Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Manual Labor Jobs Yield More Money Than You Think

We live in times where college degrees are virtually expected four years after teenager students graduate high school. We also live in times where a college degree can be just another piece of paper – one which has difficulty standing up to the seasoned experience of an older job seeker willing to take a pay cut. With harsh economic times upon us, people like Discovery Channel’s Mike Rowe, hope to see the youth of today consider getting into building, fixing and installing things. “Tradesmen need fans, regular people who understand the magnitude of their work, the impact of their chosen profession, and the importance of their skill,” says Rowe.

Perhaps most youth go for the degree over the paycheck because parents and teachers tell them that a college degree statistically makes them more money in a lifetime. However, while post-graduates are continuously experiencing delayed entrance into the labor force, that fact becomes slightly moot. If you’re interested in working with your hands and taking significantly less than four years to do so, here are some jobs that pay considerably well and not just in these economic times.

Wind Turbine Technician

Also called “Wind Techs,” these people have responsibilities as simple as changing a light bulb to completely rewiring a circuit board. Average salary runs at $67,500 and after 5-8 years of experience, the Wind Techs can clear as much as $84,000 a year.


While this position needs no introduction, it might need some light shed on its financial yielding. While an average salary can produce $51,600 a year, a highly-trained plumber with lucrative commercial and high-end residential accounts can make nearly six figures a year.

HVAC Technician

If we didn’t have these workers in the sweltering heat of an Indian Summer or chilling cold of winter… These technicians are extremely versatile and control things from the temperature in our homes, to the transportation of food and medicine. Your average HVAC tech makes $51,000.

Elevator Mechanic

This is definitely a niche field in mechanics, but once you hone in your skills this job becomes fairly simple most of the time. Yearly maintenance and the occasional “out of order” make this job pretty stress free. And with an average salary of $49,900 to $96,700 a year with 5+ years experience, you’re putting food on the table, clothes on your back and going to the Caribbean once a year.

Construction and Building Inspector

You’ll examine buildings, highways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other structures for compliance with building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications. While 44 percent of inspectors work for governments or village departments, the remaining are self-employed and get to make their own hours, which annually average out to $48,000.

The list goes on. What’s most important though is that the youth of today realize there are many other opportunities available if pursuing a degree isn’t for you. Everybody in the labor force plays their part and those who choose manual labor are just as needed and respected as those who take the white collar path.

IMAGE: Chris Chats

Michael Doan

I've gone to college. I have a job. I eat my apple a day. I have decent manners. I love writing. I hope you love reading.

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