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The Top-Ranking Manual Careers


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You don’t necessarily need a four-year degree to find your dream job. Manual labor can be just as lucrative, with top blue-collar workers earning annual mean wages well above the $50,620 national average. What’s more, manual labor has been shown to help improve health by reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes, and blue-collar workers consistently show greater levels of job satisfaction than those in other fields.

You don’t necessarily need a four-year degree to find your dream job. Manual labor can be just as lucrative, with top blue-collar workers earning annual mean wages well above the $50,620 national average.

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After vocational training, many manual laborers are able to climb the career ladder more quickly than people working white-collar positions. What’s more, many manual jobs go unfilled these days, leading to a higher demand for blue-collar workers. Here are some of the most lucrative manual fields to go into,  from electronics to property maintenance.


Nuclear Power Reactor Operation

This position consistently ranks as one of the highest-paying blue-collar jobs on the job market. Nuclear power reactor operators are responsible for working, monitoring, and maintaining equipment, recording data, and overseeing safety and emergency procedures. This position typically requires a high school diploma or GED, on-the-job training, and in some cases, a license. An experienced operator can make as much as over $80,000 annually on the high end.


Electronics and Electrical Repair

Electrical and electrical repairs can also make a decent salary with a high school diploma and, if their specialization requires it, additional education or apprenticeship training. These workers are responsible for inspecting, testing, repairing, and maintaining electrical equipment in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays. Electricians earn a median of over $55,000 annually.

“Trade careers don’t require four-year degrees (and all the student loans that come with them). The next time someone tells you college is the only answer, reply with this stat: According to Explore the Trades, only 35 percent of future jobs will require a four-year degree or higher.” –

Gardening and Property Maintenance

Gardening and property maintenance requires minimal training, and there are ample opportunities for employment. Typically, those working in property maintenance either own their own equipment or work under a parent company. They offer services such as shearing and pruning, lawn maintenance, and landscaping. Other property maintenance experts are also able to take care of gutter and downspout cleaning needs for both commercial and residential properties. Depending on the area of service and a worker’s level of experience, gardeners can earn over $50,000 annually.

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Construction Manager

So maybe being a Construction Manager is not so unusual, but it is a field with many different opportunities beyond being a construction worker. With an associate degree in construction management, you could work your way up to supervise the men and women who complete the actual physical labor. According to, salaries range from $48,000 to $117,000.

Blue-collar work is not only good for the mind and the body but can result in a lucrative and lifelong career path. Some of the best-paying and most widely available positions include nuclear power reactor operator, electrician, and gardener. If you’re interested in a career in manual labor, it’s never too late to start training for your dream job. Many positions only require a high school diploma or equivalent, and training is often provided on-the-job. What’s more, you can advance quickly through your career to become a top earner in your field.

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12/31/2022 02:58 pm GMT


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