The 25 highest-paying blue collar jobs

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Blue collar workers are known for doing the dirty jobs many of us take for granted. They roll up their sleeves, get dirt under their fingernails and wipe sweat off their brow with the back of their hand. These hard-working individuals are often underappreciated and, even worse, underpaid.

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Fortunately, there are labor-intensive jobs out there that reward their employees with higher wages. Using the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center, CareerTrends has found the 25 highest-paying blue collar jobs in America. Data is collected via surveys sent out to employers. Employment data is from May 2014, while salary data is from June 2015.

What exactly is a blue collar job? We searched for all jobs listed in the following fields: construction and extraction, farming, fishing, forestry, installation, maintenance, repair, production, transportation and material moving. For this list, we only included occupations with at least 10,000 full-time employees.

25. Biofuels processing technicians

Total employees: 12,000
Average salary: $50,304

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24. Railroad conductors

Total employees: 42,900
Average salary: $50,363

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23. Robotics technicians

Total employees: 14,430
Average salary: $51,041

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22. Locomotive engineers

Total employees: 38,470
Average salary: $52,041

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21. Electrical & electronics drafters

Total employees: 29,390
Average salary: $52,194

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20. Production supervisors

Total employees: 592,830
Average salary: $52,271

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19. Surveyors

Total employees: 41,970
Average salary: $52,322

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18. Avionics technicians

Total employees: 17,150
Average salary: $52,671

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17. Electrical engineering technologists

Total employees: 68,000
Average salary: $54,067

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16. Subway operators

Total employees: 11,300
Average salary: $54,471

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15. Petroleum pump operators

Total employees: 41,700
Average salary: $54,492

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14. Boilermakers

Total employees: 17,210
Average salary: $54,942

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13. Solar energy installation managers

Total employees: 496,370
Average salary: $55,598

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12. Cartographers

Total employees: 11,610
Average salary: $55,932

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11. Mechanics supervisors

Total employees: 434,810
Average salary: $56,133

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10. Aerospace engineering technicians

Total employees: 11,230
Average salary: $58,961

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9. Gas plant operators

Total employees: 16,320
Average salary: $59,388

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8. Landscape architects

Total employees: 18,110
Average salary: $60,696

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7. Transportation inspectors

Total employees: 24,350
Average salary: $62,018

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6. Power-line installers

Total employees: 114,540
Average salary: $62,094

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5. Power plant operators

Total employees: 40,300
Average salary: $62,908

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4. Water vessel captains

Total employees: 30,690
Average salary: $63,032

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3. Powerhouse equipment installers

Total employees: 22,120
Average salary: $67,128

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2. Elevator installers

Total employees: 20,590
Average salary: $68,792

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1. Power distributors

Total employees: 11,180
Average salary: $73,446

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