High-Paying Dirty Jobs That No One Wants to Do

The now-defunct Discovery Channel series “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” highlighted some of the grittiest professions around, some of which involved tasks that were truly gross to accomplish. Despite the oft-dire conditions that surround them, these were jobs nevertheless need to be done, and if there were no one else to do them, the world would be an uglier, messier place.

As the show often told its viewers, many of these manual labor occupations paid well, yet due to the nature of the work, people would often steer clear of them. A shame, considering that many of these positions require little to no education, skill or training, save for the willingness to get one’s hands a little untidy. Get to know some of the highest paying dirty jobs that many wouldn’t dare touch with a 10-foot pole, along with the money you stand to earn should you decide to take on the responsibility.

Garbage collector (salary range: $25,000 to $65,000)

Garbage collectors face many risks day-in-day-out, and many consider it to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. As a trash collector, you need to have a strong stomach for the stinky, as you’ll be facing the smell of rotting foods, soiled diapers, and the like. Not only that, but you’ll also expose yourself to organisms and bacteria that could impact your health negatively. And the hours can be grueling since you’ll be working outdoors throughout the year, exposed to the elements. After all is said and done, though, being a garbage collector lets you take home a hefty annual sum.

Oil rig workers (salary range: $40,000 to $75,000)

Oil rigs are often located in the middle of nowhere, miles from shore. Thus, employees who work in them live an isolated life. You’ll rarely find a window when you’re working on an oil rig—not that there’s much to see, as you’ll be surrounded by water from all four corners. Thankfully, many of these desolate spaces now carry Wi-Fi, so you have a way to entertain yourself and connect with loved ones during your off-hours. You could just imagine the lives of oil rig workers when the Internet was not yet widely available. Entry jobs start in the high five digits, and trained and experienced roustabouts have no trouble earning six figures a year.

Porta-toilet cleaner ($36,600 to $50,000)

Inarguably, an occupation that’s more repulsive than a garbage collector’s because who wants to deal with excrement all day? This job just serves to remind you how messy and lazy people can be. The good news is that there are tools that allow you to have the least contact with the stuff as possible. After sucking up all the waste with a specialized vacuum and wand, you’ll have to wash down all the surfaces with a high-pressure hose, restock the toiletries, rinse and repeat (literally), and that’s the job in a nutshell. Most porta-toilet cleaners clean up to 50 toilet booths a day, taking just a few minutes to clean a single unit. The work can get more complicated, however, when pranksters show their consideration by tipping a toilet over for you.

Crime scene cleaner (salary range: $35,000 to $80,000)

If you’re a fan of the mystery and action genres, you probably already have a good idea what a crime scene cleaner does. The people who work this job have the unenviable task of cleaning up after the police investigation is done. Depending on the gruesomeness of the crime, crime scene cleaners may have to deal with dead bodies, or worse, what’s left of them. Apart from this, a crime scene cleaner also has to make sure not to come in contact with a deceased individual’s body fluids for safety reasons. The nature of the work is clearly not for people who can’t stand the sight of blood and gore, and constantly experiencing man’s evil side can lead to a downward spiral of depression or trauma. On the other hand, you get to work flexible hours (no crime, no work), and the earnings are not half bad.

Plumber (salary range: $40,000 to $100,000)

Plumbing jobs rank among the most lucrative trade jobs available. Get good at it, and you can branch-off as an independent contractor, even start your own plumbing business. That’s why you’ll find plumbers have some of the widest salary ranges in the dirty jobs industry—some master plumbers even earn well over of $100,000 a year easy. Every home has a plumbing system, and that’s why plumber jobs are in high demand everywhere. Yet as you can imagine, not everyone views dealing with clogs, pipes and waste disposal as a decent career. Consider yourself one of the enlightened ones if you believe otherwise.

Coal miner (salary range: $50,000 to $70,000)

Coal mines are dark, damp, dusty, and most of all, dangerous. Although working conditions have drastically improved thanks to technology, better tools, and stricter safety regulations, the work remains tough for anyone involved. For one thing, coal mines release methane, which is poisonous and flammable. Additionally, the very fact that these workplaces are under the earth means that the structures can collapse at any time from nature’s unpredictability. And there’s also coal dust to contend with—particles so tiny that they can still find their way in a coal miner’s lungs despite the use of breathing apparatuses and other forms of safety gear. Prolonged exposure can lead to pneumoconiosis, emphysema, and other serious respiratory ailments. All these risks combined are why coal miners have some of the highest entry-level salaries available.

Clearly, each of the dirty jobs on this list from Resumeble is not for the faint of heart. How does working in one of these careers sound to you? Did knowing the work involved make you more determined to apply, or did they discourage you completely?

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