you see those job postings and wonder “wow, people actually do that?”. Well, yes, and no. There’s a reason you’re asking that question.
Most people do not want to do these jobs. They want nothing to do with them. Which is why they are so lucrative. There’s not enough supply compared to the demand.
In this article, we’re going to explore the highest paying dirty jobs out there and give you a rundown of what it takes for each one.
What’s Wrong with These Jobs?
People usually react in 2 different ways when they see these jobs:
- What’s the catch?
- Ew! I’m not doing this job. Not once in a million years.
- There are people who do this for a living?
Usually these are jobs we don’t even think about. You’ll see when we get to the list. These are jobs that are dirty or dangerous. Mostly the first. They feel repulsing just by reading the job titles and what you do day in day out.
Plus, it’s not something you can boast about with your friends. It’s the opposite. You try your best to avoid telling anyone what you do for a living because they’ll question why you would want to be doing that in the first place and think less of you for being so desperate.
If we can all agree on one thing here, I’m sure we’re going to say, don’t let the job titles fool you. They may sound repulsive (they are) and make us nauseous, but these jobs pay well. Really well!
In this case, the Latin saying “pecunia not olet” (money doesn’t smell) is the best way to explain why people do these jobs. The pay is amazing. Everything else about the job is awful. It takes a strong stomach to do some of these—the dirtiest jobs on the planet.
The Employer’s Dilemma
Employers need these jobs done. But nobody wants to do them. Since there’s no realistic way to make these jobs more appealing, they offer a high compensation.
These aren’t cushy office jobs where you can just pile on benefits and promise things like “cool work culture” and attract candidates. The jobs we’re talking about are grueling, nauseous, and tough. People are going to be working in a dangerous or gross environment, and the pay reflects that.
Here’s where it gets interesting though: Anyone can do these jobs regardless of gender, age, or socio-economic status.
The only thing you need is grit and determination to get the job done. No matter what the conditions are like or how difficult it gets, you have to be willing to do whatever is necessary for your money—even if that means wearing a Hazmat suit and heavy boots in 100-degree weather.
Maybe these jobs aren’t so bad after all…
8 High Paying Jobs Nobody Wants to Do
So, here we are. This will be a list of jobs that pay VERY well, but that nobody wants to do. And it’s easy to imagine why. You’ll see it soon.
What do we mean by high-paying?
A minimum-wage worker earns about $15.000/year at a full-time job. That’s $7.25/hour for 2.080 work hours. The jobs on this list will easily let you earn at least double than that.
Being a server is cool and all, but with the jobs on this list, you can earn even 10 times as much as one. If you’re willing to get into them.
One last thing before starting: these jobs aren’t easy and they require dedication and determination from whoever is doing them.
1. Garbage Collector
Let’s start with the most obvious. Garbage collecting is one of those jobs nobody wants to do because it stinks and sounds like a miserable, thankless job.
As the name suggests, you clean up garbage on streets or wherever there might be some (dumpsters etc.). That includes taking out trash from buildings too. You make sure the area is clean and safe for people to walk around.
It’s definitely not a job you want to brag about, even though it sounds intriguing because of how much money one can make doing this kind of work.
The major advantage here is that your salary depends on how much you can pick up. You get paid by the pound, so to speak. That means the more garbage you clean from a certain place, the higher your pay will be at the end of each month!
Different sources cite different median salaries for this position. It doesn’t help that the Bureau of Labor Statistics groups them with workers who move freight/stock. These jobs usually pay less, bringing the median down. Usnews, which is a reliable source, claims the median is $37.840.
There are stories on the media about people making 6 figures as garbage collectors. Looks like the saying “one man’s trash is another’s treasure” is true after all.
What does a garbage collector need? A resistance to nauseous odors, physical strength, good eyesight and manual dexterity. You don’t need a college degree or any other certification to do the job.
Now, if we had to pick one job that would be the most unpleasant of all, it’d probably be this one.
Executioner is a pretty self-explanatory title: you execute people who were found guilty of their crimes by the state (e.g.: murder).
Finding pay information on this job is hard. Florida pays private citizens $150 per execution. For the record, there are 304 people awaiting execution in Florida’s death row right now.
Glassdoor, a site specialized in giving job information from people who actually perform them, claims that the average salary of an executioner is $52.522 per year. The lowest is around $26k, while the highest is above $100k.
What do states look for in an executioner? A person who has no problems about killing someone else and basically acting as judge and executor at the same time. You also need patience and excellent communication skills because you’ll have to be in close contact with the condemned.
The job has a lot of drawbacks, though. First, you may not show any kind of emotional response during the execution (if they plead for mercy or even cry in front of their family). You also need good physical health because it’s likely that there will be strong resistance from your “client” when it comes time to put them down.
And last but not least, you need a strong heart because people will probably judge and hate you for what you do.
No matter how much money they pay, this is definitely the worst of all jobs.
3. Horse & Bovine Semen Extractor
Horse racing is a profitable business. But it needs a steady supply of fresh racing horses ready to put up a great show. And that’s where horse semen extractors come into play.
Now, you might think I’m joking. But I’m not.
Horse semen extractors collect and storing horse semen for artificial insemination. They do it by stimulating the male horses to ejaculate using a fake horse. And…some handiwork. The collected material is stored and used later on when needed, mainly after shipping between farms around the world.
This video explains the process, while telling you what makes horse semen so valuable:
Finding information on this job is even harder than for executioners. But when 80ml of stallion semen goes for $100.000, you know you’ve struck gold. Naturally, only the purest breeds of stallions produce sperm of high-enough quality to go for that much.
And, look at those conservation technologies. Those aren’t cheap.
Even if you’re working on the lower-end of the spectrum with regular horses, you can make some good dough. The job is unpleasant and also dangerous. Stallions can be moody and aggressive. But, if you will take on the risk, go ahead.
Bovine sperm collection does the same thing. Except you are dealing with bulls rather than horses. Payscale claims the average salary of a bovine sperm collector is $44.000/year.
4. Wastewater Operator
Wastewater operator is a fancy way of saying “sewage inspector”.
Wastewater operators handle the proper operation of wastewater treatment plants. They ensure that all dangerous materials and water pollutants are removed from wastewater before it is released into rivers, lakes or oceans. Their work also includes testing samples to make sure everything goes as planned (i.e.: no leaks) and putting out any fires in their plant if they occur.
Wastewater operators report high salaries ranging from $50k-$75k/year depending on experience and location. The median salary in 2020 was $49.090 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But of course, the median doesn’t tell us the entire picture.
The job has some drawbacks: first, you might have to spend a lot of time away from home at night working with equipment. Second, your days will be full of dangerous chemicals.
On the other side, though: if you have a family and kids that need taking care of or going to school, this is probably one of the best choices out there for making money. As long as you’re able to handle it mentally.
5. Derrick Operators in Oil & Gas Industry
Oil and gas are the lifeblood of modern economies. Without it, we’d be back to using trees for warmth (and making paper out of them). This job requires an immense workforce that works around the clock in order to ensure energy keeps flowing into our houses and cars at all times.
One of these jobs requiring constant attention is called a Derrick Operator; they operate oil rigs by themselves or sometimes with another operator on site (called “mud logging”). Their job includes setting up equipment like pumps and valves and monitoring how much fluid gets extracted from each drilling operation every day. They also make sure proper safety protocols are followed during work hours, which can prove challenging when under pressure due to time constraints or harsh weather.
The median salary for a Derrick Operator is $50.280/year, and can go up as high as $104.000 if you’re experienced enough and working on an offshore oil rig.
This job requires no formal education or certifications but requires some physical strength since handling heavy machinery is part of this profession’s daily routine.
Also, be ready for long work hours away from home; sometimes weeks at a time. It’s a job better suited to young people looking to gain work experience and saving lots of money before starting a family.
6. Toxic Waste Removal Workers
Toxic waste removal workers are also called chemical waste technicians. They are the people who work in hazardous waste management doing things like testing samples for toxicity, removing materials from sites using complex machinery and driving trucks to transport substances between plants or storage facilities.
Their median salary is $45.270/year. A high-school diploma is enough to enter the field, although you’ll receive a decent amount of training on the job.
Expect long working hours away from home with short notice since some companies might need extra personnel quickly if something goes wrong during their operations.
Why does nobody want to do this? Well, first, you’re handling toxic chemical elements. Second, you’ll be dressed in a hazmat suit all day, every day. While it might sound cool, try doing it with 100 degrees outside. It’s also dangerous; you can get sick if exposed to certain types of chemicals for too long.
Last, the job is tedious and not intellectually stimulating (this might be a plus or minus depending on who you ask). It involves performing the same tasks repeatedly, which gets old quickly.
For all these reasons, this isn’t one of those jobs that attracts young people looking for an exciting career change; it’s more suited to older workers willing to sacrifice their free time in order to earn better money with little effort required. Or youngsters looking to earn good money without committing to a long-term career.
7. Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers
Elevator and Escalator Installers install, service, inspect, and repair elevators or escalators.
With a median salary of $88.540/year, one would expect to be way more of them. Their work is physically demanding and involves long hours. However, employees enjoy benefits like paid time off after six months of employment plus health insurance for their entire family.
They also receive on-the-job training but need a high school diploma in order to enter the field. If you’re interested in getting into this profession, look up local trade schools offering classes. It’s important that they have formal education since working with heavy machinery can be dangerous if not done properly.
The average workday for an installer involves arriving at their place of employment around eight o’clock sharp so they can inspect equipment before starting repairs on anything broken by customers.
8. Funeral Service Workers
Morticians or funeral directors handle all things related to funerals and burials.
This includes pre-planning the service, preparing the body for viewing by family members (and others), executing burial services such as digging graves and preparing other tasks specific to each state’s regulations concerning death certificates and other formalities like obtaining a license from their city in order to sell caskets for example.
Their median salary is $58.170/year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it depends on what you’re actually doing. Funeral home managers earn way more than undertakers. The statistics by the Bureau lumps these jobs together, so it’s hard to get a good gauge.
To give you an estimate, Salary.com—a pretty accurate source—claims that funeral home managers earn between $50,325 and $67,606 per year. Indeed.com, another reliable source, tells us the average salary for a funeral director is just shy of $60.000 per year.
While there isn’t any type of education required, some states require morticians to attend special courses before they can work with bodies; this varies depending on where you live, so make sure check beforehand.
All the jobs on this list are…questionable. They require you to deal with dead bodies, toxic materials, or animal fluids. Hardly a desirable prospect. But they pay very well, and to boon, most can be done without a degree.
Finding jobs in these fields will be easy—provided you are ok with doing them. You can imagine employers are having issues filling the vacant spots. How many people are willing to work as an equine semen extractor? Few.
These jobs are great if you’re looking for a quick way to earn plenty of money. Most of them won’t be great for a career, unless you enjoy them particularly. But they are perfect if you need money fast and are ok with the working conditions.