Recently, the subject of dangerous jobs came up in a conversation I was having with a friend.

We talked about the obvious jobs with the likelihood of serious or fatal injuries, and I decided to do a little research on the subject. The results were most interesting, and I found that fatal injuries are very low — thank goodness.

With tongue in cheek, I suggested one of the most dangerous had to be a football official after making a bad call — one where 40,000 or 50,000 fans were screaming at the top of their lungs over the ref "blowing the call." You know what I'm talking about — a call so egregious that the men in stripes have to run off the field and into an awaiting van to make their escape from the stadium.

Back in the day, when fans had access to whiskey bottles, those occasionally became airborne missiles sent flying toward the zebras calling the game. In 1975, I remember watching the Minnesota Vikings vs. the Dallas Cowboys game. It was marred when an angry Vikings fan hurled a half empty (or half full, depending on your point of view) bottle that struck one of the officials on the head, knocking him out cold. That would definitely qualify as a dangerous job on that day.

But what kind of fan could hit a moving target some 50 yards away after polishing off half a bottle of hooch?

But back to the serious theme of today's conversation.

The data were collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Upon analyzing the government statistics regarding dangerous occupations, it was determined that fishermen (or fisherwomen) who earn about $38,000 year (the government's best guess) topped the list. Those stats revealed some 41 fatal and 120 nonfatal injuries in 2017.

Next on the list were logging workers who make about the same as their fishing counterparts.

One of the more glamorous jobs that also ranked high on the list were airplane pilots and flight engineers who make about $112,000 annually. They came in at number three with transportation incidents being the most common fatal accidents. 

Here briefly are the rest of the 10 dangerous jobs on the list:

4. Roofers (my wife doesn't allow me to climb a ladder any more)

5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors

6. Structural iron and steel workers

7. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers

8. Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers

9. First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeepers

10. Electrical power line installers and repairers.

I was surprised that police and sheriff's deputies were considerably further down the list at No. 18. 

And yes, umpires and related workers (I assume that includes referees) did make the list at No. 22, just behind taxi drivers and chauffeurs.

When it comes to dangerous jobs in the state of Alabama, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 100 people were killed on-the-job in 2016. The vast majority (61percent) of those work-related fatal injuries involved transportation incidents in our state.

Changing the subject, Auburn University cranks out thousands of graduates every year. So what are some of the best paying jobs for them in 2019? 

According to Money magazine, software engineers are in great demand. The magazine reports there are 40,000 open entry-level jobs...with an average salary of $83,000 annually. Sounds great!

They also report 9,000 open positions for entry-level registered nurses at an average of $62,400 per year.

Is your grad thinking about becoming a teacher? Money magazine reports that despite the challenging working conditions and low pay, teaching still attracts a significant number of recent college grads. The average salary for entry-level teachers is reportedly $40,000, depending on the area of the country in which you choose to live. There are about 8,000 entry-level jobs available.

If you're inclined to learn the ins-and-outs of industries, you might take a look at being a project manager. The average salary for entry-level roles is $57,500 with 22,000 current openings.

Now, I realize any time you quote salaries, there are a lot of variables both high and low. So just use this as a point of reference for jobs that are hot and not-so-hot.

But think twice before becoming a football referee. 

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