Young people in search of a right career path usually flock to white-collar jobs associated with attractive, hefty paychecks. Therefore, a general disinterest in blue-collar occupations continues to grow. In fact, according to Forbes, about 57% of more than three million future positions in the manufacturing sector alone are likely to be unfilled approximately six years from now. Job seekers prefer to work in professional fields and refuse to do technical work, thinking that blue-collar jobs will generate low income.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the professional or white-collar workforce includes employees engaging in “management, professional, and related occupations.” On the other hand, the technical or blue-collar workforce include workers with service occupations such as “installation, maintenance, and repair”, “construction and extraction”, and “transportation and material moving.”
The main difference between a white-collar and blue-collar job is the industry’s requisite level of training and education. To land a blue-collar job, a college degree is not necessary. However, technical employees are expected to have expertise obtained from skills trade training or other vocational programs. A certification or license may also be required for certain positions.
Aside from educational requirements, there isn’t much that differentiates blue-collar and white-collar occupations. In fact, in terms of pay, some technical workers receive higher salaries than professional workers. Here are several high-paying blue-collar jobs and their corresponding salaries.
High-paying Blue-collar Occupations
Power Plant Operations
In 2018, nuclear power reactor operators topped the list of Forbes’ highest paid technical workers. In fact, they are reported to make an annual wage of $94,350. The primary responsibilities of power plant operators include monitoring and operating specialized equipment and keeping records of data.
Oil and Gas Industry
Statistics show that a rotary drill operator for the oil and gas industry receives pay of around $27 to $42 per hour. The primary task of an operator is utilizing drilling equipment for the extraction of gas or oil from lower-level or underground sources.
Plumbing and HVAC Services
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) services are usually grouped with plumbing in the same industry. HVAC and plumbing contractors are tasked with adjusting pipes and related equipment, and repairing and installing furnaces and HVAC systems. The International Franchise Association reports that in 2014, this sector yielded $174 billion in revenue. Accordingly, the hourly pay of a plumber in areas like Millcreek, Utah is around $28 to $45 and of an HVAC technician is $24 to $36.
Electrical Services and Repair
Electricians are responsible for wiring commercial and domestic structures for lighting, power connection, and communications systems. Granted, they are also tasked with the maintenance and repair services of the said systems. They receive an hourly pay ranging from $28 to $45.
According to the BLS, high-paying blue-collar occupations do not only generate annual wages exceeding the American national average for all types of jobs, but a yearly raise in pay can be expected as well. By completing additional training programs such as apprenticeship, specialization on specific fields can be obtained, thus making one eligible for managerial and supervisory positions.
The level of educational attainment does not necessarily dictate the amount of income a person can make. It’s recommended that job seekers explore numerous options and do substantial research on lucrative industries.