No College Required: High Wages with Minimal Education

worker wearing protective gear for work

Sometimes a high school diploma and a little bit of training can be enough to land you a high-paying job. Specific industries offer salaries exceeding $60,000 for technical or skilled blue-collar work.

Transportation

If you can drive, you’re good to go. Well, not exactly. Truck drivers are required to have a commercial driver’s license, but it only takes a couple of weeks or so to get one. You might not even need to pay for your training, because companies will gladly sponsor your training for CDL truck driver jobs. The trucking industry is currently experiencing a massive driver shortage, and there is no lack of job openings. Sign-in bonuses of $2,000 to $6,000 are relatively common as companies vie for new drivers. Expect wages of $45,000 or more during your first year to increase to $60,000 or even $80,000 in the next two years. Walmart is offering salaries of $87,000 to attract new and veteran drivers, and industry leaders are likely to follow suit. The trucking industry is facing a shortage of close to 200,000 drivers by 2026 as veteran drivers reach retirement age. The majority of truck drivers are over the age of 55, and trucking companies are desperate for new drivers to fill in their shoes. Automated trucks will soon hit the roads, providing truck drivers with an onboard system and making long treks safer and easier.

Energy

oil and gas workers in front of large fuel storage tanks

The energy industry pays remarkably well, with jobs requiring as little as six months of training. Whether it’s in extraction (gas and oil), production (power plants), or transmission, jobs in energy will usually offer wages well above $60,000. The average salaries for nuclear plant workers come close to $95,000, while those working in gas plants earn wages of around $70,000. Maintenance workers for power plants, substations, and relay stations earn an average salary of $77,000, while linemen tasked with installing and repairing power lines earn $70,000. Skilled oil rig workers earn $50,000 to more than $200,000 depending on their training and position. A new rigger typically starts at $50,000 while salaries for experienced drill technicians and pipefitters can reach $200,000.

Construction

The boom in the construction industry and the subsequent lack of skilled workers have raised wages in construction past the $30 per hour mark. Companies are vying for skilled workers, offering better salaries, more benefits, and various bonuses. Almost anyone can be a laborer (with wages at $15-$20 per hour), but a few months of training will ensure you get that $30 per hour rate. There is no lack of jobs in construction, and the skills you learn are easily transferable to other industries. Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians also have the option to work on their own and start their own businesses. Industry experts predict a need for 100,000 new construction workers every year for many years to come.

Blue-collar work can pay exceedingly well as long as you have the right certificates and proper training. Learn the technical skills required and start earning big money with a career in transportation, energy, or construction.

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