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7 Creepy Careers With Staying Power

Sometimes making a living requires working with blood, dark spaces, or creepy-crawlers. Are you up for a little fright? The following jobs each include something a little unsettling, but one just may be the right fit for you.

Take a look and see if you're brave enough to make a "creepy" career move.

1. Funeral Director
Median Salary: $46,000

While shows like "Six Feet Under" like to emphasize the drama in this career, a calm demeanor, soothing words, and attention to detail are the qualities most needed to excel. As James Olson of Lippert-Olson Funeral Home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, says, "I don't think of what I do as creepy. Being able to give a person the opportunity to grieve for their loved one is an honor."

Besides ensuring that the funeral service goes smoothly, funeral directors must also coordinate transportation and burial of the body. Employment projections for this job are good. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), funeral directors are older, on average, than workers in other fields, so many are expected to retire in the coming decade.

2. Pest-Control Worker
Median Salary: $35,600

How do you feel about getting up close and personal with the pests of the world? Whether you're talking about spiders, rodents, or roaches, pest-control workers must take on the creepy-crawly creatures that the rest of us try to avoid. This job requires training and certification by law and, though a high school degree is all that is needed to start, 4 out of 10 pest-control workers have attended college or have college degrees, according to the BLS.

3. Phlebotomist
Median Salary: $27,400

Warning: Strong stomach required. These folks spend all day drawing vials of blood for medical tests, blood collection and donation. Phlebotomy work can be found in plenty of places, according to the National Phlebotomy Association, such as hospitals, neighborhood health centers, public health facilities, and HMOs.

Safety is a big concern, so there are recommended training, education and certification programs offered through groups like the National Phlebotomy Association and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Some phlebotomists learn their skills on the job and, depending on the state, a license may be required. The BLS expects the greatest job growth in this profession to occur outside of hospital settings, such as diagnostic laboratories or physicians' offices.

4. Archaeologist
Median Salary: $47,200

Archaeologists regularly uncover human remains and ancient artifacts to discover more about our ancestors. And, it turns out, that work can be pretty fun. According to Adam Freeburg, a Ph.D. student in archeology at the University of Washington, "It's a job outside, and I like to work outside. It involves history, and I like history." Freeburg currently works on a dig in Kotzebue, Alaska, and says the work he does is worth seeing snow fall in July.

A Ph.D. will give you the best employment opportunities as an archeologist, but the BLS states that a bachelor's degree can get you started in an entry-level job in this field, such as research assistant or writer. Also, job opportunities are expected to grow in the coming years for archaeologists at construction sites, with more openings at sites with historic significance.

5. Theatrical Makeup Artist
Median Salary: $44,300

A gashed lip, a missing eye, five freshly burned fingers -- sometimes makeup artists are asked to do everything they can to make our skin crawl. A 30-year veteran of Hollywood film and theater makeup, Sue Cabral-Ebert says this is a fun gig, where teamwork is key and actors usually find the horror makeup a laugh.

She says, "Actors are better with gore because they can wash it off and say, 'Hey, I scared some people. That was fun.'" She says that, by contrast, aging their faces pushes actors into the future, and that can be depressing.

This job usually offers the benefit of a flexible work schedule, though depending on the production you're working with, the hours can be grueling. According to the BLS, the greatest number of theatrical makeup artists work in Los Angeles and New York City and, while a college degree is not always required, a state cosmetology license may be.

6. Night Security Guard
Median Salary: $28,700

It's no surprise that these uniformed guards often look unflappable, because they actually chase down things that go bump in the night, while most of us would run in the other direction. The outlook for this job is excellent. According to the BLS, the field should grow 17 percent through 2016.

A license is required in most states to work as a security guard, and if the job requires carrying a gun, there's more training and licensing needed. The BLS notes that greater exposure to danger or more required training can increase earnings for a security guard, such as working at a nuclear power plant or weapons installation. Though, these higher-paid jobs can be tough to get.

7. Sewer Pipe Cleaner
Median Salary: $35,900

In big cities, massive sewer systems go every direction underground, some with pipes tall enough to stand in. Would you like to work in a cramped, smelly, and somewhat creepy place? Maybe so, since it is a job field that is expected to grow at a steady pace over the coming years, according to the BLS.

On-the-job training is common in this profession, where a high school diploma is typically the highest education required. Plus, in less urban settings, these same skills can result in jobs that allow you to work above ground and stay a little cleaner.

by Bridget Quigg, www.payscale.com

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