10 Blue-Collar Jobs that Pay $100K

10 Blue-Collar Jobs That Pay $100K

There is a common misconception that blue-collar jobs come with a lower paycheck than other career options. However, not all high-paying jobs require a degree from a four-year university. While many of these positions require specialized training, you probably won’t need to take on student loans to afford them. They may demand a certain level of manual labor, but people are well compensated for filling these roles. So if you aren’t interested in pursuing a college career, here are 10 blue-collar jobs that can pay $100K or more.

10 Blue-Collar Jobs That Pay $100K+

Salaries can vary greatly depending on the company, location, and your personal experience and skillsets. However, many websites compare reported incomes from across the country to establish pay scales and the median salary for each position. The information used for this article is based on occupational employment and wage statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2021.

1. Air Traffic Controller

Landing a job as an air traffic controller comes with many benefits. While it can be a stressful job and demands your full concentration to ensure safe distances between aircraft to coordinate their movements, it will provide you with a comfortable living and great pay.

These positions will require a minimum of an associate’s degree if you want to be in the tower directing traffic. However, you will also continue to receive long-term training on the job as well. The median salary for air traffic controllers is $129,750, which breaks down to $62.38/hr. But, the broader range spans from $71,880 to $185,990.

2. Elevator and Escalator Installers/Repairers

Nearly every high-rise has an elevator for visitors and residents. Furthermore, many commercial properties depend on escalators to navigate their facilities. Although many of us enjoy these modern conveniences, you probably haven’t given much thought to who installs or maintains them.

You may be surprised to learn that this position ranks at the top of our list of blue-collar jobs that pay $100k. In 2021, the average salary for elevator and escalator installers and repairers was $97,860. However, those with more experience could take home up to $130,940 annually.

3. Nuclear Technician

Nuclear technicians play an important role in assisting physicists and engineers in electricity production activities. Power plants depend on having skilled technicians to oversee operations. Their job description includes an array of responsibilities including the operation, maintenance, and quality control of the testing and research equipment.

A job as a nuclear technician comes with a mean annual wage of $95,200. But those with more skills and experience can boost their income into the upper ranges and make closer to $126,600 a year.

4. Power Plant Operator

You don’t necessarily have to work in nuclear power to bring home a nice income. Power plant operators in other fields can also earn over $100k. Like those who work with nuclear energy, these operators must control, operate, and maintain the machinery that generates electric power.

While the median salary for a power plant operator is only $83,740, these positions may pay up to $110,590 for the right set of qualifications.

5. Firefighting/Fire Prevention Supervisor

Most people don’t think of firefighters when they talk about blue-collar jobs that pay $100K. But, overseeing fire prevention workers and firefighters in the field comes with a sizeable income. On the other hand, it also comes with significant risks.

Rookies need at least a high school diploma, but they can move up to a supervisor role with more training and on-the-job experience. First-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers can expect to take home a mid-range salary of $83,270. However, those in the 25th income percentile take home $100,350 and those in the top 10% earn up to $127,680.

6. Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists are responsible for helping patients who receive radiation treatment. While radiation can treat several illnesses, it primarily works with cancer patients.

Most hospitals and healthcare providers ask that you have an associate’s degree and a license or certification in the field. Once you obtain these, you can earn an average income of $82,790 while those at the top end of the scale can take home up to $128,550.

7. Postmaster/Mail Superintendent

Many people are drawn to civil service due to the job security, compensation, and benefits packages. And for those looking for a higher-paying government position, a postmaster is one of the blue-collar jobs that pay over $100k and usually only requires a high school degree. But, it will come with several responsibilities including coordinating and directing the operational, managerial, administrative, and support services within the U.S. Postal Service.

As a postmaster, you would receive a median salary of $81,820, but the higher end of the pay scale is closer to $99,000.

8. Electrical Power-Line Installer/Repairer

Those who like the outdoors or with their hands may enjoy working on electrical power lines as well as the salary that comes with it. However, you must also be aware of the unique dangers of working with high-voltage electricity. If you are okay with the risks and have a high school degree, you can get your foot in the door. But, it will also require extensive OJT to advance their career.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers earn an average annual income of $78,310, but there are people in the field who make up to $107,110 per year.

9. Farmer/Rancher

Some people prefer the solitude of country life and making a living off the land. If this sounds like you, choosing to become a farmer or rancher could provide the lifestyle you seek. And, it’s another blue-collar job that can pay more than $100k.

Usually, you only need a high school diploma and relevant work experience. The median salary for agricultural workers is about $78,440. However, it is possible to make up to $126,330 annually.

10. Police Officer/Detective

Working for the city government provides many benefits, including a comfortable salary. Plus, you can take satisfaction in a job where you protect the public and investigate crimes. If you are willing to put in your time with the department, then you have the potential to make some serious cash.

Keep in mind that there are certain age and training requirements, but some departments accept candidates with a high school diploma. The average wage for a police officer is $66,020, but those in districts with better funding can earn up to $105,540 a year.

Although blue-collar jobs may not be right for everyone, they can still provide a great salary. And, it could be the perfect option for those considering a career change. If you are stuck in a field you hate, then it may be time to look at other employment opportunities that won’t require an additional four-year degree.

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