Manual labor is work performed using physical skill and energy. While machines have replaced many of the jobs traditionally performed manually, many types of work can still be by a human being. Manual labor jobs often require specialized skill and knowledge. Trained and experienced laborers command the highest rates of pay.
A journeyman is a worker who is qualified to perform a certain type of work without supervision. Journeymen typically receive special training and complete an apprenticeship at which they receive on-the-job experience under supervision. Journeymen sometimes travel within a country or internationally. Journeyman jobs requiring travel typically pay a higher rate of pay and offer benefits, such as health insurance and paid time off. Journeyman jobs involving travel include construction and electrical work.
Elevator Installers and Repairmen
Elevator installers and repairmen earn $12 more per hour than the national average for all jobs, reports Klaus Kneale with Forbes. This occupation is the highest paying manual labor job, according to the Forbes survey. Elevator installers and repairers typically train through a four-year apprenticeship program. This type of work is minimally affected by fluctuations in the economy.
The highest paying jobs in the transportation industry go to transportation inspectors. Other high-paying transportation blue-collar jobs include subway conductors and locomotive engineers. Training for this type of work includes an apprenticeship equivalent to the time investment of earning a bachelor's degree. The five states with the highest employment rates for this occupation are North Dakota, Kansas, Indiana, New Mexico and Missouri. The five states paying the highest wages for locomotive engineers are New Mexico, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Power Plant Operators
Power plant operators are responsible for activities involved in generation of electrical power. Training for this job include classroom instruction and several years of on-the-job training. Strong math and computer skills and understanding of science are basic requirements. The market outlook for this type of work is strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Power plant operators control and monitor boilers, turbines, generators and auxiliary equipment in power-generating plants."
Home Appliance Repair
The market outlook for home appliance repair is strong. Job locations include in-home and in-store. Training varies, with minimum requirements of a high school diploma or GED and demonstrated proficiency in the skill involved in the particular area of home appliance repair. On-the-job training and classroom product-specific instruction is provided by many of the larger companies. Training for appliance repair is offered as an associate-degree program in many community colleges. The Environmental Protection Agency requires that all refrigerator repairers are certified in handling refrigerants.
- OLX: Journeyman Construction Workers: High Paying Positions/ International Work
- Department of Consumer Affairs:
- Forbes; "America's Best-Paying Blue-Collar Jobs"; Klaus Kneale; June 10, 2009
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Elevator Installers and Repairers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Locomotive Engineers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Power Plant Operators, Distributors and Dispatchers
- Photo Credit Rainer Elstermann/Lifesize/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
- Manual Labor Jobs
- United States Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division
- Higher Salary: Appliance Repair Salary
- National Appliance Service Technician Certification
- Bureau of Labor Statstics: Home Appliance Repairers
- U.S. Department of Labor: Elevator Installers and Repairers
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