11 High Paying Blue Collar Jobs That Might Surprise You

Mike Rowe, the host of the fascinating TV show “Dirty Jobs,” has long been an advocate for the types of jobs that many people view as undesirable and low paying work. Skilled labor and trades are actually experiencing shortages because many people feel like doing physical work is beneath their dignity.

Most of these job vacancies can be filled by people who do not have college degrees. These jobs offer good, lifelong employment to people who cannot afford the expense of a university education or have no desire to go to college. They provide excellent pay and some require less than a year of training. The top 11 jobs in alphabetical order followed by their median annual salary are as follows:


Being able to build structures using brick, stone, cinderblock, and other materials is a highly skilled type of work. It is also highly physical and somewhat dangerous.

Chemical Plant Operator—$40,473

This is a job that is managerial in nature. A chemical plant operator supervises the automated machinery used in chemical plants and undergoes specialized training and certification. According to HVAC training firm AmericanTrainco, it just happens to be one of the safest blue collar jobs in the country.

Dental Hygienist—$62,220

Although not as physical as most of the other jobs listed here, dental hygienists have to deal with varying levels of personal hygiene daily.


Working on an oil derrick is physically demanding and dangerous, but workers in this field get good pay and need minimal training.

Executive Housekeeper—$44,459

Working in a high class hotel can be very rewarding for people who love to make the customer satisfied. An executive housekeeper does not risk his or her life on the job, but they do need to clean up some nasty messes.


While being a firefighter is one of the most dangerous jobs in this list, it is also one of the most revered and loved. The sole purpose of firefighters is to help people in need, whether from a burning building, or a wrecked car.

Locomotive Engineer—$62,995

While it may seem like driving a train would be an easy job, it actually requires a great deal of mental agility. To be a locomotive engineer, you must graduate from a trade school and become certified.

Medical Laboratory Technician—$41,737

This job does require some specialized education, either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, but it is a job that is always has vacancies because of the nature of the work. Testing blood, skin, and bodily fluids grosses some people out.

Personal Trainer—$53,056

If you love to work out and love helping other people stay fit, being a personal trainer may be the career for you.

Police Officer—$50,089

Another dangerous job, police officers are needed to help maintain peace and solve crimes. Graduating from a police academy is required to enter into this career.


While the work is not as physically demanding as some other jobs, plumbers do work in some of the smelliest environments, but with the stink comes an excellent salary.

Getting Work With an Affordable Alternative to College

As you can see here trade or vocational schools are a great alternative to colleges. As you can see, learning the skills necessary for one of the above jobs can help you earn a salary that can rival many careers that require a college degree, but without needing to amass a huge amount of loan debt.

Presented by American Trainco

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