Serial Killers Who Had Normal Jobs

Sometimes, it's the ones you least expect. These dangerous, notorious serial killers all had perfectly normal jobs and many were considered kind, contributing citizens in their communities. But then things took a turn. Which serial killers had normal day jobs? This is a list of serial killers with normal jobs before they changed career paths and took up killing.

A serial killer is defined as someone who murders three or more victims over a relatively short interval. Though it has been said that serial killers often fail to keep jobs for long periods of time, such as Ted Bundy, who held a number of low-end jobs, some psychologists also claim that serial killers can appear to be completely normal and have high-functioning lives. John Wayne Gacy, for example, was a highly respected individual within his community, and Dennis Rader was the elected president of his church.

Though many assume that most serial killers are rooted in violent families and abusive upbringings, there are many examples of serial killers who grew up in normal families with surprisingly average childhoods. Thus, it's hard to pinpoint conclusive personality characteristics of serial killers since the motives for killing can vary anywhere from wanting to be a hero by saving victims they previously poisoned, to sick and sadistic pleasure. 

Here's a list of serial killers who had surprisingly normal jobs, although some are a bit creepy. Ice cream truck driver, anyone?

  • Day jobs: Army combat medic, mixer at the Ambrosia Chocolate Factory

    Between 1978 and 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 men before he was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms in 1992. Dahmer had an alcohol abuse problem that led to his Army discharge. After he was kicked out of the Army, Dahmer moved in with his grandmother in the hopes that he could clean up his act, though she later asked him to move out after discovering disturbing things in her home. Dahmer was arrested in 1991 and eventually admitted to all 17 murders. Dahmer pled "guilty but insane" to 16 counts of murder and was given 16 sentences of life imprisonment. In 1994, he was murdered in prison. 
    • Age: Dec. at 34 (1960-1994)
    • Birthplace: West Allis, Wisconsin, United States of America
  • Day jobs: shoe store manager, Kentucky Fried Chicken manager, children's birthday party clown

    Also known as the Killer Clown, John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer who was convicted of murdering over 30 teenage boys and young men in the 1970s. He was sentenced to death and spent 14 years on death row before he was executed on May 10, 1994.
    • Age: Dec. at 52 (1942-1994)
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
  • Ted Bundy
    Photo: Florida Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Day jobs: grocery store bagger and stocker, shoe clerk, bus boy, campaign volunteer

    One of the most prolific serial killers in America, Ted Bundy murdered more than 30 women in the 1970s before he was finally apprehended on February 15, 1978. Bundy was executed at the Florida State Prison on January 24th, 1989. 
    • Age: Dec. at 42 (1946-1989)
    • Birthplace: Vermont, USA, Burlington
  • Day jobs: United States Postal Service letter sorter, Army veteran

    Known as the ".44 Caliber Killer" and "Son of Sam," David Berkowitz was a New York City serial killer who was arrested in 1977 for a series of shooting attacks with a .44 caliber revolver. In more than a year, Berkowitz murdered six victims and wounded seven others while terrorizing New York City with acts of arson.
    • Age: 69
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York
  • Day jobs: British Army cook, London police officer

    Often described as the "British Jeffrey Dahmer," Dennis Nilsen was a serial killer in London who murdered 15 young men from 1978 to 1983 before he was arrested and charged with six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
    • Age: 77
    • Birthplace: Fraserburgh, United Kingdom
  • Andrei Chikatilo
    Photo: Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

    Day jobs: literature teacher, day laborer, regional sports manager

    Andrei Chikatilo was a Russian Soviet serial killer whose victim count included at least 52 women and children, whom he sexually assaulted and mutilated. He committed the murders between 1978 and 1990 before he was arrested and confessed to 56 murders. In 1992, he was tried for 53 of the killings. He was convicted, sentenced to death, and executed in 1994.
    • Age: Dec. at 57 (1936-1994)
    • Birthplace: Sumy Oblast, Ukraine