8 Back-Breaking Careers That"ll Pad Your Bank Account

Blue-collar jobs have perhaps the most misleading name in the workforce. Given the sheer amount of money they can bring in, "blue" is the last color they should be associated with. While stereotypes regarding long hours and hard work are often true, the assumption that they receive low pay is anything but. It may come as a surprise, but blue-collar jobs can earn some of the best salaries in the country, and the misconceptions surrounding them tends to drive down competition. Today we've gathered eight of the highest paying blue-collar jobs to show just how lucrative they can be.

Locomotive Engineer

Who didn't want to drive a train when they were growing up? Being a locomotive engineer is a great way to fulfill that childhood fantasy while also filling up your bank account. But don't let your inner five-year-old blind you to the challenge -- it's a surprisingly physically and mentally demanding job. Engineers are required to perform maintenance on their locomotives, and have a solid understanding of their operation in a variety of situations. If you're mechanically inclined, enjoy traveling the country, and like the idea of a $63,000 average annual salary, this career might just be for you.

Transportation Inspectors

Those with an obsession for model cars and trains can find their dream job as a Transportation Inspector. This career pays inspectors around $68,000 per year to examine the safety of various modes of transportation, including airplanes, subways, cars, trucks, trains, and buses. Making sure that everyone is adhering to the proper safety regulations is important and time-consuming work, and the field is expected to grow considerably in the years ahead. Combine the earning potential for this job with its ever-expanding workforce, and you've got a high paying career that's relatively easy to get into.

Personal Trainer

Ok, so this one doesn't necessarily involve back-breaking work in the sun. However, you'd better be certain that you're doing a lot of hard work in the gym, or no one will want to hire you. Personal trainers need to be in great physical shape to earn their average annual income of $53,000, or they run the risk of being unable to sell customers on the idea that a trainer can help them reach their fitness goals. But if you've always wanted to find motivation to work out, there's no greater motivator than getting paid to do just that.


Elevator Repairers

Want to earn almost $74,000 a year? Then we suggest you start developing a deep, powerful love for elevators. One of the most lucrative blue-collar jobs out there, an elevator installer and repairer is responsible for the installation and maintenance of elevators, escalators, and everything in between. You'll likely want to move to a larger city, as there are fewer elevators in small towns with one-story buildings, but if you enjoy the thought of big city living coupled with a big paycheck, this is a fantastic career choice.

Subway and Streetcar Operator

Do you love the romance of an old-fashioned streetcar? Drivers of these modes of public transportation can bring home about $59,000 per year. The hours are often long, but as long as you don't mind a bit of a wild work schedule and enjoy dealing with people, this career can earn you a sizeable income for something that requires little more than hard work and long days. Similar to the previous job, you'll need to move to a city with a large subway or streetcar transportation system, but the cash you'll earn will be well worth it.


Construction Manager

For those with a knack for leading and building, a construction manager career can be incredibly profitable. The average take-home pay is a whopping $94,000 annually, with top earners bringing in close to $150,000. You'll need a considerable amount of experience to score such a job though, and personal skills to boot. Most construction managers work their way up through the ranks of the construction industry by gaining practical experience, and many have a degree as well. It's not an easy road and might take some time, but it's one of the highest-paid blue-collar jobs around.



The work of a welder is hot, sweaty, and often dangerous. But with danger comes great rewards, namely in the form of an annual paycheck of almost $63,000 per year. The pay for a welder can vary widely, as much of their work is often freelance, requiring strong motivation to constantly search out new and exciting projects. It'll require a lot of patience and experience as well, earned either on your own or through welder training and certification programs.

The freelance nature of welding also means a lot of traveling, but on a welder's salary, all of that travel is worthwhile and can be a lot of fun.



Construction worker laying bricks

Image via Flickr by gonzafoles

Perhaps one of the most classic blue-collar jobs, a brickmason is responsible for laying out the walls of a building and binding all of the bricks and blocks together. Their jobs are physically demanding and involve lots of repetition, but brickmasons earn around $51,000 a year. It's an excellent choice for people who enjoy being outside and working hard every day, and thanks to the growth rate of most cities and towns, it will be a job in high demand for years to come. You also have options when it comes to your training, including apprenticeships, vocational schools, and on-the-job training.

Being a blue-collar laborer doesn't mean that your bank account needs to be blue too. Remember to always be careful when you apply, as no matter how extensive the demand is for your field, you'll want to make sure you avoid common resume mistakes to ensure you make the final cut. Even when the job you're applying to doesn't require specific training, you'll still want to find ways to stand out from everyone else. With some time, attention to detail, and a good bit of patience, you might just find your well-paying dream job on this list!

Contributed to jobs.net by Courtney Rudd

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