No Degree? Here Are 10 of the Best Paying Blue-Collar Jobs

Photo (cc) by portland general

Although a four-year college degree is often touted as the first step to scoring a job that pays well, it’s not always required. Blue-collar jobs in industries like construction, maintenance, warehousing and technical installation often offer impressive salaries and an opportunity for workers to cultivate specialized skills.

“Though it may require self-employment, the support of a labor union and, in some cases, not a small amount of risk to your safety, you can earn over $100,000 at a traditionally blue-collar job,” MarketWatch explains.

Some blue-collar careers require short-term vocational or career training, but that’s typically much cheaper than ponying up the bucks required to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Many of the highest-paying blue-collar jobs “are in the trades,” said Rutgers public policy professor Carl Van Horn, speaking to MarketWatch.

Job analysis site CareerTrends, listed 10 of the highest paying blue-collar jobs in the United States, below. (Yes, there are some that pay even more, but this list includes only occupations with at least 10,000 full-time employees.):

  • Power distributor: $73,446
  • Elevator installer: $68,792
  • Powerhouse equipment installer: $67,128
  • Water vessel captain: $63,032
  • Power plant operator: $62,908
  • Power line installer: $62,094
  • Transportation inspector: $62,018
  • Landscape architect: $60,696
  • Gas plant operator: $59,388
  • Aerospace engineering technicians: $58,961

Click here to see CareerTrends’ list of the top 25 highest-paid blue-collar careers.

My dad had a blue-collar job as a railroad locomotive engineer, a position that earned itself a spot (#22) on CareerTrends’ list. Though his work conditions were far from ideal – no set schedule, no set days off, being called to work at all hours of the day and night and being away from home a lot – he earned an impressive salary and he was able to provide for his wife and five children.

What do you think about the top-paying blue-collar jobs and their earning potential? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 5 Worst Home Upgrades for the Money
The 5 Worst Home Upgrades for the Money

These home improvement projects basically never pay off.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

It’s Worth Paying Extra for These 14 Items
It’s Worth Paying Extra for These 14 Items

Here’s where to find the sweet spot at the intersection of price and quality.

Brace to Pay More for These 26 Prescriptions in 2020
Brace to Pay More for These 26 Prescriptions in 2020

More than 600 drugs — including these commonly prescribed meds — have seen price hikes so far this year.

17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher
17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher

Many everyday items do not require meticulous hand washing.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

Do This in the Car If You Want to Avoid COVID-19
Do This in the Car If You Want to Avoid COVID-19

It takes just seconds to take this simple preventive measure.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.