Special Report

The Weirdest Job in Every State

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Over 147 million people in America are holding a job. While most jobs are quite conventional, some are definitely less so. Whether it is a professional smeller or a rattlesnake farmer, each state is home to a very unusual, and often bizarre way of earning a living.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed job listing sites, online databases, and occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the weirdest job or job opening in every state.

For many states,  the weird job only exists because a company like SpaceX or Boston Dynamics sets up shop in the state and needs someone to reclaim its rockets or test its robots. In others, the weirdest job is unique to that state, often because of a natural resource or animal that is only found in that area. This is the best thing about every state.

Click here to see the weirdest job in every state.

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1. Alabama
> Weirdest job: Paranormal tour guide

Paranormal tour guides take brave tourists through the haunted history of Alabama. Guides working for the Birmingham Historic Touring Company, for example, take people for ghost walks, cemetery tours, and to haunted houses.


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2. Alaska
> Weirdest job: Commercial diver

Commercial diving is one of the more dangerous jobs on this list. Divers can work in one of Alaska’s offshore oil rigs or the state’s extensive fishing industry.

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3. Arizona
> Weirdest job: Bingo manager

Bingo is big in Arizona — it is legal as both a recreational activity and for the purpose of fundraising for some organizations. In 2019, Gila River Hotels & Casinos in Phoenix broke two Guinness World Records, hosting a game with the largest bingo balls and the largest bingo card.

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4. Arkansas
> Weirdest job: Cooling and freezing equipment operators

Cooling equipment operators run freezing and cooling units used to store and preserve food, chemicals, and other items. Arkansas, with a large agricultural industry, has an estimated 550 workers in this occupation, one of the highest of any state and by far the highest relative to the size of its workforce.


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5. California
> Weirdest job: Dog surfing instructor

As host of the World Dog Surfing Competition with over 3,000 miles of coastline, California is arguably the only state where it makes sense to have a job teaching dogs how to surf.

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6. Colorado
> Weirdest job: Cannabis editor

Since cannabis has become legal in Colorado in 2012, it has become a major industry in the state. As such, media outlets there, like Denver’s Westword, employ cannabis editors and writers to track the goings-on in the marijuana industry.


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7. Connecticut
> Weirdest job: Foliage grader

New England states like Connecticut are known for their brilliantly colored fall foliage, as leaves turn shades of red, orange, and yellow in the fall. Connecticut keeps tourists who come to see the foliage, known as “leaf peepers,” informed by a weekly-updated state map pointing to the best foliage views on a scale from “very low” to “peak” and “past peak.”

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8. Delaware
> Weirdest job: Pirate

Truth be told, the operators of the Pirates of Lewes in Lewes, Delaware, aren’t real pirates, but they do offer interactive cruises for kids and adults alike.

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9. Florida
> Weirdest job: Rocket recovery technician

Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has a job opening in Cape Canaveral for a recovery technician — someone who goes to retrieve the parts of the company’s Falcon 9, the Falcon Heavy, and Dragon space capsules that are detached during flight. Rocket recovery workers must be willing to work at sea and at heights up to 300 feet.


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10. Georgia
> Weirdest job: Chicken sexer

Georgia has one of the largest poultry industries in the country. Chicken sexers, or poultry sorters, are needed to quickly determine whether newborn chicks will be hens or roosters.

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11. Hawaii
> Weirdest job: Golf-ball diver

The Island State of Hawaii has dozens of golf courses, many near the ocean. Golf balls are bad for underwater ecosystems, so people are needed to dive and retrieve the errant balls.


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12. Idaho
> Weirdest job: Avalanche forecaster

Avalanche forecasters determine avalanche risk by testing the snow’s structure — and Idaho plays an important role in keeping skiers and hikers safe nationwide. The U.S. Forest Service’s National Avalanche Center, located in Ketchum, Idaho, coordinates avalanche forecasts from all 16 such U.S. centers to determine which mountains and ski slopes are at risk of avalanche.

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13. Illinois
> Weirdest job: Flavorist

Flavorists use chemicals to recreate familiar tastes or totally new ones in food. Chicago, as well as other parts of the state, are home to a number of major food manufacturing brands, many of which require flavor scientists.

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14. Indiana
> Weirdest job: Airplane repo-man

If someone is wealthy enough to buy an airplane but falls into arrears, they can expect a visit from an airplane repo professional. Nick Popovich, who appeared on the Discovery Channel show “Airplane Repo,” has a facility for repossessed planes in Indiana.


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15. Iowa
> Weirdest job: Wind turbine service technician

Iowa is one of the biggest producers of wind energy in the United States, and technicians are needed to keep those turbines spinning. This sometimes requires the technicians to scale up to the top, over 200 feet in the air.

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16. Kansas
> Weirdest job: Dog food taster

Since dogs can’t tell us what they think of their food, humans are needed to make sure nothing is amiss before pet food is shipped to stores. Kansas is one of the largest producers of pet food in the country.


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17. Kentucky
> Weirdest job: Farrier

With a long equestrian tradition, many Kentuckians work as farriers, or someone who makes horseshoes and fits them on the horses. Farriers can learn their trade at the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in Richmond.

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18. Louisiana
> Weirdest job: Bridge and lock tender

As the terminus point of the Mississippi river and the location of the Mississippi River Delta, Louisiana has a substantial river control system, including a number of locks. The state has nearly 10 times the concentration of bridge and lock tenders compared to the national workforce.

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19. Maine
> Weirdest job: Worm digger

Maine is the only place in the U.S. where fishermen can get sandworms, a popular fish bait. Worm diggers search through the mud all across Maine’s shoreline, picking up thousands of the creatures in a day.


20. Maryland
> Weirdest job: Crime scene cleaner

Maryland has the seventh highest murder rate among states. When these crimes occur, professionals are needed to clean the scene.

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21. Massachusetts
> Weirdest job: Robot tester

You may have seen robotics company Boston Dynamics’ viral videos, featuring dog-like robots that can climb stairs, or a humanoid robot that can do a backflip. The Waltham-based company is looking for a hardware test engineer who would design and create tests to ensure these machines are capable of their impressive feats.


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22. Michigan
> Weirdest job: Furniture tester

Thanks to its access to lumber, Grand Rapids, Michigan, was once known as “Furniture City.” With La-Z-Boy Furniture headquartered in Michigan as well as other furniture makers, the state has many furniture testers who ensure sofas, chairs, couches, and more are comfy.

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23. Minnesota
> Weirdest job: Professional sleeper

People are often employed to sleep by pharmaceutical companies, bed or pillow makers, or sleep researchers. Minnesota has one of the largest health research industries in the country, including the Minnesota Sleep Institute.

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24. Mississippi
> Weirdest job: Alligator wrangler

There may be as many as 38,000 alligators in Mississippi, and wranglers working for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are sometimes needed to remove the large and dangerous animals from residential areas.


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25. Missouri
> Weirdest job: Dice quality inspector

To ensure that anyone playing a dice game has the same odds of winning, dice are inspected before going to casinos or stores to ensure the cubes are equally weighted on all sides. Kearney, Missouri, is home to a manufacturer of casino-quality dice.

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26. Montana
> Weirdest job: Explosives worker

Explosives workers lay and detonate explosives typically with the purpose of moving or loosening earth and rock. Explosives workers are highly concentrated in Montana relative to the U.S. as a whole, in large part because of the state’s mining operations.


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27. Nebraska
> Weirdest job: Corn detasseler

For decades, tens of thousands of people in Nebraska have worked as corn detasselers in the summer. These workers remove the tassel, or the top part of the corn plant, so it cannot pollinate itself. This provides a better crop of corn.

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28. Nevada
> Weirdest job: Hangover cure specialist

Las Vegas is known as a great city to party, but if revelers have a bit too much fun and drink too much, their hangover can spoil their next vacation day. Fortunately, a number of companies in Sin City offer intravenous treatments that claim to rehydrate customers and cure their hangovers. One even has a Hangover Heaven Bus that can come to you if you’re too hung over to leave your hotel room.

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29. New Hampshire
> Weirdest job: Ash artist

New Hampshire is home to studios like Terrapin Glassblowing and Art From Ashes that take the ashes of a deceased loved one and turn it into a memorializing work of art.


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30. New Jersey
> Weirdest job: Gum buster

Stepping in gum is frustrating and gross. Fortunately, GumBusters of New Jersey and New York have the tools and the skills to make sidewalks safe from sticky discarded gum.

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31. New Mexico
> Weirdest job: Chief sniffer

George Aldrich works for NASA out of the White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces as a chemical specialist, but he is better known as their “chief sniffer.” His job is to sniff out any potentially annoying or nauseating odors lingering on items that will be confined with astronauts on missions in confined spaces for potentially months at a time.


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32. New York
> Weirdest job: Fortune cookie writer

Ever wonder where those messages in your fortune cookie come from? It is likely they came from Wonton Food, the world’s largest fortune cookie manufacturing center, which is located in New York. Buyers can also write their own custom fortune.

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33. North Carolina
> Weirdest job: Face feeler

Face feelers are product testers who check personal care items to ensure they are safe? They test everything from razor blades to beauty products. Hampstead, North Carolina, is home to Fore Sense + One, a company that focuses on sensory properties.

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34. North Dakota
> Weirdest job: Nuclear and missile operations officers

The U.S. has 450 nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missiles 60 feet underground near Minot, North Dakota. The people who are in charge of standing ready to launch these missiles are nuclear and missile operations officers, or missileers.


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35. Ohio
> Weirdest job: Bird bander

Once a year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service travels out to West Sister Island on Lake Erie to track and study birds like cormorants, egrets, and herons. When the birds are threatened, they often vomit on the thing they see as a threat, giving the island its nickname of “Vomit Island” among locals.

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36. Oklahoma
> Weirdest job: Toy and Action Figure Museum curator

In 2005, Kevin Stark, a Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, resident and toy designer and collector opened up a museum to display over 11,000 toys and action figures. The museum is a registered nonprofit and gets thousands of visitors each year.


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37. Oregon
> Weirdest job: Professional snuggler

As people become isolated in the digital era, professional snugglers offer platonic companionship. Cuddle Up To Me, which offers cuddling services, opened in Portland in 2013. They currently offer certification for people looking to become professional cuddlers. The coronavirus pandemic has of course made traditional sessions impossible for many professional snugglers, but some are offering virtual sessions.

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38. Pennsylvania
> Weirdest job: Chocolate taster

Pennsylvania is home to several Hershey’s plants, so there is a need for professional tasters who can ensure that the sweets produced in those plants are sweet enough.

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39. Rhode Island
> Weirdest job: Quahogger

Rhode Island is famous for its seafood, particularly the quahog — a large, hard-shelled clam that can be used to make chowder or other food. Though some farm these clams, others still scoop wild quahogs out of the mud to sell to stores and restaurants.


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40. South Carolina
> Weirdest job: Kazoo Factory worker

Beaufort, South Carolina, is home to the Kazoobie Kazoo Factory. The Factory is complete with a museum and an interactive tour, during which visitors can make their own kazoos.

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41. South Dakota
> Weirdest job: Deadwood reenactor

Deadwood, South Dakota, is a former frontier town, famous for being visited by some iconic names of American westward expansion, including Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane. It has been made even more famous by the critically-acclaimed HBO show about the town. The site of historic Deadwood now hosts shootouts and other reenactments.


42. Tennessee
> Weirdest job: Duck master

The famous Peabody Hotel in Memphis is home to a strange and delightful tradition in which five ducks march into the lobby and into the fountain twice a day. The first duck master led the Peabody Ducks to their destination starting in 1940 and held the job for 50 years. The current Duckmaster, Anthony Petrina, earned his position in 2012.

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43. Texas
> Weirdest job: Snake Farm zookeeper

New Braunfels, Texas, is home to the famous Snake Farm. The facility, now called the Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, is home to, of course, a lot of snakes as well other reptiles, zebras, lemurs, and more. It has been in business since 1967, started as a roadside attraction to capitalize on the 1968 San Antonio World’s Fair. It retains local fame and was even the subject of a Ray Wylie Hubbard song.

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44. Utah
> Weirdest job: Dark sky defender

One of the attractions of going to a national park is looking up at the night sky to see the stars and planets. The National Park Service employs a dark sky defender at Utah’s Arches National Park to raise awareness of the impact of light pollution and eliminate unneeded light by reaching out to government officials.


45. Vermont
> Weirdest job: Ice cream factory tour guide

Vermont was the birthplace of the nationally-beloved ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s. In the factory in Waterbury, Vermont, the company’s first, visitors can take a tour, observe the workings of a factory producing 350,000 pints of ice cream daily and visit the Flavor Graveyard.

46. Virginia
> Weirdest job: Dinosaur Land manager

White Post, Virginia, is home to Dinosaur Land, a roadside attraction full of life-size fiberglass dinosaurs and other animals. Dinosaur Land’s founder passed away in 1987, and the site is currently managed by his daughter.


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47. Washington
> Weirdest job: Horticultural therapist

Horticultural therapy can help people feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally by having them tend to a garden. The American Horticultural Therapy Association is located in Seattle.

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48. West Virginia
> Weirdest job: National Parks Service ghost town employee

Thurmond, West Virginia, is a former railroad town now left long abandoned. The ghost town is now overseen by the National Parks Service, which maintains a visitor’s center in the town’s former railroad depot.

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49. Wisconsin
> Weirdest job: Cheese curd taster

Wisconsin is known for its cheese industry. The state produces about half of all specialty cheese made in the United States. So of course the state would be home to some unusual cheese-related jobs. Madison, Wisconsin-based EatStreet is hiring a “curd nerd” to travel across the state and find the best cheese curd.


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50. Wyoming
> Weirdest job: Roof snow and ice clearer

Wyoming is prone to major blizzards and heavy snowfalls that can put tremendous strain on roofs, causing damage and leaks or potentially worse. Snow and ice buildup clearers in the state make sure this does not happen.

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