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.