10 top-paying US blue-collar jobs

The construction industry has seen better times, but there are still plenty of good-paying jobs for those who work with their hands.
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173Comments
Jun 20, 2012 5:58PM
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I'm a retired Union Field Construction Boilermaker. I started out going to welding school just to learn to weld to do work on my motorcylces. Found out I could make a good living at it anywhere in

the country, or overseas. I contuinally worked at it and practiced to be better and learn all the

current skills involved in the trades. Retired I make a pension that is as good as if I was working

at a 40 hour a week constuction job 50 weeks a year. You will never find that kind of a benefit any-

where else in the working world now days, as all other employers are taking away any benefits

paying less for more hours worked. Go to a trade school, learn industrial tech welding, pipe

fitting and any other mechanical work that you can. The opportunities are much better than they are for a college education. Many people I know who got a college degree ended up in the buliding trades and made better money at it. After getting a welding cert. from a tech school take

any welding job that comes up and continually look for a better welding job and go to the Trade

unions and apply for their appreticeships. The appreticeships continually add new appretices

to their rosters. If you try to be as good as you can be you will succeed. I put 35+ years in the trade and enjoyed it the whole time. I followed the advice of one of the first old timers I worked with. He told me to move around in the trade to learn everything I could about it.  rl

Jun 20, 2012 10:05PM
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Iv'e had 2 of the best jobs out there, and like most of them, if you build it the $$$$ will come. I'm a idiot, no I really am, its true , must be because my ex told me I was everyday, and she was never wrong, again she said that too.

 

But I was a comerical underwater welder for almost 6 yrs. I had a really bad accident with a 180 ton ship and the dock, when all was said and done I lost but I never gave up hope. Hope I could walk once again and second take care of my family. But it wouldn't grow anymore, due to the ship and dock and my insides.

 

After 3-4 yrs and 13 operations I am now a comerical pilot, no I really am ask my ex she can't even believe I was dumb enough to try and become one. I waited until she was re married before I told her because she thought I was laying around in my wheelchair getting fat and being a idiot. But to all the guys out there who had a wife like mine, they care about nothing but $$$ and so while I was laid up in the hospital yr after yr she devorsed my crippled **** to find another sugar daddy.

But really people if you see yourself doing what it is your passionate about really passionett then do it work really hard at it, dont follow all the other guys complaining they dont want to work they think they are worth so much more then they make, but just keep your eye on what you want to make of it, not what someone else said. You can make a lot of $$ just dont let anyone or anything stand in your way. Even f your a idiot like me !!!!

Jun 20, 2012 10:56PM
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All of you anti-union cheerleaders and the rest of the "Right to Work" slaves can bow down and lick the boots of your Republican masters. Have fun making minimum wage with no benefits. I'm in Arizona twice a week for my "union job" and after nearly 3 years of getting to know the locals I feel very sorry for them. They all work at least 3 part time jobs (if they are lucky, according to them) with no benefits just to scrape by. And they are all brainwashed hardcore Republican mannequins. Their mouths moving in synchronized mechanical-puppet fashion stating "Unions are bad for America". I'll remember that as I take 3 weeks of paid vacation and spend my "dirty union money" as I travel thru 5 states and boost the bottom line of their respective local economies.

Oh yeah, and while you are working your 3 part-time jobs with no days off... your Republican masters will be lounging by the pool and laughing (at you) as they tally their big profits via the latest pricey techno gadget (that you can't afford).

Unions built America. Protect the middle class or become slaves.
Jun 20, 2012 4:58PM
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Not surprising. all of these jobs require something that does not include knowledge of Shakespeare, biology, et.al. No college degree needed, just a desire to work hard for your pay, a concept that is little understood by the youth of today.
Jun 20, 2012 4:58PM
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These are the people that get things done, keep the infrastructure going. The white collar people may be the descision makers. The blue collar workers are the ones that get it done, and would be missed first,
Jun 14, 2012 8:30AM
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Only two of these Jobs do not require Higher education. How do they call that Blue Collar.
Jun 20, 2012 11:18PM
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I would love to hear why coal miners didn't make this list and why they are not at the top of the list at that. You don't get more Blue Collar than a Coal Miner and they make anywhere from $70,000-$90,000 per year when first hired. Talk about men who work hard, in dangerous conditions and make a lot of money! But, Obama doesn't like coal mining, coal miners or the families they work so hard to support so, it's not suprising that it was intentionally ignored.  
Jun 21, 2012 2:26AM
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future welder here, going to school, working minimum wage to get by. I can't believe all the bigotry and hate going around. It doesn't matter what political party affilation you are, whoever gets elected, they exploit the lower classes. politicians are the only people in their profession that campaign against problems and then do nothing to solve them and/or make them worse. they said when i was a child that anyone could become president.....well im starting to believe it.

Jun 20, 2012 7:26PM
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How do you actually go about landing one of these gigs?  Does anyone remember how clueless his guidance counselor in high school was?  They would never have suggested any of these jobs!  I doubt that they knew such jobs existed!  "Well, young man, based on your scores, I think maybe you should become a teacher!" LOL and WTF.  When I went to college, a liberal arts education was supposed to be the be all and end all sort of way to have it all.  I wish I had effing learned a trade instead as I wouldn't be in a deadend job today with no hopes of doing anything else at my age. 
Jun 20, 2012 5:08PM
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What a bunch of whiners. Get off your butt, go to a trade school and start at the low end and work your way up the pay scale like most of us 'blue collar' workers do. I've been an aviation mech for 25 yrs now and pull in 6 figures........go figure. Duh!
Jun 14, 2012 7:51PM
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Just Wondering, Is prostitution a White collar or a blue collar job ?
Jun 20, 2012 10:46PM
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And that shinking too as third world countries are learning from America's technology and business is outsourcing and selling out America.

All planned out. In early 1970’s both political parties endorsed and released “Workforce 2000” plans starting with the Fortune 500 companies. Workforce 2000 and NAFTA is Americas contribution to the new global economy. Jack Welch, then CEO of GE designed the model and the rest of the big leaguers followed in his foot steps. He started sending “Low Tech” devices like toasters and coffee makers over to get the farmers out of their fields. Look where they are today. I remember it well working for a large aerospace company in So. Cal.
We attended a four hour presentation on how America was going to change. We were to become a service oriented country. How labor intensive work was going to be out sourced. How Chinas average pay scale was a whopping .35 cents per day. The man hours it took us to build one large airplane would be an equivalent cost to the most expensive BMW motorcar. Were all our stock holder excited. The Demographics of America were also explained. Guess what? The Hispanic communities was going to be the major population in the LA basin area. That’s right. See where we are today. All part of the plan and don’t forget, all endorsed by both political parties. Then the whipshooding began. Jack Welch implemented a theme called, “Keeping the Ideas Coming”. Ref. March Fortune 500 article. With the threat, or inevitable loss of our jobs, he started a manipulation cooptation strategy to pick the employees brains and make them think they could compete and save their jobs/asses. The CEO’s, corporate leaders and politicians are raking in all the benefits.
So when I hear and read about this new economy BS, remember our government has it all under control. The part I have trouble with is if people are not working and or making half of what they use to make, income tax revenue will drop as well. How dose a tax system expect to sustain and pay for basic services, afford a healthcare program and frequent handouts to the world in trouble?
In 1992 United Auto Workers union, (UAW) predicted that only 4% of the American workers will be represented by a union. Police, fire services and a few more government jobs will be represented to show the world America is still labor friendly.
As Americans Change so to speak and our earning power diminishes Americans will eventually take what they can get. Just like other third world counties did. Its Americas turn to become the stepchild.
And now Obama has brought in Jeffrey Immelt CEO from GE. Immelt cut his teeth under Jack Welch and Harry Stonesypher. GE was the model corporation which has led to American’s loosing their jobs. And now a Muslim in charge of Homeland Security. Amazing how everything predicted is coming to pass.
Wal-Mart has become the new commissary to America.
Our future holds, “Beans, Blankets and Bullets.
Jun 20, 2012 10:48PM
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I selected a Blue Collar job after wasting my time in the Air Force playing a Fireman. Im a HVAC tech unemployed after 3 months with Sears. Going back to the Air Force but with the Reserves as my options have been limited. I feel better about having a real working mans job that allows me to see results of my labor at the end of the day.
Jun 21, 2012 2:54AM
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elevator mechanic here.... work for peanuts w no benefits non union.... your choice america... unions brought you the 40hr wk week to unemployment insurance to right to work states.... unions make us stronger.... isnt that what we are as a country? a union? omg you ignorant fkers.... we all want a better country... bring the jobs back here... isn't that been the story for the last 30 years? and get rid of all the illegals in this country.... maybe we can make the unemployment rate go down and take care of our own.... if the border patrol would do their job... but wait Obama wants to postpone immigration.... because its the "right thing to do"... what a fking idiot.... just another political stunt to get re-elected... thats what i smell!!!


Jun 22, 2012 2:49PM
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I've done Construction work for years, some Union, mostly independent contractor, and the wages typically for carpentry and concrete are  $ 30 to $ 40 per hour, although for many, the

wages have been pushed down to $ 12 to $ 20 per hour, ( non- union ) in recent years, with high unemployment.

    Ofcourse we are in a "Depression" now, and have been for 4 years.  I think the mininum wage

should now be $20 per hr. ( for any job )  There should also be a maximum wage , perhaps $100 per hour , which would give incentives and reward for increased skill, or knowledge., but reduce "economic inequality" , that has gotten worse and worse over the past thirty years.

      There is no excuse whatsoever for some people eating out of dumpsters , and many more very low paid, or unemployed, wjth the "Real unemployment rate over 20%,  and some making

millions of $ per year, many of which do nothing productive .

     The Debt  money System should also be abolished , along with the Federal Reserve as well as the crooked banking system as it now exists..   The Democrats are bad, but the Republi-CONS far worse.  If Mitt Rob- Money gets in , we will really see a horrible situation .

    The Tax Rates for the "Top 1%" , should go back up to 92% like they were durring the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations, and actually started with Roosevelt.   The  " Ray-Gun" era, really began the down hill spiral.  I could go on and on, but I know most people have the attention span of gerbils, so why bother ?!?

   

Jun 20, 2012 10:34PM
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Thats true. electrician here  and have worked in residential, commercial and industrial. Worked for Alcoa, Nissan North america, and now Transcanada and i still got dirty at all of them. LOL. But they all pay well and a man can support his family which is what really what counts! All paid more than i could have made with a degree in journalism which was what i started studying in college but completed trade school in 11 months in a 18 month course with very little student loan debt.

Jun 20, 2012 11:14PM
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union boilermaker here and i agree with trestlehed to an extent. i dont get into the politics side as much. but unions are the reason for many things non-union workers get such as, but not limited to, weekends off, time and a half over forty hours, sick leave, vacation time, and even pregnancy leave. all i ask is that people do some research before criticizing our trades. we make a living for our familes too. and we also have pensions and annuities. i'd say we are better prepared for retirement then most. and it aint the 30s, 40s, or 50s so dont play the "its all ran by and started by the mafia crap". spare me. oh, and there are many more boilermakers than what theyre saying. must be tallying non-union. and missouri isnt the highest paid. their scale is 32 and some change. california and chicago is over 40 an hour. again, this is union wage. not including insurance, annuity, pension, or vacation pay. then it becomes much more.
Jun 20, 2012 5:34PM
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I have been working for the RailRoad as a Signalman for 4 years now. I didn't know a thing about the RR when I was hired & I didn't know anyone in the field. I was hired based on a good interview and a good attitude towards safety. After 4 years, I make more than all of these jobs. There are still good paying jobs out there. You just have to look for the & actually apply!!
Jun 20, 2012 5:46PM
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Locomotive engineer here. Been with the railroad 15 years and my pay is more than all of the above.

 

New hires make more than 80% of the above mentioned/

Jun 20, 2012 11:31PM
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Total BS, I have both Nursing and IT degree. The reason there are so many graduates and the need, is people currently in these fields are capped out on slavery, I mean Salary.

They let VETS go for cheap young labor.

I could actually pay my bills if they would let me get paid for the overtime but of course, 40 percent of the overtime would go to taxes, medicaid, medicare and SSI. To bad I will never qualify to get any of these services.

Remember, democrats rule both of these feilds. Owners make millions while churning through staff.

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