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The 50 Most Dangerous Jobs for Contracting COVID-19

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended avoiding close contact with others as the most effective way to protect yourself from getting the coronavirus, but for some workers, this is impossible. Certain jobs require person-to-person contact, which puts those workers at risk for exposure. In general, healthcare workers are at the greatest risk — they have person-to-person contact every workday, often exposing themselves to people who have the coronavirus — but it’s not just those who work in the healthcare field who are at high risk.

To determine the 50 jobs that are the most dangerous in terms of contracting the coronavirus, GOBankingRates sourced data from Visual Capitalist. The site used information from the Occupational Information Network to calculate a “COVID-19 risk score” based on three factors: (1) how much the job requires contact with others; (2) how much the job requires tasks to be performed in close proximity to others; and (3) how often the job requires exposure to hazardous conditions. Scores ranged from zero to 100, with 100 being the highest risk. Data on each occupation’s average annual income and number of employees was sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics data gathered by Visual Capitalist. Information on whether the dangerous job is considered to be essential or nonessential is based on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on essential workers, plus reporting on which businesses and services closed during initial shutdowns because they were deemed nonessential.

All in all, these workers are facing new risks during the coronavirus crisis.

Last updated: July 6, 2020

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Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education

  • Risk score: 53.8
  • Average income: $58,230
  • Number employed: 1,410,970
  • Essential, but varies by state; however, most schools were closed throughout the U.S. for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

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Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education

  • Risk score: 55.2
  • Average income: $29,780
  • Number employed: 424,520
  • Essential, but varies by state; however, most schools were closed throughout the U.S. for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

SolStock / Getty Images

Teacher Assistants

  • Risk score: 55.7
  • Average income: $26,970
  • Number employed: 1,331,560
  • Essential, but varies by state; however, most schools were closed throughout the U.S. for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

jentakespictures / Getty Images

Amusement and Recreation Attendants

  • Risk score: 56.0
  • Average income: $22,260
  • Number employed: 319,890
  • Nonessential; many theme parks, including Disney World and Disneyland, have been closed.

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Pharmacists

  • Risk score: 56.8
  • Average income: $126,120
  • Number employed: 309,550
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Child Care Workers

  • Risk score: 57.9
  • Average income: $23,240
  • Number employed: 564,630
  • Most are nonessential, but those who provide child care to essential healthcare personnel are considered essential by the U.S. government.

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Healthcare Social Workers

  • Risk score: 58.1
  • Average income: $56,200
  • Number employed: 168,190
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

Social and Human Service Assistants

  • Risk score: 60.3
  • Average income: $33,750
  • Number employed: 392,300
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Correctional Officers and Jailers

  • Risk score: 60.4
  • Average income: $44,330
  • Number employed: 415,000
  • Essential — law enforcement and public safety workers are considered essential by the U.S. government.

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Nurse Practitioners

  • Risk score: 60.9
  • Average income: $107,030
  • Number employed: 179,650
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers

  • Risk score: 61.0
  • Average income: $63,340
  • Number employed: 43,760
  • Essential — law enforcement and public safety workers are considered essential by the U.S. government.

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Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists

  • Risk score: 62.1
  • Average income: $24,730
  • Number employed: 377,210
  • Nonessential — salons were closed down around the beginning of the pandemic.

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Pharmacy Technicians

  • Risk score: 62.5
  • Average income: $32,700
  • Number employed: 417,860
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers

  • Risk score: 62.8
  • Average income: $32,450
  • Number employed: 964,400
  • Most are nonessential, but those who provide food service to healthcare personnel and patients are considered essential by the U.S. government.

Municipal Firefighters

  • Risk score: 63.2
  • Average income: $49,620
  • Number employed: 321,570
  • Essential — law enforcement and public safety workers are considered essential by the U.S. government.

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Medical Equipment Preparers

  • Risk score: 63.9
  • Average income: $36,240
  • Number employed: 55,610
  • Essential — vendors and suppliers of medical equipment are considered essential by the U.S. government.

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Personal Care Aides

  • Risk score: 64.0
  • Average income: $24,020
  • Number employed: 2,211,950
  • Essential — outpatient and home care workers are considered to be essential by the U.S. government.

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Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education

  • Risk score: 65.8
  • Average income: $55,470
  • Number employed: 131,160
  • Essential, but varies by state; however, most schools were closed throughout the U.S. for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

SolStock / Getty Images

Home Health Aides

  • Risk score: 66.3
  • Average income: $24,200
  • Number employed: 797,670
  • Essential — home care workers are considered to be essential by the U.S. government.

Bus Drivers, School or Special Client

  • Risk score: 67.3
  • Average income: $32,420
  • Number employed: 504,150
  • Essential — transportation workers are considered essential by the U.S. government.

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Skin Care Specialists

  • Risk score: 68.0
  • Average income: $31,290
  • Number employed: 50,740
  • Nonessential — spas were closed down around the beginning of the pandemic.

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Psychiatric Aides

  • Risk score: 69.0
  • Average income: $29,180
  • Number employed: 56,910
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Psychiatric Technicians

  • Risk score: 69.8
  • Average income: $32,870
  • Number employed: 71,360
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Veterinarians

  • Risk score: 70.0
  • Average income: $93,830
  • Number employed: 71,060
  • Essential — veterinary health is considered to be an essential service by the U.S. government.

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Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics

  • Risk score: 70.7
  • Average income: $34,320
  • Number employed: 257,210
  • Essential — all direct patient care workers are considered essential by the U.S. government.

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Nurse Anesthetists

  • Risk score: 70.8
  • Average income: $167,950
  • Number employed: 43,520
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Medical Assistants

  • Risk score: 72.2
  • Average income: $33,610
  • Number employed: 673,660
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Nursing Assistants

  • Risk score: 72.5
  • Average income: $28,540
  • Number employed: 1,450,960
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

  • Risk score: 74.9
  • Average income: $27,540
  • Number employed: 89,480
  • Essential — veterinary health is considered to be an essential service by the U.S. government.

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Occupational Therapy Assistants

  • Risk score: 75.0
  • Average income: $60,220
  • Number employed: 42,660
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Flight Attendants

  • Risk score: 75.6
  • Average income: $56,000
  • Number employed: 118,770
  • Essential — air transportation workers are considered essential by the U.S. government.

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Occupational Therapists

  • Risk score: 77.7
  • Average income: $84,270
  • Number employed: 126,900
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

Aykut Erdogdu / Shutterstock.com

Physical Therapists

  • Risk score: 78.6
  • Average income: $87,930
  • Number employed: 228,600
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Physical Therapist Assistants

  • Risk score: 79.3
  • Average income: $58,040
  • Number employed: 94,250
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

  • Risk score: 79.3
  • Average income: $56,850
  • Number employed: 56,560
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Internists, General (Internal Medicine)

  • Risk score: 79.8
  • Average income: $194,500
  • Number employed: 37,820
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Physician Assistants

  • Risk score: 80.0
  • Average income: $108,610
  • Number employed: 114,710
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

SDI Productions / Getty Images

Physical Therapist Aides

  • Risk score: 80.3
  • Average income: $26,240
  • Number employed: 47,260
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

  • Risk score: 80.4
  • Average income: $72,510
  • Number employed: 71,130
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Surgical Technologists

  • Risk score: 80.6
  • Average income: $47,300
  • Number employed: 110,160
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

  • Risk score: 82.1
  • Average income: $46,240
  • Number employed: 701,690
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Radiologic Technicians

  • Risk score: 84.1
  • Average income: $59,520
  • Number employed: 205,590
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

andresr / Getty Images

Respiratory Therapists

  • Risk score: 84.2
  • Average income: $60,280
  • Number employed: 129,600
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

sturti / Getty Images

Registered Nurses

  • Risk score: 86.1
  • Average income: $71,730
  • Number employed: 2,951,960
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Family and General Practitioners

  • Risk score: 90.1
  • Average income: $201,100
  • Number employed: 114,130
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Orderlies (Patient Care Assistants)

  • Risk score: 90.2
  • Average income: $28,060
  • Number employed: 50,100
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

Dentists, General

  • Risk score: 92.1
  • Average income: $151,850
  • Number employed: 113,000
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

BenAkiba / Getty Images

Dental Assistants

  • Risk score: 92.5
  • Average income: $38,660
  • Number employed: 341,060
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

DGLimages / Shutterstock.com

Respiratory Therapy Technicians

  • Risk score: 95.0
  • Average income: $60,280
  • Number employed: 129,600
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Dental Hygienists

  • Risk score: 99.7
  • Average income: $74,820
  • Number employed: 215,150
  • Essential — the U.S. government considers all healthcare providers to be essential.

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Scores for risk were sourced from Visual Capitalist