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.

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