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The coming depression blog | November 24, 2017

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America’s Best-Paying Top 10 Blue-Collar Jobs

We commonly associate hefty paychecks with briefcases and neckties – but it turns out there’s plenty of money to be earned by those who sport hard hats and coveralls.

This may be surprising considering the gradual decline of union memberships over the years and the fragile state of America’s workforce, but plenty of talented and skilled blue-collar workers earn six figures doing electrical work, repair jobs, and other labor intensive trades.

What defines a blue-collar job? The American Heritage Dictionary says, “Of or relating to wage earners, especially as a class, whose jobs are performed in work clothes and often involve manual labor.” We took that definition and excluded work that is largely managerial or supervisory.

Other jobs on the list include repairers at power substations, who have an average annual salary of $67,700, and boilermakers, who make $56,680. Transportation inspectors, who earn an average of $61,110, are also on the tally. The top 10% of them draw six-figure salaries. Commercial divers, who pull in an average of $58,060, don’t literally have blue collars, of course–unless they wear blue wetsuits.

 

1. Elevator Installer and Repairer

47-4021.00

Average annual salary: $67,950
Average hourly wage: $32.67
Annual pay for top 10%: $98,190
Best-paying state: California
what they do: Install and repair elevators, escalators and dumbwaiters.

 

2. Powerhouse Substation and Relay Repairer

Powerhouse-Substation-and-Relay-Repairer

Average annual salary: $61,700
Average hourly wage: $29.94
Annual pay for top 10%: More than $81,560
Best-paying state: California
what they do: Inspect, test, repair or maintain electrical equipment in generating stations.

 

3. Transportation Inspector

Transportation-Inspector

Average annual salary: $61,110
Average hourly wage: $23.98
Annual pay for top 10%: $104,940
Best-paying state: District of Columbia
what they do: Inspect equipment or goods in transit. Includes rail transport inspectors.

 

4. Oil and Gas Rotary Drill Operator

Oil-and-Gas-Rotary-Drill-Operator

Average annual salary: $59,560
Average hourly wage: $28.63
Annual pay for top 10%: More than $89,100
Best-paying state: Alaska
what they do: Set up or operate drills to remove petroleum products from the earth.

 

5. Commercial Diver

Commercial-Diver

Average annual salary: $58,060
Average hourly wage: $27.91
Annual pay for top 10%: More than $94,130
Best-paying state: California
what they do: Work underwater using scuba gear to inspect, repair, remove or install equipment and structures.

 

6. Aircraft Engine Mechanics
Aircraft-Engine-Mechanics

Avg. Hourly Wage: $26.68 | Estimated Annual Income: $55,494

 

7. Electrical Power Installers and Repairers

Electrical-Power-Installers-and-Repairers

Avg. Hourly Wage: $26.63 | Estimated Annual Income: $55,390

 

8. Mining Occupations

Mining-Occupations

Avg. Hourly Wage: $26.30 | Estimated Annual Income: $54,704

 

9. Oil Well Driller

Oil-Well-Driller
Avg. Hourly Wage: $25.59 | Estimated Annual Income: $53,227

 

10. Telephone Line Installer/Repairer

Telephone-Line-Installer-Repairer

Avg. Hourly Wage: $25.23 | Estimated Annual Income: $52,478

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