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5 blue-collar jobs that have changed through the years

Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder Writer

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There was once a time when blue-collar jobs were often the go-to option for workers who didn't pursue higher education. However, due to economic changes and technology breakthroughs, some blue-collar jobs now require additional education and training.

Blue-collar jobs demand a lot from people in terms of flexibility and experience. Workers in many of these positions now spend time in offices as well as outdoors, and they may visit people's homes or work in warehouses.

Here are five blue-collar jobs that aren't what they used to be and how they've changed through the years.

1. Automotive service technician and mechanic*: Automotive service technicians and mechanics maintain and repair cars and light trucks.
How it's changed: Some mechanical problems in cars can now be fixed with computers. Therefore, many employers now prefer to hire automotive service technicians and mechanics who have completed a formal training program in a postsecondary institution.
2010 median pay: $35,790

2. Construction manager: Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget and supervise construction projects from early development to completion.
How it's changed: Employers increasingly prefer candidates with work experience and a bachelor's degree in a construction-related field. However, some construction managers may qualify if they have several years of experience working in a construction trade. Although not required, it's becoming increasingly important to have a related certification.
2010 median pay: $83,860

3. Farmer, rancher and other agricultural manager: These workers run establishments that produce crops, livestock and dairy products. They typically gain skills through work experience and usually have at least a high-school diploma.
How it's changed: As farm and land management has grown in complexity, more farmers and ranchers are earning a bachelor's degree in agriculture or a related field. Additionally, a number of government programs help train new farmers.
2010 median pay: $60,750

4. Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic and installer: Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers -- often referred to as HVACR technicians -- work on heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration systems that control the air quality in many types of buildings.
How it's changed: HVACR systems are becoming increasingly complex, so employers often prefer applicants with postsecondary education or those who have completed a formal apprenticeship. Some states and localities require technicians to be licensed.
2010 median pay: $42,530

5. Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technician: These workers inspect, maintain and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation and other industries.
How it's changed: Although a high-school diploma is the typical education needed for entry, employers increasingly prefer to hire service technicians who have some postsecondary education.
2010 median pay: $42,630

*All median annual pay figures and job descriptions are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 27/09/2012 - 3:57 PM


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