Six Dangerous Jobs That Pay Well
By Alida Moore, PayScale.com

Navigating the madness of rush-hour traffic might be the most dangerous thing the typical office worker faces during the course of the workday. However, there are some workers whose jobs are truly hazardous or -- in some cases -- potentially deadly.

“These jobs are dangerous either because of their environment or because they carry a high risk for violence,” says Katie Bardaro, director of analytics at online salary database PayScale.com.

What type of worker is well-suited to these risky careers? “These jobs might appeal to some workers because the reward outweighs the risk,” Bardaro says. “In the case of an oil driller, the training can be minimal, while the pay is typically lucrative.”

Read on to learn about six jobs in which risking life and limb can lead to a lucrative payday. 

Oil Well Driller
Typical Median Pay: $101,000

Operating heavy equipment is just one aspect that makes this job dangerous. Oil well drillers also work long hours in remote locations, setting up and monitoring the drilling process. Workers are rewarded for their sacrifices with typically high earnings.

Find oil/gas jobs.

FBI Agent 
Typical Median Pay: $77,100

Thanks to popular culture, FBI agents have earned a reputation for dark suits, grim expressions and car chases. While the day-to-day responsibilities might not be as thrilling, any job whose uniform includes a gun is likely to be riskier than the average desk job. FBI agents have bachelor’s degrees and receive 20 weeks of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Find FBI agent jobs.

Commercial Diver
Typical Median Pay: $64,900

Whether they’re installing, inspecting or repairing equipment; rigging explosives; or even taking photographs, commercial divers spend their time underwater breathing oxygen from tanks. A commercial diver job often requires workers to complete training at a diving school.

Find diver jobs.

Coal Miner
Typical Median Pay: $53,500

Coal, a fuel also used in the production of steel and plastic, is found deep underground. Coal mining is dangerous work due to the potential for mine collapses, the lack of air filtration and the often consuming darkness. But coal miners who brave these treacherous conditions can earn a decent paycheck.

Find miner jobs.

Bomb Squad Expert
Typical Median Pay: $52,500

Any job dealing with explosives means death is an uncomfortably close coworker. Talk about job stress. While many of the situations to which bomb squads respond often turn out to be false alarms, the potential of having to defuse a live explosive always exists. With typical median pay at more than $50,000, it pays to know whether to cut the red wire or the green one.

Find jobs involving explosive ordnance.

Police Detective
Typical Median Pay: $50,500

Protecting citizens and investigating criminal activity are just two aspects of this potentially dangerous career. Many police detectives search for evidence and work with prosecutors to convict suspected criminals. Typically, a high school diploma is required, along with training at a police academy.

Find detective jobs.

Source: All education and salary data provided by
PayScale.com. Median pay is the national median annual total cash compensation for workers with five to eight years of experience and includes bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions and other forms of cash earnings. Additional sources include the FBI and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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