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Who Makes More - Blue Collar Jobs versus White Collar Jobs

Do white collar jobs bring home more bacon than blue collar jobs? It's common to assume so. But according to a recent PayScale survey of job duties, salaries and career paths, white collar jobs don't always beat their blue collar counterparts. Let's take a look and compare the average job salaries from a list of white collar jobs and a list of blue collar jobs. (Note: for up-to-date salary information, click on each job title.)

College Professor or Prison Guard
The average job salaries for mid-career prison guards range around $60,880, 3 percent higher than the typical salary of $58,876 for a mid-career college professor. Prison guards in California enjoy an annual salary of $73,428 with only a high school education, and with overtime they can surpass the income of California judges, police and even the state attorney.

Civil Engineer or Elevator Installer/Repairer
Which is more lucrative to fix - an elevator or a road? The average job salaries for mid-career elevator installers/repairers range around $63,500, 3 percent higher than the typical salary of $61,611 for a mid-career civil engineer.

Landscape Architect or Truck Driver
Is it guy who decides where the soil goes or the guy who hauls it? The average job salaries for mid-career landscape architects range around $51,539, 9 percent higher than the typical salary of $46,694 for a mid-career truck driver. Note that in some cases, long-haul truck drivers can earn an annual salary of more than $100,000.

Clinical Laboratory Scientist or Construction Contractor
Does it matter if your dirty work is in the field or in the lab? The average job salaries for mid-career construction contractors range around $59,927, 6 percent higher than the typical salary of $56,268 for a mid-career clinical laboratory scientist.

Marketing Manager or Telephone Equipment Engineer
So who makes more - the one using the telephone or the one fixing it? The average job salaries for mid-career telephone equipment engineers range around $62,816, 3 percent higher than the typical salary of $60,849 for a mid-career marketing manager.

Architect or Journeyman/Lineman
Both people can work on the same building but who makes more? Surprise! The average job salaries for mid-career journeymen/linemen range around $58,720, 8 percent higher than the typical salary of $54,291 for a mid-career architect.

Real Estate Leasing Agent or Baker
Does the real estate leasing agent eating the scone earn more than the baker who made it? The average job salaries for mid-career bakers range around $34,044, 19 percent higher than the typical salary of $27,553 for a mid-career real estate leasing agent.

Bank Teller or Auto Mechanic
Who makes more - the one at the bank's drive thru window or the one who fixed your car so you could get there? The average job salaries for mid-career auto mechanics range around $41,136, 47 percent higher than the typical salary of $21,714 for a mid-career bank teller.

Detective or Paramedic
Between the guy who went to the aid of the victim and the guy who found the victim's killer, who makes more? The average job salaries for mid-career detectives range around $56,869, 30 percent higher than the typical salary of $39,570 for a mid-career paramedic.

Reference Librarian or HVAC Mechanic
So who makes more - the one who can help you research indoor climate control or the one who can fix it? The average job salaries for mid-career HVAC mechanics range around $50,980, 13 percent higher than the typical salary of $44,473for a mid-career reference librarian.

High School Teacher or Waste Disposal Manager
Both careers will survive any economic downturn, but which pays more? Average job salaries for mid-career waste disposal managers range around $47,900, 9 percent higher than the typical salary of $43,564 for a mid-career high school teacher.

Social Worker (MSW) or Bricklayer
Which career earns more - the one that helps build a healthier society or the one that helps build buildings? The average job salaries for mid-career bricklayers range around $44,380, 8 percent higher than the typical salary of $40,754 for a mid-career social worker with a Master's in Social Work.

Animator or Firefighter
Does working with virtual fire pay more than working with actual fire? The average job salaries for mid-career animators range around $55,167, 17 percent higher than the typical salary of $45,638 for a mid-career firefighter.

Medical Lab Technician or Warehouse Manager
Does it pay more to work in a lab or in a warehouse? The average job salaries for mid-career warehouse managers range around $43,976, 16 percent higher than the typical salary of $37,013 for a mid-career medical lab technician.

Master Plumber or Lawyer
Both can charge an arm and a leg, but who earns more? The average job salaries for mid-career lawyers range around $89,466, 42 percent higher than the typical salary of $52,000 for a mid-career plumber. 

Find your salary comparison.

2 Comments

  1. 2 Medic 23 Feb
    Is this listing a paramedic as blue collar? I went to college for years to become one. Nursing school and paramedic school are the same length here. Lots of knowledge is required, such as ethical and legal issues, pharmacology, operations, anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacokinetics, general biology, advanced cardiac life support, and even sometimes critical care specialists who place patients under anesthesia. We also have to study hazmat operations, electrocardiography, medical mathematics... we even perform surgical procedures that only PAs and doctors can do in hospital. These include (in our county) pleural decompression, surgical crics, and even post-mordem c-sections. In certain areas (not here), paramedics visit patients in their homes and prescribe medications, which requires at least a Masters degree. Adding to that is the fact that paramedics do sutures in local hospitals here, requiring at least one year of residency before they are able to be on their own. I had a one-year internship before I received my licensing, and I needed to be a licensed EMT to apply for an internship. That is the shortest time I have ever seen. Most places require at least 18 months, with 1-2 years of EMT basic experience to even qualify. So... with all of this information that we hold and the skills we can perform, are we still to be considered blue collar workers?
  2. 1 us2045 17 Jan
    How about Railroad Locomotive Engineer? I was able to gross just over $110,000 last year. With good benefits, medical and a pension, the railroad industry is still a pretty good career to get into.

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