Top 10 Blue Collar Jobs

Top 10 Blue Collar Jobs

There are many blue-collar job options that pay well and are growing in demand. If you aren’t interested in obtaining a four-year college degree or working in an office, consider these top blue-collar career options.

Blue-collar jobs often require little to no college education. Though some blue-collar professions carry challenging job descriptions, for many jobs you can obtain the skills you need through an apprenticeship program or vocational training.

For some jobs, if you’ve got the right skills, you can even get started right away using a blue-collar on demand job app or boost your credentials with a certificate program. Be sure to list and describe any skills training, apprenticeship, certification, or licensure you have received on your resume or online application and mention it in interviews.

These careers usually require extensive experience before you can make top wages. But those interested in starting a career in one of the fastest-growing blue-collar jobs below can often begin at entry-level, earning a livable wage.

Top 10 Blue-Collar Jobs

1. Electrician

  • Median Pay: $55,190 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $94,620 (Source: BLS)

There is hardly a building in North America that doesn’t need electricity. Climate control, phone/internet, lighting, and other systems all require electricians to install and maintain these key elements of a building’s electrical system.

Electricians frequently work with wiring, switches, breakers, transformers, and even the decorative fixtures in new home construction. Old buildings undergoing restoration lean heavily upon experienced electricians to upgrade the electrical system and help the building to pass safety inspections.

Other Titles that Electricians Go By

  • Inside Wireman
  • Journeyman
  • Mechanical Trades Specialist, Electrician
  • Qualified Craft Worker (QCW), Electrician


2. Electrical Power-Line Installer/Repairer

  • Median Pay: $70,240 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $101,560 (Source: BLS)

Ensuring the safe transfer of power from plants to buildings falls to power-line installers and repairers. Working with power lines is hard, physical labor. While installing heavy poles and maintaining transformers high off the ground, linemen must perform dangerous tasks.

Despite the hazards, power installation and repair is a fast-growing field, and the pay is well above average.

Other Titles that Electrical Power-Line Installers/Repairers Go By

  • Class A Lineman
  • Journeyman Lineman
  • Electrical Lineworker


3. Elevator Installer/Repairer

  • Median Pay: $79,780 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $121,200 (Source: BLS)

For elevators and escalators to work correctly, experienced technicians must maintain and inspect them for any defects. During new commercial construction, contractors call on elevator installers to put in all elevators and moving walkways.

Elevator installers and repairers often work in tight spaces and at great heights. Their work is vital for the safety of visitors, and for the efficient transportation of large amounts of people.

Other Titles that Elevator Installer/Repairers Go By

  • Elevator Adjuster
  • Elevator Constructor
  • Elevator Mechanic
  • Elevator Maintenance Technician
  • Elevator Service Technician


4. Plumber

  • Median Pay: $53,910 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $93,700 (Source: BLS)

Most are familiar with the fact that plumbers ensure the integrity of water pipes in a home. Plumbers install and maintain piping while also putting kitchen and bathroom fixtures in place. Often an on-call job, plumbers respond to plumbing emergencies in residential and commercial buildings.

That said, some plumbers also install and maintain piping for gas, chemicals, and steam at manufacturing plants.

Other Titles that Plumbers Go By

  • Pipefitter
  • Steamfitter
  • Drain Cleaner, Plumber
  • Journeyman Plumber
  • Plumber Gasfitter
  • Plumbing and Heating Mechanic


5.Police Officer

  • Median Pay: $63,380 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $106,090 (Source: BLS)

Law enforcement includes everything from enforcing traffic regulations to investigating a crime scene. Police officers must maintain law and order while learning how to deescalate potentially dangerous situations.

Police personnel may be employed at the city, state, and county levels. Many career officers become detectives and lead crime investigations.

Other Titles that Police Officers Go By

  • Police Detective
  • Police Patrol Officer
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • State Trooper


6. Firefighter

  • Median Pay: $49,620 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $88,920 (Source: BLS)

Firefighters are one of the most-often called-upon emergency response personnel. Firefighters are one of the foremost fire safety advocates in a community.

Not only must they be able to handle fire emergencies, but they must also be able to provide immediate medical care after an accident. They must be able to enter dangerous situations to rescue victims or extinguish hazardous flames.

Other Titles that Firefighters Go By

  • Fire Equipment Operator
  • Safety Officer
  • Forest Firefighter
  • Fire Rescue Technician
  • Forestry Fire Technician
  • Fire Management Specialist


7. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

  • Median Pay: $95,310 (BLS: Source)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $127,370 (BLS: Source)

Well-maintained power plants provide invaluable benefits to residents. Because reactors can be volatile, expert operators must monitor all unusual activity and respond to emergencies.

In the event of a reactor malfunction, operators must quickly diagnose the issue and address it immediately. 

Other Titles that Nuclear Power Reactor Operators Go By

  • Licensed Reactor Operator
  • Nuclear Control Operator
  • Nuclear Control Room Operator
  • Nuclear Plant Operator (NPO)
  • Nuclear Station Operator (NSO)
  • Nuclear Supervising Operator (NSO)
  • Reactor Operator (RO)


8. Transportation Inspectors

  • Median Pay: $75,330 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $123,980 (Source: BLS)

Transportation can include either cargo or people. Inspectors work on trains, trucks, and ships. They enforce compliance standards so that equipment will work properly, and packed cargo will not interfere with a driver/pilot’s maneuverability.

Other Titles that Transportation Inspectors Go By

  • Car Inspector
  • Emissions Inspector
  • Quality Assurance Inspector
  • Railroad Track Inspector
  • Smog Technician
  • Transit Vehicle Inspector
  • Freight and Cargo Inspectors


9. Telecommunications Equipment Installer/Repairer

  • Median Pay: $56,100 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $82,860 (Source: BLS)

Telecommunications installers and repairers often work closely with power-line installers. Telecom specialists might work for cable, internet, landline, and wireless companies.

Ultimately, anything that pertains to signal and communication falls under the job description of telecom specialists. They must be able to work with computers, install/maintain cables, and troubleshoot connectivity issues.

Other Titles that Telecommunications Equipment Installer/Repairers Go By

  • Cable Splicer
  • Cable Television Technician (CATV Technician)
  • Combination Technician
  • Field Service Technician
  • Installation and Repair Technician (I & R Technician)
  • Outside Plant Technician


10. Aircraft Mechanics and Service Specialists

  • Median Pay: $65,230 (Source: BLS)
  • Top 10% Median Pay: $97,820 (Source: BLS)

Airplanes and helicopters need aircraft mechanics to maintain engines and parts. Aircraft specialists diagnose mechanical failures before they endanger the lives of pilots, crew, and passengers. They may also need to disassemble and reassemble entire sections of an aircraft for repairs or general maintenance.

Other Titles that Aircraft Mechanics and Service Specialists Go By

  • Aircraft Maintenance Technician (Aircraft Maintenance Tech)
  • Aircraft Restorer
  • Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A & P Mechanic)
  • Helicopter Mechanic


Best Blue-Collar Jobs: A Recap

If you’re interested in pursuing a career where you get to work with your hands, any of our top blue-collar job picks above are a great place to start. 

Explore each of the job descriptions and find out what kind of training and the skills you need to become a pro. 

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  • June 23, 2022