The scariest job in America?

Just in time for the “scare season”, the job search site CareerCast.com has come out with its list of the Top 10 Scariest Jobs in North America. Coming in at #1 is forensic entomologist. This career, and the others selected for the list, were ranked according to the phobias associated with it and their particular levels of hideousness.

Forensic entomologist Zachary Venable
removes a fly puparium from something dead.


Forensic entomology, with origins from over 750 years ago, is associated with three phobias, according to the creators of the list. People with necrophobia (dead bodies), entomophobia (insects) and hemophobia (blood) are not recommended to enter this particular field as each day at the “office” is sure to include at least one of these subjects (if not all three). While the subject matter may not be “sexy” to most, the profession has been growing and developing in the last 30 years – enough so that it’s been represented in multiple films and TV shows like Silence of the Lambs, CSI and Bones. In real life, forensic entomologists have helped solve countless cases of murder and poaching, as well as some other cases that have relied on insect-derived evidence.

Dr. Jerry Butler, forensic entomology professor with the University of Florida, examining hairy maggot blow fly larvae (Chrysomya rufifacies).
(photo by Thomas Wright)


Many people mistakenly believe that forensic specialists work only on cases involving death. However, “forensics” refers to any form of science applicable to legal proceedings. So while murder and dead bodies are often part of a forensic entomologist’s job, they also contribute to other cases where no one has died, such as drug smuggling (last paragraph) and liability cases. But of course that may not be quite as scary.

On the scariest job list, forensic entomologist beat out some other jobs I find far more fear-inspiring, including miner, pharmaceutical trial subject and comedian.

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About Scot Waring

I'm a nature freak who loves getting out, down and dirty. My passion for nature has, somewhat unexpectedly, driven me to a professional career working with insects and people that love them.
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