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10 Risky Jobs That Pay Big Bucks


Here's the thing about the dangerous jobs made famous by reality television shows such as "Deadliest Catch" and "Ax Men" — the pay is generally lousy relative to the considerable (and literal) risk to life and limb. Fishermen and loggers can expect median salaries of about $33,500 a year, $1,250 less than the median for all workers. Yet the fatality rate for fishermen is 36 times the rate for all occupations. That's the highest of any profession. Loggers, at nearly 30 times the overall fatality rate, rank second.

If you're going to take a risky job, you should at least get compensated handsomely for it. So we crunched the numbers on injuries, fatalities and salaries to identify ten occupations offering fat paychecks that more than make up for the elevated risks. And because no career is worth dying for, we tried to favor those with low incidences of on-the-job fatalities. Top earners in many of these fields can enjoy six-figure salaries, in some cases even without college degrees.

Take a look at these ten risky jobs that pay well.

Data sources: All data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unless otherwise noted. Injury and fatality statistics are from 2011, the latest available. The fatality rate for all occupations is 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers. "Top pay" represents the annual salary of a worker in the 90th percentile of an occupation, unless otherwise noted.

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