5 blue-collar jobs that pay workers over $100,000 a year


A college education is still considered the best path to a successful and high-paying career, however, it isn’t the only path.

Rising tuition costs have led a lot of people to consider alternatives to a traditional four-year degree, especially if it means avoiding years of student loan payments.

Blue-collar jobs in industries such as construction, maintenance, warehousing and technical installation can provide some pretty solid salaries, as well as an opportunity for workers to develop specialized skills.

Blue-collar jobs with potential six-figure salaries

According to MarketWatch, workers in traditionally blue-collar jobs can end up making over $100,000 a year. While most of the jobs with potential six-figure salaries require some type of special training, getting those necessarily skills will cost you less than a bachelor’s degree from a traditional college or university.

In fact, The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed a 24-year-old welder who now earns $140,000 a year after attending a technical college in Waco, Texas. On top of that, the folks at the WSJ found that workers in these five other blue-collar jobs also have the potential to make over $100,000 a year:

  • Police officer: New York Police Department salaries can reach up to $131,000 a year, depending on rank and tenure.
  • Bartender: According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, bartenders only make about $18,000 in salary pay. But when you factor in tips, most bartenders bring home between $45,000 and $73,000 a year. And when in the right situation, many bring home more than $100,000 a year.
  • Contractors & construction managers: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pay for construction managers can range from $82,790 to $144,520. And this is a field in which special training/certifications/licensing may be required for certain projects.
  • Farmers & ranchers: Farmers can make up to nearly $120,000 a year, depending on their specialty and location. According to the BLS, farmers in California have the highest annual mean wage of all states in this industry — about $93,630 a year.
  • Oil rig workers: While some oil rig jobs require a bachelor’s or other degree, many don’t. In fact, some of the jobs that don’t require a degree can reach salaries of over $100,000 a year, depending on the specific role.

Other opportunities that don’t require a degree

There are also a lot of other traditionally blue-collar jobs that while they may not offer six-figure salaries, workers can bring home a pretty solid annual income.

Job site CareerTrends put together a list of the top-paying blue-collar jobs in the U.S. And while some can provide six-figure salaries, only occupations with at least 10,000 full-time employees were included on this particular list. Check it out below.

Top 20 highest-paying blue-collar jobs (with at least 10,000 full-time employees)

20. Production Supervisors: $52,271

19. Surveyors: $52,322

18. Avionics Technicians: $52,671

17. Electrical Engineering Technologists: $54,067

16. Subway Operators: $54,471

15. Petroleum Pump Operators: $54,492

14. Boilermakers: $54,942

13. Solar Energy Installation Managers: $55,598

12. Cartographers: $55,932

11. Mechanics Supervisors : $56,133

10. Aerospace engineering technicians: $58,961

9. Gas Plant Operator: $59,388

8. Landscape Architect: $60,696

7. Transportation Inspector: $62,018

6. Power Line Installer: $62,094

5. Power Plant Operator: $62,908

4. Water Vessel Captain: $63,032

3. Powerhouse Equipment Installer: $67,128

2. Elevator Installer: $68,792

1. Power Distributor: $73,446

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