Top 20: America's Best-Paying Blue-Collar Jobs

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"It's fast moving, it's different every day, and people in the industry care about each other. We're a tight-knit community, since it's a generation type of job, and that makes it a great job to be in." Dalton explains that elevator repairers and installers are also "low-key, behind the scenes workers. It's a job that people really don't think about or realize exists until the elevator breaks and they have to walk up 20 flights of stairs." It may not be high-visibility, but it's undoubtedly high-paying. Elevator repairers and installers tops the list as having the highest-paying blue-collar job. On average they earn $70,000 annually, or $33.66 an hour. The top 10% of them draw in six-figure salaries. The best-paying state for these workers, who assemble, install, repair or maintain electric or hydraulic freight or passenger elevators, escalators or dumbwaiters: New Hampshire. That's also where Dalton's firm, Stanley Elevator Company, is headquartered. "It's such a high-paying profession in this area because it's union-oriented and it's very organized," Dalton says. "The union has been especially strong in the New England area." Other jobs on the list include transportation inspectors, who have an average annual salary of $63,050, and commercial divers, who make $56,400. Electricians, who earn an average of $51,810, also make the tally.

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