3 Blue-Collar Careers That Pay Over $100,000 In 2024


Upon graduation, the majority of young people do not instantly consider blue-collar careers as something that is a desirable career achievement.

However, blue-collar roles (so dubbed because workers used blue denim clothes to make the dirt and grime they were working with less conspicuous) play a significant role in our economy and are absolutely necessary to the infrastructure of our lives.

Without them, our standard of living would be entirely different. From transportation and logistics to manufacturing and construction, blue-collar careers are the fabric of our economy and are worth pursuing if you're looking to build a fulfilling career.

Blue-collar careers—and the professionals to fulfill these roles—are in demand more than ever. Over 40% of those in the skilled trades workforce are past the age of 45, and almost half are over 55, according to a 2023 report from GV Wire.

As this segment of the workforce goes into retirement within a few years, Gen Z and Millennials are needed to pick up the slack, or the industry will face a serious talent shortage.

Why Choose A Blue-Collar Career?

Blue-collar careers come with many benefits.

For one, many of them do not require a degree, although you may have one if you so choose. Instead, you will be learning through gaining certifications and training along the way.

Additionally, there are fewer barriers to entry when you pursue a blue-collar career, and in stark contrast to undertaking a college degree, you can gain hands-on experience while also eliminating the need to run into student debt.

It's also essential to remember that you can pursue similar "white-collar" roles such as those within leadership and management, once you gain experience and continued training and certifications within your blue-collar job.

But perhaps the greatest advantage of being a blue-collar worker is that while you gain certifications, the jobs themselves pay significantly well, although not as popular as sought-after career destinations such as being a hedge fund manager, Chief Executive Officer, attorney, or HR director.

Check out these three blue-collar career ideas for 2024:

1. Power Plant Operator

Power plant operators maintain and operate generators, turbines, and other energy production machines. They also monitor equipment and record data from their maintenance checks.

Education And Qualifications Needed

  • High-school diploma/GED
  • Vocational school/community college training, specific to gas, electricity, nuclear energy, etc.
  • Certifications and licenses such as NERC certification, NCCER power generation technician certification, and ASME QRO certification

Average salary range: Between $96,642 and $121,208

2. Radiation Therapist

A radiation therapist administers radiation therapy to patients through operating specialized radiation equipment, while minimizing the damage to healthy tissues as far as possible.

Education And Qualifications Needed

  • High-school diploma/GED
  • Associate degree in radiation therapy
  • Passing certification exam by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
  • State license, depending on where you choose to practice

Average salary range: Between $84,100 and $104,300

3. Elevator Installer/Repairer

An elevator installer and repairer, also known as an elevator technician, installs and maintains elevator and escalator components, such as cables and internal control systems. They ensure that these vertical transportation systems are reliable and safety-compliant with applicable electrical and mechanical regulations for buildings.

Education And Qualifications Needed

  • High-school diploma/GED
  • A state licence is sometimes mandatory, depending on your state
  • Certification from the National Association of Elevator Contractors

Average salary range: Between $65,077 and $97,104, with the top 10% of earners making over $113,000

With competitive salaries, job stability due to demand, highly after technical expertise, and the ability to achieve all of the above without needing a four-year degree, what's not to like about blue-collar careers?

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