Blue Collar: Jobs in Demand in Today’s Economy

It’s an oft dragged out sentiment that to find a job today, you need a college degree. Then you join a huge profitable company, where you wear a button up and tie and carry a briefcase. As it turns out, there are many jobs in more hands-on areas– blue collar work– with high demands for workers. Best of all, many pay well, and typically don’t require a college degree. Below we’ll look at several such jobs that are expanding rapidly, and how you can avoid corporate culture.


With hands-on employment ranging from construction to maintenance and repair, plumbers are always in demand. Plumbers typically receive training in the form of an apprenticeship, but many community colleges offer certification programs. Their median hourly wage is about $22, with average salary coming in at $50k. The highest earners in the field can expect to take home $80k. Employment is projected to increase 21% per year.


An extremely physically demanding job, masonry is not for everyone. Though for people who enjoy manual labor and working outdoors, it can be a holy grail of employment. Brickmasons do exactly what it sounds like: work on construction projects built out of brick. Masonry is typically learned on the job, through an apprenticeship, or through a program at a technical school. Workers earn an average of $44k, and employment is projected to increase 34% per year.

Dental Hygienist

Getting up close and personal with a stranger’s mouth may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who are interested, dental hygiene is a fast growing and well-paying field. Dental hygienists are responsible for cleaning and inspecting teeth in conjunction with a dentist. Typically, an associate’s degree is required, and all states require some level of licensing to work in the field. Dental hygienists make $70k on average, and many work part-time. Employment is projected to increase 33% per year.

Lift Repairs

Life as an elevator mechanic has its ups and downs; for one, many workers are on call 24/7, and have to carry lots of heavy equipment and parts. Elevator mechanics also are not limited to just elevators– they install, repair, and fix escalators, moving walkways, and various other lifts, too. But with only a high school diploma and an apprenticeship, elevator repairers can expect to make $76k on average. Employment is projected to increase 25% per year.

Drill Operators

Rotary drill operators are responsible for the setup and operation of a variety of drills used to obtain oil and gas, or for the removal of core samples used for testing during oil and gas exploration. It’s a dirty job, but doesn’t even require a high school education, and training is generally done on the job. The need for gas is rising even with more sustainable options, and these kinds of workers are sorely needed. Rotary drill operators can expect to take home about $49k a year, not bad for needing no education. Employment is projected to increase 19% per year.

Iron and Steel Workers

If heights and physically demanding work don’t scare you, being an ironworker could really satisfy you. Typically operating high off the ground or on Edmonton cnc machines, an ironworker’s job is to install iron or steel beams and girders in construction projects. As Advantage Manufacturing Ltd notes, with a country full of aging infrastructure, there is a very real demand for workers in this industry. The job comes with hazards, though; working at great heights comes with inherent risks. Ironworkers usually learn through an apprenticeship or on the job, and make $46k on average. Employment is projected to increase 22% per year.

This short list is certainly not all inclusive. Despite what many people believe, college may not be for everyone, and there is a huge amount of opportunities out there for people who would rather not pursue a degree, and the guarantee of debt that comes with it. There’s definitely something out there for everyone!

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