If your stomach turns when you look out a first-floor window, then high-wire walker probably isn't your ideal job. A fear of heights -- often called vertigo or acrophobia -- can rule out daredevil-type occupations, as well as regular, everyday-type work that's performed at high elevations. For those with serious acrophobia, maybe it's time to consider a career in the Great Plains.
Roofers can expect to spend much of the working day high above the ground, often with only a safety cord or thin pipe of metal holding them in place. On top of that, roofing was ranked as one of the worst jobs in the United States in 2009, according to a survey that relied on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census. With an average annual wage of $36,164, potential roofers who are afraid of heights might not find the compensation worth all their vertigo.
The idea of saving lives and tackling burning buildings might sound exciting. However, if you're afraid of heights, take a moment to consider two elements of a firefighter's life: ladders and poles. That means lots of teetering and balancing, often while holding a pressurized hose. If you cannot somehow overcome your fear of heights, you will miss out on this job and the firefighter's average earnings of $45,250 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ever wonder how much those high-rise window cleaners get paid? If you're afraid of heights, you might think they should be paid a million dollars or more. Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, janitors and building cleaners can expect a median salary of $22,210 per year. You might earn more money for dangling in one of those bucket-like contraptions on the side of a skyscraper, but if you're afraid of heights, any kind of pay would seem hardly worth the job duties.
The thing about being a flight attendant is that you might not notice you're high up in the air until you look out the window. If the sight of trees, cars and houses becoming tiny dots beneath you fills you with dread, then being an air steward is a bad job for you. If you want to try regardless, you can expect an average annual wage of about $37,740, and you'll need at least a high school diploma or equivalent before you can tour the skies.
Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.