Best Paying Blue-Collar Jobs

Updated on February 8, 2024

Blue-collar jobs, traditionally known for physical labor and often not requiring a four-year college degree, can be incredibly lucrative and fulfilling. These roles span across various industries including construction, maintenance, and operation of machinery and equipment. Here, we explore some of the top-paying positions in this sector.

Construction and Building Inspector

  • Average Salary: $66,470
  • Job Description: These professionals ensure buildings are safe, meet code requirements, and oversee work done by contractors.
  • Responsibilities: Inspecting buildings, overseeing contractors’ work, and approving building plans.
  • Required Education: High school diploma/GED, experience in construction trades, and sometimes state certification​​​​.


  • Average Salary: $53,000
  • Job Description: Electricians maintain and repair electrical systems, ensuring safety in installations and maintenance.
  • Responsibilities: Maintaining and repairing electrical systems, installing electrical components.
  • Required Education: High school diploma and a 4-year apprenticeship​​​​.


  • Average Salary: Between $52,047 and $68,462
  • Job Description: Plumbers install and maintain pipes and fittings for water, gas, and waste systems.
  • Responsibilities: Performing plumbing repairs, choosing materials, planning pipeline systems.
  • Required Education: High school diploma and a 4-year apprenticeship​​​​.


  • Average Salary: Entry-level salaries start around $53,000
  • Job Description: Boilermakers fabricate and install boilers, tanks, and other pressure vessels.
  • Responsibilities: Fabricating, assembling, installing, and repairing boilers and tanks.
  • Required Education: High school diploma/GED and completion of an apprenticeship program​​​​.

Police Officer

  • Average Salary: $67,600
  • Job Description: Police officers serve and protect the community, attending to incidents and enforcing the law.
  • Responsibilities: Responding to calls, arresting suspects, writing reports, attending court hearings.
  • Required Education: High school diploma, driver’s license, and passing various examinations​​​​.


  • Average Salary: $51,000
  • Job Description: Firefighters respond to fire emergencies, participating in search and rescue operations.
  • Responsibilities: Driving firetrucks, putting out fires, and participating in search and rescue.
  • Required Education: High school diploma, driver’s license, and completion of fire academy training​​​​.

Power Plant Operator

  • Average Salary: Ranges between $48,090 and $111,470
  • Job Description: Power plant operators regulate and maintain power generation equipment.
  • Responsibilities: Monitoring electricity flow and voltage, maintaining equipment.
  • Required Education: High school diploma/GED and on-site training​​​​.

Oil Worker

  • Average Salary: Entry-level around $50,000
  • Job Description: Oil workers are involved in the extraction of oil, often working in remote locations.
  • Responsibilities: Operating equipment for oil extraction, maintaining safety standards.
  • Required Education: High school diploma/GED, with some positions requiring degrees in related fields​​​​.

OTR (Over the Road) Truck Driver

  • Average Salary: $80,000
  • Job Description: OTR drivers transport goods over long distances, requiring time away from home.
  • Responsibilities: Driving long distances, tracking mileage and hours, ensuring safe transport of goods.
  • Required Education: Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and a clean driving record​​​​.

Elevator Installer and Repairer

  • Average Salary: Between $62,000 and $92,000
  • Job Description: These workers install, maintain, and repair elevators, ensuring their safe operation.
  • Responsibilities: Inspecting control systems, installing and repairing elevators.
  • Required Education: Apprenticeship program​​​​.

Final Thoughts

Blue-collar jobs offer substantial earning potential without the need for a traditional four-year college degree. Many of these roles provide essential services that keep our infrastructure running smoothly and safely. With the right training and certification, a career in these fields can be both rewarding and financially beneficial.

Other Jobs in Industrial and Manufacturing Sectors


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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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