What are the Different Types of Blue Collar Jobs?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Blue collar jobs are any type of employment situations that involve manual labor that is compensated with an hourly wage rather than a salary. There are a number of different types of jobs that fall into this category, many of which provide a steady and attractive amount of income. Some of the more common examples of blue collar jobs are found in construction, mechanical repairs, plumbing, and electrical work.

Many municipal and construction jobs are considered blue collar.
Many municipal and construction jobs are considered blue collar.

When many people think of blue collar jobs, the image of a worker in a manufacturing plant often comes to mind. This includes hourly employees who labor in textile plants, auto assembly plants, and just about any plant setting that assembles or manufactures some type of goods. Along with an hourly wage, employees in these types of jobs normally receive some type of benefits such as vacation time, access to group insurance coverage, and the ability to participate in a group pension plan.

Auto mechanics are considered blue collar workers.
Auto mechanics are considered blue collar workers.

Auto mechanics are another example of individuals who are classified as blue collar workers. As an example of blue collar work that requires training and certification in many instances, individuals who have an aptitude for repairing cars, trucks, and other types of vehicles often graduate from a trade school and may even seek additional training in order to certify for work on specific type of automobiles. Blue collar jobs of this type can be very lucrative, especially for an auto mechanic with extensive training and certification.

Many blue collar jobs require experience or training in specialized tasks such as plumbing, masonry or construction.
Many blue collar jobs require experience or training in specialized tasks such as plumbing, masonry or construction.

Other types of repair services provide blue collar jobs for qualified personnel. Plumbers and electricians can often secure hourly positions with office buildings, manufacturing plants, and other settings once they have been certified and have obtained any licenses required by local laws and regulations. As with other jobs of this type, the workers are compensated with an hourly wage by an employer, along with other selected benefits.

Auto assembly plants employ blue collar workers.
Auto assembly plants employ blue collar workers.

While blue collar jobs are often considered less prestigious than other lines of work, the fact is that many people who work in these positions earn annual wages that are similar to those earned by white collar workers. For example, a plumber or an auto mechanic who undergoes training and certification can easily generate an income stream that is within the middle to upper middle class range each year. Jobs of this type sometimes involve working with hazardous materials or working in extremes of heat or cold. While blue collar jobs can be demanding, they often offer the benefits of steady work, decent pay and benefits, and the ability to not worry about the job during the off-time hours.

A dish washer would be considered a blue collar job.
A dish washer would be considered a blue collar job.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


Some blue-collar jobs pay a lot of money like a plumber, auto-mechanic, elevator repairers, etc. Some can earn over $90,000/year.

Some white-collar jobs pay a below average salary, like a receptionist, clerk, or assistant/secretary. They usually make around the range of $20,000-$30,000/year.


My brother just started a blue collar job in construction, and he is making more money than I am as a receptionist in a medical office. I have been here for seven years, and still, I don't make as much as my brother.

I do get certain perks, though, like a salary rather than an hourly wage. I don't have to be back from lunch in exactly one hour, either, and I sometimes get bonuses and free meals from my employer.

A construction worker should make more money than me, I suppose, because he has to work so much harder physically. My job is mentally demanding at times, but I would so much rather be here than in a blue collar situation that required physical exertion.


My husband works at a distribution center for a large grocery store, and he actually has one of the highest paid blue collar jobs out there. He has to tolerate extreme temperatures and lift heavy crates all day long, but he makes $20 an hour doing this.

The warehouse is refrigerated, so he has to dress warmly. It can be tough dealing with the temperature shift from being outside in the summer heat before work and suddenly being so cold once he goes inside. So, he has had his fair share of sickness because of this.

Also, the company is extremely strict about employees missing work. Even with a valid excuse, he gets in trouble if he misses a certain number of days. This is a major drawback to the job, but the salary makes dealing with it worth it.


@kylee07drg – Are you kidding me? I work at a furniture factory, and I would love to have a job like yours.

I am sick of being labeled a “blue collar worker.” That just sounds a little derogatory to me.

I graduated from college, but due to the unavailability of jobs in my area, I had to take a factory position. I hate all the physical work, but mostly, I hate being treated like a slave by my boss.

Many white collar workers have more respect from their bosses. They are valued for their knowledge and skills, rather than berated for doing one little thing wrong.


Technically, I hold a white collar job, but I often feel more like a blue collar worker. I am a graphic designer at a newspaper, and with the amount of work I am expected to do at a quick pace, I feel like I'm a factory worker slaving on an assembly line.

I am paid an hourly wage, but I don't make as much as some experienced factory workers. The stress level is high, and though I do get benefits, I would probably get the same benefits with less stress if I held a blue collar job.

In fact, I've been considering changing occupations. A little physical labor would be good for me, anyway. I feel I'm becoming too sedentary sitting at my computer desk all day.

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