10 Blue-Collar Jobs That Pay at Least $40 an Hour

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If you don’t like white-collar life, you can still make good money.
Updated April 11, 2024
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You may think of good-paying jobs as belonging to white-collar office workers — but that isn’t always the case.

Plenty of blue-collar jobs allow you to bring in enough money to get ahead financially.

So, if you want to try a blue-collar job or prefer them to sitting behind a desk, here are some jobs that can offer you at least $40 an hour based on median hourly wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Air traffic controller

David Fuentes/Adobe air traffic controller

Median hourly wage: $63.58

Air traffic controllers direct planes, helicopters, and other aircraft to maintain safe distances from one another in the air and on the ground at an airport.

You may have to work unusual shifts, including nights and weekends.

Power plant operator

Gorodenkoff/Adobe project engineer talks to operator

Median hourly wage: $46.91

Power plant operators are responsible for operating and controlling the systems that generate power and distribute it to private and commercial customers.

You usually need a high school diploma and on-the-job training to understand the processes at a power plant.

Radiation therapist

My Ocean studio/Adobe hospital with a linear accelerator

Median hourly wage: $43.04

If you're looking for something a little less blue-collar, perhaps a radiation therapist job will be a good fit.

These workers operate radiation machines to treat patients' medical issues, including cancer and other serious diseases.

They typically work in healthcare settings such as outpatient centers, hospitals, or medical offices.

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Elevator and escalator installer and repairer

Bartek/Adobe elevator installer and repairer

Median hourly wage: $47.60

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers are responsible for the smooth operation of elevators and escalators.

Installers and repairers usually receive on-the-job training for this specialized position that installs and fixes elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.

Facilities manager

mavoimages/Adobe manager standing in his warehouse

Median hourly wage: $48.98

A facilities manager is responsible for the operations of a building, grounds, or equipment facility.

You may oversee staff, monitor facilities to make sure things are running properly, and keep an eye on maintenance and repair issues.

Construction manager

Halfpoint/Adobe male engineer holding blueprints on site

Median hourly wage: $48.79

Construction managers plan construction projects from beginning to end.

You may develop a budget, coordinate parts of the project, fix issues, and supervise the completion of the effort.

Power-line installer and repairer

romaset/Adobe electricians check the substation

Median hourly wage: $39.59

Electrical power-line installers and repairers install and repair lines used for electrical power systems.

It can be a dangerous job dealing with high-voltage electrical issues or working on power lines. This one doesn’t quite pay $40, but it was close enough to make our list.

Subway and streetcar operator

Fotograf/Adobe train driver in cab

Median hourly wage: $42.43

Subway and streetcar operators help passengers get where they need to go. You might work in public transportation.

Nuclear technician

Creative Clicks/Adobe industrial technicians

Median hourly wage: $48.28

Nuclear technicians work with physicists and engineers to develop nuclear energy production and engage in nuclear research.

You usually need at least an associate degree to work as a nuclear technician and will go through on-the-job training.

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Petroleum engineer

anatoliy_gleb/Adobe engineer looking at the oil rig

Median hourly wage: $63.37

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods used to extract oil and other products — such as natural gas — from the ground.

Although you might work in an office, you can also travel to drilling and extraction sites to review plans and methods being used in the field. Your lucrative salary should let you build up savings and retire early if you choose.

Bottom line

Allistair/peopleimages.com/Adobe woman working at a construction

A white-collar job isn’t for everyone, but you can still earn good money and boost your bank account by working a blue-collar job.

Check out some of the jobs on this list and decide if one of them might be right for you.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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