Choosing a job can be tough, especially when so many different types exist. One term you might have heard is "blue-collar." But what does that mean? It goes back to the old days when many workers wore blue shirts to their jobs.
Blue-collar workers included jobs that needed their hands and often their strength. They are people like plumbers, electricians, and factory workers.
This article will tell you a lot about blue-collar jobs. We have a big list of over 47 types of these jobs to share with you. We'll also discuss other job types, like "white collar" and "pink collar." We'll discuss how robots and computers, part of AI, might change these jobs.
Lastly, we'll help you consider whether a blue-collar job could be a good fit for you. Blue-collar jobs might be worth considering if you like working with your hands, learning a specific skill, or earning good money without needing a four-year college degree.
What are blue-collar jobs?
Blue-collar jobs are usually about working with your hands. These jobs might be in construction, factories, farms, or fixing things. For example, a carpenter who builds things out of wood or a mechanic who repairs cars both have blue-collar jobs. These jobs are super important. Without them, we wouldn't have buildings to live in, roads to drive on, or food on our tables.
Some people think blue-collar jobs are only about manual work. But that's not true. Many blue-collar workers use special skills and knowledge. They might even go to special schools to learn their trade. So, next time you see someone working on a construction site or fixing things, remember they're doing an essential blue-collar job!
Blue-collar jobs are great career paths for people with social anxiety due to a lack of public-facing work. People who score high in conscientiousness on personality tests may also enjoy blue-collar jobs since many require attention to detail.
Why is it called "Blue Collar"?
The answer takes us back in time. In the early 1900s, many workers wore sturdy blue shirts or uniforms. Think about it: if you're working a job where there's a lot of dust, dirt, or grease, wearing blue makes sense. Why? Because blue hides dirt and stains well!
Now, imagine a factory worker or a mechanic. They would be moving around, lifting things, and maybe even getting messy. Their blue shirts would help them look cleaner throughout the day. Over time, these blue shirts became a symbol for hard-working folks who did manual or physical work.
That's how the term "blue collar" arose. It’s not really about the color of the shirt anymore but more about the kind of work being done. So, when you hear "blue collar," remember it's a nod to the past and those trusty blue shirts that workers used to wear!
The term “blue-collar” can carry some stigma, though this stigma isn’t always warranted. When the term was created, blue-collar workers tended to be from the low- or middle-economic class, so the term was sometimes used to refer to someone who was unsophisticated or uneducated. However, not all blue-collar jobs are low-income (many pay better than others!), and most require special skills and training. Indeed has a great article explaining why some feel it’s politically incorrect to label jobs as “blue collar” or “white collar,” along with the history of the terms.
1) Assembly Line Worker
Salary: $38,000 - 48,000 (source)
Assembly line workers are like the heartbeat of a factory. They keep things running smoothly by assembling parts to make a complete product, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle!
They might work with all sorts of things - cars, electronics, food products, you name it. But it's not just about making things. They also have to ensure that everything they produce meets quality standards so no faulty toys or half-assembled gadgets get shipped out.
You usually need a high school diploma or a GED to become an assembly line worker. Once you're in, the company will usually give you on-the-job training. This way, you learn about safety procedures and how to use the machinery and familiarize yourself with the assembly process.
Common Assembly Line Worker Employers:
- General Motors
- Procter & Gamble
2) Machine Operator
Salary: $34,000 - 43,000 (source)
A machine operator, as the name suggests, works with heavy machinery. Think of huge machines that bend metal, cut wood, or shape plastic! Machine operators operate these machines and set them up, troubleshoot problems, and perform basic maintenance. It's sort of like being both a pilot and a mechanic simultaneously. Safety is a huge part of their job because they're working with equipment that can be dangerous if not handled properly.
To become a machine operator, you typically need at least a high school diploma or GED. Some jobs might require specialized training or certification, which can be obtained through vocational schools or community colleges. Some companies offer apprenticeships where you learn while working. It's a good idea to have mechanical skills and problem-solving skills.
Some companies that employ machine operators include:
- General Electric
- Ford Motor Company
- Lockheed Martin
- Procter & Gamble
Salary: $34,000 - 43,000 (source)
A logger is like a superhero for trees! They work in the forests to cut down trees for lumber, which is used to make all kinds of things like houses, furniture, and paper. They operate heavy machinery to fell trees, cut them into logs, and transport them to a mill or lumberyard. They work outdoors in all types of weather. It can be tough but rewarding - imagine working among tall, beautiful trees daily!
To become a logger, you typically need a high school diploma or GED. Most of the training is done on the job under the guidance of experienced workers. This is where you learn about different types of trees, how to operate machinery like chainsaws and logging skidders, and how to stay safe on the job. Safety is super important because logging is one of the more dangerous jobs.
When it comes to fame, have you heard of the term "Paul Bunyan"? He's a mythical lumberjack figure in American folklore, known for his incredible strength and logging skills.
Several companies in the United States employ loggers. Some examples include:
- Weyerhaeuser Company
- Sierra Pacific Industries
- Rayonier Inc
4) Construction Worker
Salary: $35,000 - 45,000 (source)
Construction workers are amazing people who help build or repair buildings, roads, bridges, and more. Imagine all the cool skyscrapers and houses you see around you - well, construction workers had a big part in making those stand tall!
A construction worker’s daily tasks include anything from reading blueprints and using different tools and machinery to laying down bricks or concrete. Every day is different, and it's a job where you can see your hard work come to life.
If you're wondering what you need to become one, many construction jobs don't require a formal education, but having a high school diploma can be beneficial. Some workers also attend a trade or vocational school.
Important qualities for the job include physical strength and stamina because it's pretty hands-on! Some certificates, like the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) safety certification, are also helpful.
Companies that employ construction workers:
- Bechtel Corporation
- Fluor Corporation
- Turner Construction
Salary: $44,000 - 59,000 (source)
Bricklayers, sometimes called brick masons, have a specialized job where they work with bricks, concrete blocks, and other types of building materials to construct walls, fireplaces, and other structures. It's not just about stacking bricks! They must carefully measure, cut, and mix mortar (an adhesive that holds bricks together).
A day in the life of a bricklayer involves reading plans or blueprints, setting out the first row of bricks (this is super important for alignment), and then methodically building up, layer by layer. They also ensure that the structure is sturdy and waterproof. It's like building with LEGO, but on a much bigger and permanent scale.
So, want to be a bricklayer? Typically, a high school diploma or equivalent is good to have. Most bricklayers learn the trade through an apprenticeship, which combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction. There's also the chance to get certifications from groups like the International Masonry Institute, which can give you an edge in getting jobs.
Companies that often need bricklayers:
- Brasfield & Gorrie
- Masonry Arts
- Clark Construction
- PCL Construction Enterprises
Salary: $53,000 - 71,000 (source)
Carpenters have a versatile role in the world of construction. They work primarily with wood to build or repair structures and fixtures. Think of all those wooden frames of houses or beautiful wooden cabinets and furniture – that’s the handiwork of a carpenter!
A carpenter’s tasks might involve cutting, shaping, and installing building materials, creating frameworks for buildings, or even crafting intricate details in furniture. They use tools like hammers, saws, and drills, and they always have to be precise – after all, when you're building someone's home or a piece of furniture, every inch matters!
If you're considering becoming a carpenter, a high school diploma or equivalent is usually the starting point. Many carpenters learn through apprenticeships, which mix on-the-job training with classroom lessons. There are also technical schools that offer courses in carpentry. Certification, like with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, can also be a bonus when looking for jobs.
And guess what? Harrison Ford, the famous actor from "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones," was once a carpenter before making it big in Hollywood!
Companies that often hire carpenters:
- Whiting-Turner Contracting
- McCarthy Holdings
- Balfour Beatty
Salary: $35,000 - 48,000 (source)
Miners are courageous individuals who journey beneath the Earth's surface to extract valuable minerals, metals, and other resources. These might be things like coal, gold, diamonds, or rare earth elements used in our everyday electronics.
A typical day for a miner could involve drilling, blasting, and shoveling deep underground while ensuring safety is a top priority. They work in various environments, from deep coal to open-pit mines under the blazing sun. It's a tough job, but it's crucial for powering our world and providing materials for countless products.
Thinking about becoming a miner? The qualifications vary depending on the mining job and where you are in the world. Some mining jobs may require a high school diploma, while others might need specialized training or degrees in related fields.
Safety training is super important – certifications like the MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) training in the U.S. are essential for most mining jobs.
Companies that often employ miners:
- BHP Billiton
- Rio Tinto
Salary: $40,000 - 51,000 (source)
Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls, buildings, bridges, and other surfaces. Imagine walking into a room and feeling instantly brighter or cozier because of its color - that's the magic painters bring! While it might seem simple, a lot goes into it.
A painter's day could involve preparing surfaces (like filling holes or smoothing out walls), choosing the right paint, and then applying it smoothly and evenly. They work indoors and out, from decorating the interiors of homes to giving a fresh look to the exterior of buildings or even public art projects.
Thinking about diving into the world of painting? Usually, no formal education is needed to start as a painter, but some might attend technical schools or community colleges that offer courses in painting or apprenticeships.
A good eye for detail, steady hands, and knowledge about different paint types and techniques can be a big plus. Some certifications from groups like the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) can give you a professional edge.
Famous painter? How about Leonardo da Vinci? Though he's known for masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, remember he was also a practical painter, working on walls and other projects of his time.
Companies that often hire painters:
- PPG Industries
- Behr Paint Company
Salary: $42,000 - 51,000 (source)
Welders use intense heat to fuse metals. This could be in constructing buildings, bridges, cars, or spacecraft! Yep, welders are needed in many industries, from automotive to aerospace.
On a typical day, a welder will wear protective gear (safety first!), read blueprints or diagrams, and then use their welding tools to melt and join metal pieces together. They need a steady hand and a sharp eye to ensure everything aligns perfectly.
Thinking about becoming a welder? While some welders start with just a high school diploma, many attend technical schools to get a certificate in welding. It's a skill-based job, so the more practice and experience you have, the better! You can also earn various certifications, like from the American Welding Society, that can showcase your expertise and help you land better positions.
Here's a fun tidbit: Jesse James, known for his custom motorcycle builds on TV, is also a talented welder who's used his skills to craft some amazing bikes!
Companies that often hire welders:
- General Motors
- Caterpillar Inc.
- Bechtel Corporation
Salary: $34,000 - 43,000 (source)
Roofers are specialized workers who install and repair the roofs of buildings. Whether it's a home, an office, or a massive skyscraper, roofers have covered it! They work with various materials, from shingles and asphalt to metal and solar panels.
A day in the life of a roofer might include removing old roofing, inspecting for damage, and then carefully laying down new materials in layers to create a solid, waterproof barrier. They’re also the experts to call when a leak or a storm has done its worst.
Considering becoming a roofer? Many roofers learn their craft on the job, but some might go through formal apprenticeships that combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. No college degree is typically required, but having a good balance, physical fitness, and no fear of heights is a bonus! Some states in the U.S. might also require roofers to be licensed.
Companies that often hire roofers:
- CentiMark Corporation
- Baker Roofing Company
- Tecta America
- Nations Roof
Salary: $54,000 - 66,000 (source)
Longshoremen work at seaports, loading and unloading cargo from huge ships. Think of all the stuff you use daily - chances are some traveled overseas and were handled by a longshoreman before reaching you.
A longshoreman’s tasks include operating heavy machinery (like cranes), moving containers, and securing cargo on ships. It's a physically demanding job and can be hectic, given ships' tight schedules. But it's also vital; international trade would come to a standstill without these workers!
So, how can you become a longshoreman? Generally, a high school diploma or its equivalent is beneficial. But what's important is getting the necessary training, often provided by the hiring port or union. Some dockworkers might also need certifications for specific machinery, like cranes. Being physically fit and having a good sense of teamwork can be a big plus in this job.
While there aren't superstar celebrities known for their longshoreman background, the classic film "On the Waterfront" starring Marlon Brando offers a dramatic look into the world of dockworkers.
Companies and entities that often employ longshoremen:
- International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)
- International Longshoremen's Association (ILA)
- Ports like the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Houston, and Port of New York and New Jersey
- Major shipping companies, like Maersk and CMA CGM, indirectly through the ports they operate at
Salary: $36,000 - 50,000 (source)
Boilermakers assemble, install, and repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels holding liquids and gases. These boilers are used in industries for various purposes, from generating electricity to heating buildings.
A day for a boilermaker might involve reading blueprints, setting up parts, welding or bolting them together, and then doing inspections or repairs to ensure everything's running safely and efficiently. They might work at power plants, factories, or even on ships! It's an important job because many of our modern conveniences rely on boilermakers' work.
Considering joining the ranks of boilermakers? Well, a high school diploma or equivalent is a good start. Most boilermakers learn their trade through an apprenticeship program combining hands-on work with classroom learning. Knowing welding can be a huge advantage in this field, and you might also pursue certifications that showcase your skills and expertise.
Companies and entities that often employ boilermakers:
- The Babcock & Wilcox Company
- Bechtel Corporation
- Zachry Group
- CB&I (Chicago Bridge & Iron Company)
Salary: $71,000 - 87,000 (source)
Insulators install and replace materials used to insulate buildings and mechanical systems, helping to maintain appropriate temperatures and save energy. Imagine a hot cup of cocoa wrapped in a cozy blanket – that’s kind of what insulators do for buildings and equipment!
By keeping the heat or cold where it's supposed to be, insulators help us save on our energy bills and make our homes and offices more eco-friendly.
A day of an insulator might involve measuring and cutting insulating materials, reading blueprints, and ensuring that insulation is fitted snugly around ducts, pipes, or walls.
Thinking about diving into the world of insulation? A high school diploma or its equivalent can kickstart your path. Many insulators learn their craft on the job, but there are also formal apprenticeship programs that offer a mix of practical training and classroom instruction. Some specialized jobs might also require certifications in areas like asbestos or lead abatement.
Companies that often hire insulators:
- Owens Corning
- Johns Manville
- Knauf Insulation
Salary: $41,000 - 49,000 (source)
Riggers set up and repair equipment that's used to lift heavy objects. Think of giant cranes lifting steel beams or concert stages being set up with huge speakers - riggers play a big part in these tasks! They attach loads to cranes using slings, chains, or cables, ensuring everything's balanced and safe.
A rigger’s day can involve a lot of planning because lifting heavy things can be dangerous if not done right. They might be reading blueprints, calculating weights, and ensuring all equipment is in top shape.
Considering joining the ranks of riggers? A high school diploma or equivalent can get you started. Many riggers learn through on-the-job training, but formal courses and certifications are also available. For example, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) offers a rigger certification recognized everywhere.
Companies that often hire riggers:
- Barnhart Crane & Rigging
- Bechtel Corporation
- Sterett Crane & Rigging
15) Truck Driver
Salary: $38,000 - 49,000 (source)
Truck drivers transport goods all over the country and sometimes even across borders. They drive big rigs, hauling everything from food to furniture, electronics to animals. Imagine all the stuff you use and eat daily - a truck driver probably played a part in getting it to you!
A typical day might include checking their vehicle, planning their route, driving for several hours, and loading or unloading goods. They must be alert, good with time management, and skilled at handling their large vehicles in all weather and traffic conditions.
Considering taking the driver's seat? You'll need a special CDL (Commercial Driver's License), which requires you to pass written and on-the-road tests. Some schools offer training for this. You might need additional certifications depending on what you'll be transporting (like hazardous materials).
Ever heard of Ice Road Truckers? It's a TV show where truck drivers navigate some of the world’s most dangerous roads. Talk about adventure!
Companies that often hire truck drivers:
- J.B. Hunt Transport Services
- Schneider National
- Swift Transportation
- YRC Worldwide
16) Railroad Conductor
Salary: $66,000 -89,000 (source)
Railroad Conductors wear a few different hats. They're in charge of train operations and ensuring passengers and cargo get where they're going safely and on time.
A conductor’s day can include checking tickets, announcing stations, coordinating with engineers, and overseeing the loading and unloading of freight or cargo. They also handle any on-train emergencies and communicate with control centers about delays or issues. So, it's a mix of ensuring safety, managing operations, and providing customer service.
Thinking of climbing aboard this career? Typically, you'd start as a train crew member and work your way up. While a high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required, many rail companies offer training programs for conductors. Once you complete training, you might need to pass a licensing exam, depending on your location.
Companies that often hire railroad conductors:
- Union Pacific Railroad
- BNSF Railway
- Norfolk Southern Corporation
- CSX Transportation
17) Bus Driver
Salary: $36,000 - 49,000 (source)
Bus drivers, as you might guess, drive buses! But it's more than just turning the wheel. They ensure that passengers arrive safely to their destinations, whether kids going to school, commuters heading to work, or tourists exploring a city.
A typical day might start with inspecting the bus to ensure it's safe to drive. Then, they follow a set route, stop at designated places, and keep a strict timetable. They're also the ones making sure passengers follow the rules, and they handle any issues or emergencies on the bus. And, of course, they need to navigate traffic and weather conditions while keeping cool.
Want to get behind the wheel? A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually required, and then you'll need special training, which the hiring company or a driving school can often provide. Most importantly, you'll need a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with a passenger endorsement to drive a bus legally.
Companies and entities that often hire bus drivers:
- FirstGroup (which operates First Student for school buses)
- Local city public transportation agencies (like New York's MTA or San Francisco's Muni)
- Tour and charter bus companies
18) Commercial Ship Operator
Salary: $55,000 - 82,000 (source)
Commercial Ship Operators (often called Ship Captains or Master Mariners) have a big responsibility. They're in command of entire vessels! Their main job is to ensure the safety of the crew, the ship, and its cargo. They navigate through open waters, handle emergencies onboard, and ensure the ship sticks to its schedule.
Ship Captains also communicate with port officials, check weather reports, and decide the ship's course and speed. It's not just about driving; a captain's role includes a blend of leadership, navigation skills, and knowledge about maritime laws.
Thinking of setting sail in this career? Well, it’s a journey! You'll typically start with a degree from a maritime academy and then spend years gaining experience as a deck officer. You'll also need to earn various certifications and licenses, like the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) endorsement, which is recognized internationally.
One of the most famous ship captains in history is Captain Edward J. Smith of the Titanic. Though his tale had a tragic end, it serves as a reminder of the significant responsibilities of ship operators.
Companies and entities that often employ Commercial Ship Operators:
- Maersk Line
- Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
- COSCO Shipping Corporation
- Carnival Cruise Line (for those operating passenger ships)
Salary: $47,000 - 82,000 (source)
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical systems. Electricians are on the job, whether wiring up a brand-new house, fixing a factory’s machinery, or ensuring that a massive skyscraper has working elevators.
The tasks of an electrician include reading blueprints, troubleshooting problems, and ensuring everything’s up to code. It's super important to be safe; electricity is powerful stuff, after all.
A day might involve bending conduit, installing fixtures, or even teaching homeowners how to use their new systems.
If you’re thinking of lighting up this career path, you’ll typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and then dive into an apprenticeship program. This combines classroom learning with on-the-job training. Once you’ve learned the ropes, you’ll need to get licensed in your state or locality, which usually means passing an exam.
Benjamin Franklin is often (incorrectly) associated with electricity thanks to his kite experiment – but remember, he wasn’t exactly practicing safe methods!
Companies that often hire electricians:
- General Electric (GE)
- Electrical contractors and construction firms
- Local utility companies
Salary: $37,000 - 49,000 (source)
Plumbers install and repair piping systems in homes, factories, and businesses. Think of them when you shower, flush the toilet, or wash your hands. They're the pros ensuring water comes in, waste goes out, and no unwanted leaks!
A plumber’s day can include reading blueprints, installing new fixtures, diagnosing problems, or even rescuing a treasured item accidentally dropped down a drain. They use many cool tools and need to know about different types of pipes and systems.
Want to take the plunge into plumbing? Typically, you'd start with a high school diploma or equivalent and then enter into an apprenticeship program. This lets you learn the trade while getting hands-on experience. Once you've got the skills down, you'll often need to get licensed, which can involve passing an exam, depending on where you live.
From the famous video game series "Super Mario Bros.," Mario is probably the most iconic plumber we can think of, though his adventures go way beyond fixing pipes!
Companies that often hire plumbers:
- Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
- Local plumbing contractors and businesses
- Home improvement stores offering installation services
21) Aircraft Mechanic
Salary: $48,000 - 63,000 (source)
Aircraft Mechanics (sometimes called Aircraft Maintenance Technicians) play a pivotal role in the aviation industry. Their main mission? Keeping airplanes in tip-top shape. They inspect, repair, and maintain aircraft from the smallest propeller plane to the largest jumbo jet.
Their work involves checking engines, landing gear, instruments, and everything else to ensure it's all working perfectly. If there’s a problem mid-flight, these mechanics get to be real-life detectives to figure out what went wrong once the plane lands safely.
Considering joining the ranks of these skyward mechanics? Typically, you'd need to graduate from an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school, and then you'd need to get certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This involves passing a series of tests to ensure you know your stuff.
Companies that often hire aircraft mechanics:
- Delta Air Lines
- American Airlines
- United Technologies Corporation (for those into aircraft components)
22) Vehicle Mechanic
Salary: $35,000 - 47,000 (source)
Vehicle Mechanics diagnose, repair, and maintain all kinds of automobiles. Whether changing the oil, fixing a brake issue, or diagnosing a mysterious sound under the hood, they've covered it. A day in their life might involve using high-tech diagnostic tools, replacing worn-out parts, or giving vehicles thorough inspections. It's a mix of hands-on work and problem-solving; every car or issue can be a unique puzzle.
Thinking of getting under the hood of this career? To start, a high school diploma or equivalent is often required. Then, many mechanics go through vocational or post-secondary training programs. And while it's not always mandatory, getting certified by organizations like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) can rev up your job prospects.
Companies that often hire vehicle mechanics:
- Ford Motor Company
- General Motors (GM)
- Bridgestone (for those focusing on tires and services)
- Local dealerships and independent auto repair shops
23) Solar Technician
Salary: $52,000 - 72,000 (source)
Solar Technicians, sometimes called Solar Panel Installers or Solar PV Installers, play a key role in setting up and maintaining solar energy systems. These systems turn sunlight into electricity (cool, right?).
A typical day might involve measuring and cutting panels to fit, installing solar modules on roofs or other structures, and connecting the systems to the electrical grid. They also troubleshoot problems and ensure everything's running efficiently.
As our world focuses more on renewable energy, the role of solar technicians is becoming even more crucial.
Thinking of shining in this field? While a high school diploma or equivalent is a common starting point, many technicians also go through specialized training programs or apprenticeships. You might also consider certifications from organizations like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) to brighten your career prospects.
Companies that often hire solar technicians:
- Tesla (especially their Solar division)
- Vivint Solar
- First Solar
24) Wind Turbine Technician
Salary: $43,000 - 52,000 (source)
Wind Turbine Technicians, often called Wind Techs, are in charge of installing, maintaining, and repairing wind turbines. Imagine climbing high to ensure these massive structures are turning wind into energy efficiently!
A day for a wind tech could involve inspecting turbine components, diagnosing issues using specialized equipment, or even rappelling outside a turbine for repairs. It's a job for those who aren’t afraid of heights and love a good view.
Thinking this might be the career you're "blown away" by? A high school diploma or equivalent is usually the first step. Many techs also attend technical or community colleges offering wind energy technology programs. Once you're trained safety certifications and on-the-job training are key parts of the journey once you're trained.
Companies that often hire wind turbine technicians:
- General Electric (GE) Renewable Energy
- Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy
25) Electrical Engineer
Salary: $72,000 - 175,000 (source)
Electrical Engineers work on a huge variety of projects. They might design new ways to distribute power in cities, create teeny tiny circuits for smartphones, or even develop systems for huge spacecraft.
An electrical engineer’s days involve drawing designs, testing prototypes, or collaborating with other engineers and professionals. These engineers are often the brains behind the tech and systems that power our daily lives, from the lights in our homes to the phones in our pockets.
Thinking of powering up a career in this direction? To become an electrical engineer, you'd typically need a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or a related field. Depending on the job, a state license might also be required, which means passing a professional engineering (PE) exam.
While the world of fiction and movies may not have a poster-child electrical engineer, in real life, folks like Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were pioneers in electrical engineering.
Companies that often hire electrical engineers:
- Texas Instruments
- General Electric (GE)
- Lockheed Martin
26) Flooring Installer
Salary: $40,000 - 60,000 (source)
Flooring Installers specialize in putting in different types of flooring, like hardwood, carpet, tile, or laminate. Imagine taking a bare room and giving it a beautiful new floor that completely changes how it looks and feels!
A typical day might involve measuring and cutting flooring materials, prepping the base (like smoothing out a concrete floor), and then meticulously laying down the new floor. They need a keen eye for detail, especially regarding patterns or aligning tiles just right.
Thinking of stepping into this line of work? Generally, you'd start with a high school diploma or equivalent, and many installers learn their craft on the job. Some might also learn through apprenticeships. Depending on the type of flooring and where you're working, certifications might be available that can boost your expertise and job prospects.
Companies that often hire flooring installers:
- Mohawk Industries
- Shaw Floors
- Armstrong Flooring
Salary: $39,000 - 59,000 (source)
Farmers work with Mother Nature to produce food and sometimes even fibers (like cotton).
Depending on their specialization, a farmer's day might involve planting seeds, watering crops, caring for animals, or harvesting produce. They're often up with the sun, ensuring their crops and livestock are healthy and thriving. Farmers play a crucial role in getting food to our tables, from gigantic wheat fields to smaller organic vegetable patches.
Thinking of growing your career on a farm? While formal education isn't always necessary, many modern farmers benefit from degrees in agriculture, business, or related fields. With farming becoming more tech-savvy, courses in agricultural technology can also be helpful.
On top of that, experience and hands-on learning are vital—many farmers learn by working on family farms or through apprenticeships.
While farmers might not be regular Hollywood celebs, Jeremy Clarkson recently gained a big audience with his show, “Clarkson's Farm.”
Companies (or groups) often associated with farming:
- John Deere (for farming equipment)
- Monsanto (now part of Bayer)
- Local cooperatives and farm associations
Salary: $55,000 - 68,000 (source)
Fishermen spend much of their time at sea, sometimes for weeks, hunting for fish and seafood.
Their days (and nights) involve navigating boats, setting up nets or lines, hauling in catches, and sorting and storing the seafood.
Whether they're chasing after tuna, trapping lobsters, or reeling in salmon, it's all about understanding the water, weather, and the creatures that live beneath the waves. The job can be physically demanding and a bit unpredictable, given the nature of the sea and its inhabitants.
Want to dive into this line of work? While there aren't strict educational requirements, it's beneficial to have training in navigation, marine safety, and fishing techniques. Many fishermen learn the ropes by starting as deckhands on larger vessels and gradually gaining experience. Certifications in first aid and safety can also be a big plus.
The fishermen might not always be household names in terms of fame, but shows like "Deadliest Catch" have showcased the high-risk, high-reward world of deep-sea fishing.
Companies and places often associated with fishing:
- Major fishing ports like Kodiak and Dutch Harbor in Alaska.
- Bumble Bee Seafoods
- Trident Seafoods
Salary: $48,000 - 65,000 (source)
Ranchers are all about raising livestock. That could be cattle, sheep, goats, or even horses.
Their days are often long and filled with a mix of tasks: feeding the animals, checking on their health, mending fences, and sometimes, during certain seasons, helping animals give birth or shearing sheep. And yes, there might be some lassoing and horseback riding involved!
Ranchers are deeply connected to the land and the animals, ensuring they have the best environment to thrive.
Considering a gallop into ranching? There's no strict diploma to become a rancher, but knowledge of animal husbandry, agriculture, and business can be helpful. Many ranchers grow up on family ranches, learning from elders. There are also agricultural schools and programs that can give you a solid foundation in ranching.
When it comes to fame, while many ranchers might prefer the quiet life away from the spotlight, there have been iconic figures like the American frontierswoman Calamity Jane who embodied the spirit of the Wild West.
Places and associations often connected to ranching:
- Local and regional cattle and sheep associations
- The National Cattlemen's Beef Association
- Ranches like King Ranch in Texas
- Various dude ranches that combine working ranch elements with tourism
30) Farm Laborer
Salary: $28,000 - 34,000 (source)
Farm Laborers do many hands-on tasks that make a farm tick. Depending on the type of farm, their day might involve planting seeds, watering crops, picking fruits, weeding, or even helping with farm animals.
Farm Laborers are often outdoors, feeling the sun, the rain, and sometimes the mud on their skin. These hardworking folks ensure crops are grown, harvested, and packed properly.
Looking to plant your roots in this line of work? You don't typically need a formal education to start as a farm laborer. What's super important is physical stamina and a willingness to learn. Some farms might offer on-the-job training; if you're looking to move up or specialize, some agricultural programs and courses can be beneficial.
Places and groups often associated with farm labor:
- Local family-owned farms
- Large agricultural companies
- Agricultural cooperatives
- Farm labor unions and organizations that advocate for laborer rights
Salary: $32,000 - 36,000 (source)
Butchers handle, trim, and cut meats, whether beef, chicken, pork, or lamb. They use a range of tools like knives, saws, and grinders.
A day in life might involve breaking down a whole animal, crafting steaks to perfection, making ground meat, or even preparing specialty items like sausages. It's not just about cutting; it's about understanding different cuts and how they're best used in cooking. And hey, they're also a great source of cooking tips!
Want to slice into this profession? Typically, butchers start with on-the-job training, learning the ropes from more experienced professionals. As you gain experience, you can also get certifications to showcase your skills. Some butchers might go to trade schools or take meat science or culinary arts courses.
Ever heard of Dario Cecchini? He's an internationally known butcher from Italy who's almost like a meat celebrity!
Places that often hire butchers:
- Local grocery stores
- Specialty meat shops
- Supermarkets like Whole Foods
- Slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities
Salary: $21,000 - 26,000 (source)
Janitors are all about keeping buildings spick and span. From schools and offices to malls and hospitals, they ensure the floors are shiny, the bathrooms are fresh, and everything's in its place.
A day in their life might involve sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, emptying trash bins, and even some light maintenance tasks like changing light bulbs. It's not just about cleaning; it's about creating a healthy environment for everyone.
Want to polish up your career as a janitor? In most cases, you don't need any formal education to start. What's more important is a good work ethic and attention to detail. Over time, janitors can get certifications or take courses on advanced cleaning techniques or equipment. Some may even move up to supervisory roles or specialize in certain types of cleaning.
Places that often hire janitors:
- Schools and universities
- Office buildings
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities
- Shopping centers and malls
- Property management companies
33) Sanitation Worker
Salary: $33,000 - 42,000 (source)
Sanitation Workers are the champions behind waste collection. Their main task? Picking up and disposing trash, recyclables, and sometimes yard waste from homes, businesses, and public places.
Rain or shine, they're out there with their trusty garbage trucks, ensuring our waste arrives at landfills, recycling centers, or compost sites. But it's not just about collecting; they also operate the equipment and vehicles, ensuring safety protocols are always followed.
Jumping into this profession is pretty straightforward. You typically don't need a college degree to start, but a high school diploma or GED can be helpful. Training is often provided on the job, especially regarding operating equipment or handling hazardous materials. Some positions might require a commercial driver's license, especially if you drive big trucks.
Places and companies that often hire Sanitation Workers:
- City or municipal waste departments
- Private waste collection companies like Waste Management or Republic Services
- Recycling centers
- Landfills and compost facilities
Salary: $29,000 - 36,000 (source)
Landscapers design, create, and maintain outdoor spaces. They plant trees, flowers, and shrubs; lay down sod or grass seeds; and even install features like fountains, pathways, or rock formations.
Their job isn't just about making things pretty, though. They need to know which plants will thrive in certain soils or climates, how to prevent erosion, and even how to set up irrigation systems. Every day can be different, from designing a new garden layout to trimming hedges or mowing lawns.
You often don't need a formal degree to branch out into landscaping. Many landscapers start with on-the-job training or working as an assistant. However, if you're looking to design complex projects or start your own business, courses in horticulture, landscape design, or even a certification might be handy.
Places often in need of landscapers:
- Local landscaping companies
- Garden centers or nurseries
- Property management firms
- Parks and Recreation departments
- Golf courses
35) Recycling Coordinator
Salary: $52,000 - 62,000 (source)
Recycling Coordinators are all about managing and improving recycling programs. Their job involves a lot more than just sorting paper from plastic. They oversee recycling collections, work with local communities to raise awareness about the importance of recycling, and ensure that the recycling process is as efficient as possible.
They might also work on setting up new programs, finding better ways to handle different materials, or even educating schools and businesses about recycling best practices.
To dive into this eco-friendly role, you'd usually need a bachelor's degree in environmental science, sustainability, or a related field. Knowledge about waste management and recycling processes is a must. The role can involve hands-on work, education, and even some policy-making, so good communication skills and a passion for the environment are super important.
Places where you'd find Recycling Coordinators:
- City or county waste management departments
- Recycling centers or facilities
- Environmental non-profit organizations
- Large corporations with sustainability goals
- Colleges or universities
36) City Maintenance Worker
Salary: $31,000 - 38,000 (source)
City Maintenance Workers wear many hats (or helmets!). On any given day, they might be fixing a broken bench in a park, replacing street lights, patching up potholes, or clearing leaves and debris from public spaces.
They're why our fountains keep flowing, playgrounds remain safe, and streets are tip-top. They are vital for ensuring our cities and towns are safe, clean, and running smoothly.
Breaking into this line of work usually doesn’t require a university degree, but a high school diploma or GED is often beneficial. What's super important is a willingness to learn, physical fitness, and perhaps some experience or training in various handy tasks, whether basic carpentry, electrical work, or landscaping.
Some specialized roles might need certifications, especially if you're working with machinery or handling more complex tasks.
Places where City Maintenance Workers are usually employed:
- Local city or town governments
- Parks and Recreation departments
- Public works departments
- Transportation or road departments
- City utilities departments
37) Pest Control Technician
Salary: $27,000 - 41,000 (source)
Pest Control Technicians are the brave souls that help us combat unwanted pests like cockroaches, termites, rodents, and more. Their main gig? Safely and efficiently removing or preventing pests in homes, businesses, and outdoor areas.
Pest Control Techs inspect spaces for signs of infestations, decide on the best treatment method, and then execute their plan, which might include setting traps, applying chemicals, or giving advice on prevention. It's not just about getting rid of pests; it's also about ensuring the methods used are safe for the occupants and the environment.
Diving into this profession typically requires a high school diploma or GED. Then, you'd usually undergo on-the-job training; in many places, you'd need to get a license. This often means passing an exam on pest control procedures and pesticide use. Some technicians even go on to specialize in specific pests or environments.
Companies and places that often hire Pest Control Technicians:
- Local pest control businesses
- National chains like Orkin or Terminix
- Property management companies
- Hotels and hospitality businesses
Salary: $26,000 - 32,000 (source)
Maids, sometimes called housekeepers, work hard to ensure homes, hotels, and even offices shine and sparkle.
A maid’s typical day might involve vacuuming, dusting, mopping, changing linens, and scrubbing bathrooms. Beyond the daily tasks, they might do deeper cleans like washing windows, laundry, or even organizing spaces.
They're experts at spotting the tiniest of dirt specks and ensuring everything is in its place. A keen eye for detail and a love for cleanliness are key traits here!
You usually don't need formal education to step into the world of cleaning and tidying. But, training on the job is essential to learn the best techniques and tricks of the trade. Some might get certifications from associations like the International Executive Housekeepers Association to advance in their careers.
Places that frequently hire maids or housekeepers:
- Hotels and resorts, like Marriott, Hilton, or Holiday Inn
- Cleaning services like Molly Maid or Merry Maids
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities
- Private homes and estates
Salary: $26,000 - 34,000 (source)
Waitstaff interacts directly with customers, taking their orders, answering questions about the menu, and offering suggestions for drinks or dishes. Their job doesn’t just stop at taking orders; they're responsible for ensuring meals are served correctly and promptly, addressing any issues or concerns, and processing payments at the end of the meal.
This job requires good memory, multitasking, patience, and excellent people skills. A positive attitude and a friendly smile can go a long way!
Formal education isn't always required to become a part of the waitstaff, but experience can be a plus. Training is typically provided on the job, where newcomers learn the ropes, from understanding the menu to handling difficult customers.
Some upscale restaurants might require waitstaff to know wines or gourmet dishes; in those cases, taking classes or gaining certifications can be beneficial.
Even though waitstaff may not always make headlines, some famous personalities started their careers waiting tables. For example, Jennifer Aniston and Chris Pratt once worked as servers before they hit it big in Hollywood.
Places that commonly hire waitstaff:
- Local diners and cafes
- Chain restaurants like Olive Garden, Applebee's, or Denny's
- Upscale dining establishments
- Hotels and resorts
Salary: $22,000 - 26,000 (source)
Baristas are more than just coffee servers. They're trained to understand the nuances of different coffee beans, the right brewing methods, and even the art of latte designs.
On a typical day, they grind coffee beans, steam milk, and whip up various coffee and tea drinks while maintaining a clean work environment. It's not just about making the drink but also about presentation and serving with a personal touch. Engaging with customers, recommending drinks, and sometimes remembering regulars' favorite orders are all part of the job.
While there's no formal education required to become a barista, on-the-job training is crucial. New baristas often learn about the different types of coffee beans, brewing techniques, and the proper use of coffee machines.
Over time, baristas might even participate in coffee tastings or "cuppings" to refine their palate. And for those passionate about the craft, organizations like the Specialty Coffee Association offer certifications and courses.
Some renowned coffee places where baristas work include:
- Local coffee shops and cafes
- Chain coffeehouses like Starbucks, Dunkin', or Peet’s Coffee
- Hotels and resorts that offer specialty coffees
- Upscale restaurants with coffee service
Salary: $19,000 - 26,000 (source)
Note: Through tips, bartenders can earn a lot more by working at high-class bars.
A bartender's responsibilities are multifaceted. While making and serving drinks is a huge part of the job, they must ensure the bar is well-stocked, manage cash transactions, and sometimes even handle rowdy customers.
Beyond the mechanics of mixing drinks, being a good listener and having a friendly demeanor can make all the difference. After all, many people love to share stories or chat with their bartender.
You don’t always need formal education to get started as a bartender. However, many novices benefit from attending bartending schools where they learn the basics of mixology, cocktail recipes, and effective customer service.
Some regions also require bartenders to complete responsible service of alcohol training, ensuring they know when to refuse service to overly intoxicated patrons. As with many roles, experience can often be the best teacher, and many bartenders start as barbacks (assistants to bartenders) to learn the ropes.
Celebrities like Bruce Willis and Ellen Barkin once worked as bartenders before making it big in their careers.
Popular venues where bartenders ply their craft:
- Local pubs and bars
- Nightclubs and music venues
- Hotels and resorts with bars or lounges
- Restaurants that offer a range of beverages
Salary: $43,000 - 59,000 (source)
At the core of a chef's role is food preparation. But it's so much more than just cooking. Chefs plan menus, source quality ingredients, ensure food safety standards are met, and often manage kitchen staff.
Depending on the setting, a chef might also present dishes in aesthetically pleasing ways, especially in fine dining establishments. There are also different types of chefs, like pastry chefs specializing in desserts or sous chefs acting as the kitchen's second-in-command.
Becoming a chef usually involves a mix of formal education and hands-on experience. Many chefs attend culinary schools where they learn cooking techniques, food science, and presentation skills. However, some opt for the direct route, starting in lower-level kitchen roles and climbing up the ladder through experience and mentorship. The passion for food and a relentless drive to learn and improve is essential regardless of the path.
Did you know? Julia Child, Gordon Ramsay, and Anthony Bourdain are just a few of the many renowned figures in the world of culinary arts. Their talent, creativity, and charisma have inspired countless others to explore the magic of cooking.
Common places where chefs showcase their culinary skills:
- Restaurants, from local eateries to upscale dining spots
- Hotels and resorts
- Catering businesses
- Cruise ships
43) Delivery Driver
Salary: $37,000 - 48,000 (source)
Delivery drivers are the unsung heroes ensuring that packages, food, or other goods reach our doorsteps safely and on time. Whether it's the latest gadget you ordered online or a hot pizza for Friday night, a delivery driver plays a crucial role in getting it to you.
So, what does a day in the life of a delivery driver look like? They start by loading their vehicle with the items to be delivered for the day. This could be anything from parcels at a postal service to pizzas at a restaurant.
Once on the road, they use navigation tools and their knowledge of local routes to make timely deliveries. Along the way, they often interact with customers, collecting payments or signatures and ensuring goods are handed over perfectly. Safety is paramount, so a good delivery driver is always attentive and cautious while driving.
To become a delivery driver, you generally don't need a college degree, but a valid driver's license is essential. For some larger vehicles or specialized deliveries, additional certifications might be required. Good navigational skills, a sense of responsibility, and a pleasant demeanor can make you stand out in this job.
Some popular companies and sectors employing delivery drivers include:
- Parcel and mail services like FedEx, UPS, and USPS
- Food delivery platforms like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub
- Grocery delivery services
- Local businesses offering home deliveries
44) Deep Sea Diver
Salary: $44,000 - 65,000 (source)
Deep sea divers are the adventurers who plunge into the ocean's mysteries, experiencing a world many of us can only dream of. It's not just about the thrill of diving; these professionals often have crucial roles in research, underwater construction, and salvage operations.
A deep sea diver's daily tasks could vary widely based on their specialization. Some divers work in offshore oil and gas industries, inspecting, maintaining, and repairing underwater pipelines and infrastructure. Others might be involved in marine research, collecting samples from the ocean floor, documenting marine life, or exploring underwater caves.
Then there are salvage divers, who recover lost items or sunken ships from the ocean's depths. It's a job that requires physical fitness, mental resilience, and a profound respect for the ocean's power.
You'll need specialized training to embark on a career as a deep-sea diver. Diving schools offer courses in commercial diving, where you learn about safety protocols, underwater welding, rigging, and more.
Certification from recognized diving organizations, such as the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or the Association of Commercial Diving Educators (ACDE), can be vital. Advanced roles might require even more specialized training, like saturation diving, for those working in deep-water environments.
Some sectors and companies that require the expertise of deep-sea divers:
- Offshore oil and gas companies
- Marine research organizations and universities
- Underwater construction firms
- Salvage and recovery companies
Salary: $23,000 - 35,000 (source)
Hairdressers, sometimes called hairstylists, are the creative artists who make sure our locks look lovely. Whether it's a simple trim, a bold new color, or an intricate updo for a special occasion, they can transform hair into a style statement.
A typical day for a hairdresser involves interacting with clients, understanding their hair needs, and offering suggestions based on current trends or what would best suit the client. Beyond cutting, coloring, and styling, hairdressers also offer treatments to enhance hair health, such as deep conditioning or keratin treatments.
A significant part of the job is keeping their workspace clean, ensuring tools are sanitized, and staying updated with the latest hair care and styling techniques.
To become a professional hairdresser, one attends a cosmetology school where they learn about hair cutting, coloring, styling, and general hair care. After completing their course, they typically need to obtain a license from a state or regulatory body, which might require passing an exam. Besides the technical skills, being a good listener, having patience, and possessing a flair for creativity can make a world of difference in this career.
Some renowned figures in the hairstyling world include Vidal Sassoon and Jen Atkin, who have transformed the tresses of many celebrities and influenced hair trends globally.
Places where hairdressers often showcase their talents:
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Beauty spas that offer hair services
- Hotels and resorts with beauty amenities
- Hairdressing academies or schools
Salary: $34,000 - 44,000 (source)
Aestheticians, sometimes known as estheticians in certain places, are the skincare experts we turn to when we want our skin to glow. They're trained to understand skin types, conditions, and the best treatments to ensure our skin is healthy and radiant.
A day in an aesthetician's life could involve various tasks. They might start with a consultation, examining a client's skin to understand its needs and discuss the best treatments or products. Treatments can range from facials, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion to specialized procedures like laser treatments or microblading.
Besides treatments, aestheticians guide daily skincare routines, helping clients make informed choices about products and practices.
If you're interested in this career, you must attend an esthetics or cosmetology program. These programs cover skin anatomy, skincare treatments, makeup application, and sometimes even touch on other areas like basic massage techniques or hair removal. After completing their training, aestheticians must typically become licensed, which often involves passing a state or regulatory examination.
Places where aestheticians work their magic:
- Day spas or beauty spas
- Dermatology clinics or medical spas
- Salons that offer skincare services
- Cosmetic or skincare retail stores offering specialized treatments
Salary: $44,000 - 59,000 (source)
Masseuses, more commonly referred to as massage therapists, are the skilled professionals we turn to when our muscles are knotted or need some relaxation. They use their hands (and sometimes elbows, forearms, or even feet) to knead away tension, improve circulation, and promote overall wellness.
On a typical day, a massage therapist will consult clients about what they want – relief from a specific pain, general relaxation, or another therapeutic need. Then, they use various techniques, from Swedish and deep-tissue massages to more specialized modalities like Shiatsu or hot stone therapy.
It's not just about physical strength; a good massage therapist must also understand human anatomy, be attentive to a client's needs, and create a calming environment.
Becoming a massage therapist requires formal training. Most therapists attend post-secondary institutions that offer programs in massage therapy, where they study subjects like anatomy, physiology, and various massage techniques. Once they've completed their education, they must pass an exam to become licensed or certified, depending on their location's requirements.
Places where massage therapists often soothe and rejuvenate:
- Spas and wellness centers
- Physical therapy or chiropractic clinics
- Hotels and resorts
- Their private practice
Salary: $60,000 - 82,000 (source)
Firefighters are brave souls who rush into dangerous situations when most of us would be running the other way. They battle blazes, rescue folks from tricky situations, and even assist during medical emergencies.
A day in the life of a firefighter isn't just about fighting fires. Sure, they respond to emergency calls, connect hoses to hydrants, and use other tools to break down barriers. But they also spend time maintaining their equipment, practicing drills, and learning the ins and outs of fire safety.
Their job is physically demanding, requiring strength, stamina, and a lot of courage. Plus, they need to be quick thinkers, able to assess situations rapidly and decide on the best course of action.
To become a firefighter, you typically need at least a high school diploma, but many firefighters also have postsecondary training in fire science. Before entering the field, aspiring firefighters must pass written and physical tests, complete a series of training courses, and earn emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. It's rigorous but necessary given the challenges of the job.
One famous firefighter that comes to mind is Steve Buscemi. Before he became a well-known actor, Buscemi served as a firefighter in New York City!
Places where firefighters keep us safe:
- City or county fire departments
- Wildland firefighting units
- Industrial firefighting brigades
Salary: $46,000 - 58,000 (source)
Paramedics are the frontline heroes in medical emergencies, providing crucial care when needed. These professionals jump into action when someone dials 911, stabilizing patients and getting them to the hospital in the nick of time.
A day in the life of a paramedic can be unpredictable. One minute, they might be responding to a car accident, and the next, they're assisting someone having a heart attack.
Paramedics are skilled in providing emergency care, from CPR to administering medications and handling trauma injuries. Besides hands-on medical care, they're also responsible for driving ambulances (or piloting air ambulances - helicopters - in some cases), maintaining their equipment, and documenting their care for hospital staff.
To wear the badge of a paramedic, you'll first start as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). This requires specific training and certification. After gaining some experience and additional training, you can level up to a paramedic, which involves more in-depth medical training and allows you to perform a broader range of medical procedures. Licensing is a must, and it usually involves passing a state-approved exam.
Places where paramedics leap into action:
- Ambulance services
- Fire departments
- Hospitals with emergency care units
- Search and rescue teams
50) Police Officer
Salary: $58,000 - 68,000 (source)
Police officers are the brave individuals who step up to maintain law and order, ensuring our communities are safe places to live, work, and play. When you think of a hero in blue, these dedicated folks come to mind, always ready to serve and protect.
So, what does a day in the life of a police officer look like? Well, it can vary a lot. They might be patrolling neighborhoods, responding to emergency calls, or investigating crimes. This could mean collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, or making arrests.
Beyond the action-packed moments you might see on TV, officers also spend time writing reports, providing testimony in court, and engaging with the community, whether that's through school presentations or neighborhood watch programs.
Becoming a police officer requires dedication and a good deal of training. After getting at least a high school diploma, you'll need to attend a police academy. Here, you'll learn the ropes through courses in law, ethics, and police procedures, combined with physical training.
Once you graduate, there's usually a probationary period on the job. Most police departments also have age requirements, background checks, and physical exams to pass.
Places where police officers stand on the front lines:
- City or town police departments
- County sheriff's offices
- State police or highway patrol agencies
- Federal agencies like the FBI or Border Patrol
Blue Collar vs. White Collar vs. Pink Collar
Since the workforce was primarily male when these titles were created, the titles of these job types are mostly based on men’s fashion.
A white-collar job is someone who works in an office and usually earns a salary. This type of job is called “white collar” because people in these roles tend to wear “business casual” or “business professional” style clothing, which for men often includes a white shirt and a tie.
Often, white-collar jobs require secondary, higher education, such as business school, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees. However, entry-level jobs that require less education, such as receptionists or administrative assistants, may not be required to have higher education.
We just created a list of white-collar jobs focused on the psychology field.
Indeed has a great list of white-collar jobs and their average income.
On the other hand, a blue-collar worker is usually paid hourly or a lump sum for each job completed. For instance, a plumber might charge $300 for home visits and repairs, while a construction worker might be paid by the hour.
Blue-collar workers often require skilled education, such as tech school, a trade degree, or on-site mentorship. For instance, a welder or plumber needs certification, an engineer needs an engineering degree, and hairstylists need an aesthetician license.
Pink-collar workers were typically jobs that women did in the early 1900s, such as teaching and nursing. It has expanded to encompass healthcare and service jobs with some combination of technical knowledge, manual labor, and administrative skills and is not restricted to women. This includes medical technicians, such as people who perform ultrasounds and x-rays, social workers, dental hygienists, and childcare workers.
Remember that all these titles for different types of work started when work was more separated to different genders, classes, and skill levels. In modern times, the lines have become more blurred as technology has changed rapidly, and more people can get jobs outside of class boundaries.
Threat of AI
Recently, a big concern for people has been how Artificial Intelligence might affect people’s ability to get and keep a job.
While it is true that AI is increasingly doing more tasks in the workplace, it is doubtful that it will take over any job any time soon. However, more people are using it to supplement their jobs and make some tasks easier.
But can AI be useful in blue-collar jobs? And will it threaten the jobs that people already have?
Here are some of the ways that AI might impact blue-collar work:
Automation and Job Loss
The primary threat of AI for blue-collar jobs is automation. As AI systems become more sophisticated, they can take over tasks traditionally performed by humans. This is evident in manufacturing, where robots can assemble products, and in transportation, where self-driving vehicles could replace truck drivers.
While AI might eliminate certain jobs, it also has the potential to transform roles. For instance, a factory worker might transition from manual assembly to supervising and maintaining automated machinery. This transformation requires upskilling and retraining, which can be challenging for some workers but is a good opportunity.
If automation leads to widespread job losses without creating new opportunities, significant economic consequences could be increased unemployment rates, reduced consumer spending, and greater income inequality.
Safety and Efficiency
On the positive side, AI can improve safety and efficiency. In hazardous environments, machines can perform tasks without risking human lives. Additionally, AI systems can work 24/7 without fatigue, increasing productivity.
Jobs involving personal touch, like caregiving or certain types of handcrafted work, have an element of human connection. Over-automation can remove this human touch, leading to depersonalization.
Some regions or countries might experience the effects of AI-driven automation more acutely, especially if their economies are heavily reliant on industries that are easy to automate.
History suggests that technological revolutions, while displacing certain jobs, also create new opportunities. The rise of AI could lead to jobs we haven't yet envisioned. Workers transitioning to these jobs might need new training and education.
Dependency on Technology
Over-reliance on AI systems and automation can make industries vulnerable to technological malfunctions or cyberattacks.
Should We Be Worried?
If you’re a blue-collar worker or are hoping to be one, there probably isn’t much need to worry about AI taking over your job. A lot of skill is required to complete the tasks blue-collar workers perform, and problem-solving and creative thinking are also needed.
AI, while able to solve some kinds of problems, cannot solve all problems. A human element is still needed, based on how AI works today. So, AI might take over some blue-collar tasks, but probably it can’t take over all of them.
Many people call for more blue-collar workers to be skilled in training, utilizing, and guiding artificial intelligence in their jobs. Data scientists, engineers, and specialists are using AI to supplement their work. So rather than being concerned that AI will take over your job completely, it’s more likely that you’ll have to learn how to work with AI.
Should You Be A Blue Collar Worker?
So you’ve read this whole article, got a sense of what kinds of jobs are blue-collar, and think you might be a good fit for them. But maybe you aren’t quite sure still.
The following twenty-two yes/no questions can help you decide if you might be suited for blue-collar work.
- Do you enjoy working with your hands?
- Are you comfortable being on your feet for several hours at a time?
- Do you prefer being active rather than sitting at a desk all day?
- Can you follow safety guidelines and rules closely?
- Are you good at problem-solving when something goes wrong or breaks?
- Do you feel satisfied after completing a physical task or project?
- Are you comfortable using tools like hammers, screwdrivers, or power drills?
- Would you be okay working in conditions that might be hot, cold, or dirty sometimes?
- Are you willing to work in weird schedules like early morning, late nights, or weekends?
- Do you enjoy learning new hands-on skills or techniques?
- Are you reliable and often show up on time for commitments?
- Can you lift heavy objects without much difficulty?
- Do you pay attention to small details in tasks?
- Are you patient, even when a task takes longer than expected?
- Would you feel okay wearing protective gear, like gloves, helmets, or safety glasses?
- Do you work well in a team, especially in close coordination with others?
- Can you handle feedback or criticism about your work without taking it personally?
- Are you good at following step-by-step instructions?
- Do you feel calm and focused in high-pressure or fast-paced situations?
- Are you willing to undergo training or courses to learn a new trade or skill?
- Do you find joy in seeing the direct results of your efforts, like a finished product or fixed item?
- Are you comfortable working on tasks independently without constant supervision?
- 16-22 "Yes" answers: You seem well-suited for blue-collar work! You possess many of the qualities that are essential in these jobs.
- 11-15 "Yes" answers: You have some qualities that would benefit blue-collar jobs. With some training and experience, you could be a great fit!
- 6-10 "Yes" answers: You might face challenges in certain blue-collar roles, but that doesn't mean you can't do it. Consider what aspects you're passionate about and see if there's a match.
- 1-5 "Yes" answers: Blue-collar work might not be your first choice, but always remain open. Some roles might still appeal to you, or your preferences and skills could evolve.
Remember, this test is fun to gauge interest and potential suitability. It doesn't determine one's capability or success in a blue-collar profession. Everyone's journey is unique!