CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — More than five million jobs are available in America today, according to the Department of Labor, and many of them don’t require a college degree.
These jobs are often referred to as “Blue-Collar,” a name derived from the color of uniform worn by trade workers. The career typically requires trade school certification and some amount of physical labor.
In the Lowcountry, there are hundreds of them. According to the department of labor, 421 jobs are available in Dorchester, Berkeley, and Charleston counties in the category of “Installation, Maintenance, and Repairs.” When it comes to “Construction and Extraction,” that number is 349.
We caught up with workers and educators in 9 different fields to find out what was required and how much money you can make.
The first was commercial diving. It’s a job you may never think of, likely because you never see it in action.
To get involved in the commercial diving, you can enroll in the International Diving Institute at http://www.idicharleston.edu/
We later caught up with a local plumbing company who tell us that finding qualified help can be difficult because fewer people are going into the field.
Much like plumbing, there is still great demand for those who keep our power on. Linemen, who work on our power lines and help us recover from storms, always seem to be needed. Professor Jim Mussoni, who teaches this skill at Trident Technical College, says in his lifetime he has never seen anything that will take away the human factor. This is his story:
Not every blue-collar job necessarily means a career of heavy manual labor. Zuuk International general manager, Daniel Carden, was named top 40 under 40. He was one of the few without a college degree. After serving in the Marines Carden became an inspector of high pressure apparatus, industrial equipment like boilers. This is his story:
The final story in our series may be one of the most valuable skills. It is used everywhere, the car you drive, the chair you sit in and the roof over your head. The skill is welding and fewer people are learning.
Traditionally the trade has been primarily men, but the need for women is growing as well. We met two women at Trident Tech that are preparing for a future in welding, and they say they have big plans:
The next career may be one of the oldest on the list. Employing those who help get us from point A to point B, automotive technicians. Automotive instructors at Trident Technical college tell us that the demand is more present than ever, but the field may not be adhere to the old ‘grease monkey’ stereotype anymore. The industry is always changing with new technology and the latest models.
After a year in the automotive’s program at Trident, students can become certified and ready for work and instructors say there is plenty of it.
Starting out, most mechanics will make between 12 and 15 dollars an hour working on oil changes. It’s what those in the industry call the lube line. That position helps those who are green get the added training and practice they need. After 5 years many will make between 70 and 80 thousand, all depending on how many cars they can get done in a day.
For those who like to stay comfortable in all seasons, this next job may be the most necessary. It employs the guys and gals that are responsible for keeping our houses cool and our food fresh. It’s a career in air conditioning and refrigeration.
At Trident Tech there is also a program to train and equip those going into this field. The program takes about a year. Students are trained to use the equipment, fix electrical problem and repair air ducts.
While many will go on to work on the residential side of the industry, there is also opportunity to move into commercial heating and air, or commercial refrigeration.
A growing number of robotics used in manufacturing makes the next job in the series a growing need. Many of these large industrial machines will eventually wear out or breakdown and repairing them is the job people.
These industrial mechanics are trained in a number of areas including hydraulics, electrical, piping and pneumatics, to name a few.
Opportunities to learn these skills are available at Trident Technical College. The certification program is 10 courses and takes a little over a year, but professors say the variety of skills taught gives students a base to begin work.
Most will start out making 18-20 dollars an hour but that can increase with the amount of skills they master.
The last job in the series is not typically considered a blue collar job, but nonetheless it’s one that doesn’t require a 4 year degree. This career is in respiratory therapy.
Mostly found in the hospital ICU, respiratory therapists can often be mistaken for nurses; however, this training is much more specific.
RT’s primary concern is the patients’ airways. In this 2 year certification program at Trident Tech, students learn how to intubate, properly manage ventilators, assign respiratory medication, and even educate patient’s on maintaining respiratory health.
On average an RT makes around 60 thousand dollars a year. Starting out that number is closer to 40 thousand a year, but many students will go on to obtain additional degrees.
While respiratory therapists are typically found in the hospital setting, there is also a variety of areas they can pursue. Many times an RT is employed by a private practice, in a sleep lab, or in a research facility.