If you’ve always had a personality on the dark side, or just have a high tolerance for blood, death, or other things that make less hearty people a little squeamish, you might want to consider one of these “spooky” careers.
Even though healthcare is one of the hottest industries, you may not hear about the kind of medicine that happens at night, outside of typical working hours. Though the name sounds a bit ominous, a nocturnist is really just a physician who works overnights at a hospital or other in-patient facility, ensuring patient care throughout the night. Many doctors and nurses work varying shifts that include overnights, but nocturnists work exclusively on night shifts. These physicians are on hand for emergencies or working with nurses and other night shift medical professionals to ensure that patients are receiving round-the-clock care.
What you’ll need: Physicians need to complete a bachelor’s degree, a medical degree, and internship and residency programs.
What it pays: Physicians make a median annual salary of $208,000, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you’ve visited a natural history museum (or have been to the house of someone with an unusual hobby), you’ve seen the handiwork of taxidermists. These are professionals who preserve animal bodies to look as they did in life. In addition to the aforementioned museums or other public displays, hunters often hire taxidermists to preserve animals they’ve hunted as trophies.
What you’ll need: Though there’s no specific college degree for taxidermy, there are courses that can teach you the trade. Most states require additional licensing or permits, so be sure to check your own state’s requirements.
What it pays: Taxidermists can make a median annual salary of $41,000, per PayScale.
If the thought of blood doesn’t make you feel faint and you’re looking for a healthcare job, phlebotomy may be the way to go. Phlebotomists draw blood for testing, transfusion, research, or donation. It’s not exactly the spooky vampire route, but these medical professionals provide a valuable service in healthcare.
What you’ll need: Completion of an accredited phlebotomy program and professional certification.
What it pays: Phlebotomists make a median annual salary of $34,480, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What’s the only job where you’re encouraged to hang bodies on hooks and wield a meat cleaver? That would be butchery. These professionals handle, process, cut, and package meat for customers. They may work in an independent store, or (more common) in a grocery store.
What you’ll need: Butchers typically learn on the job, with no special training or expertise required to start. It can be a physically demanding job, though, working on your feet all day in cold rooms and using dangerous machinery. The job may also require food handling certification, so check your own state or local requirements.
What it pays: Butchers make a median annual salary of $31,580, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Death is a fact of life and requires the experienced guidance of morticians to guide families through the funeral process and ensure that the dead are properly processed and interred. Morticians typically work in independent funeral homes, and their tasks can include preparing bodies for burial or cremation, helping with funeral planning and preparation, and ensuring everything follows legal and professional standards.
What you’ll need: Morticians typically have an associate’s degree (or equivalent) in funeral service or mortuary science. Most states require additional licensing and certification, so be sure to check your own state’s requirements.
What it pays: Morticians make a median annual salary of $52,650, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While these jobs may not be up there with “ghost hunter” in terms of true spookiness, they’re very real jobs and career paths that will pay the bills—for those brave enough to take them on.