Whereas blue-collar workers are traditionally employed in physically demanding jobs in the manufacturing industry, white-collar employees generally perform administrative-type job roles in an office setting. Often, the distinction focuses on the education level of the worker, suggesting that white-collar workers are in those jobs because they achieved high-level academic credentials. When you drill into the detail, however, the education requirements for white-collar jobs range from high-school diploma to doctoral degrees. This means academic credentials aren't always an indicator of who qualifies for a white-collar job.
White Collar Jobs With a High School Diploma
With a high-school diploma in hand, white-collar job options include a corrections officer, an insurance claims adjuster and a police detective. In addition, many employers in industries such as fashion, retail sales and transportation provide on-the-job training for high-school graduates. The salaries are extremely decent considering you don't need a degree.
For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests an annual pay between $35,000 and $54,999 for food service managers. Transportation, storage and distribution managers earn more, around $75,000 on average, based on 2017 earnings data. Though the job growth rate for first-line supervisors of correctional officers is projected to decline through 2026, the typical salary for employees in this white-collar job is $55,000 to $74,999, again based on 2017 data. In May 2017, the median or "in the middle" annual wage for all workers was $37,690, so you can see how well these jobs compare.
White Collar Jobs With an Associate's Degree
If you have a two-year degree, there are numerous opportunities for a white-collar job, particularly in the health care industry. The BLS projects a faster-than-average growth rate through 2026 for occupational therapy and physical therapy assistants' jobs, both of which earn median wages of $55,000 to $74,999 per year based on 2017 data. Other jobs projected to grow much faster than average include diagnostic medical sonographers and dental hygienists, whose median salaries fall in the same range according to the BLS.
If the health care industry doesn't interest you, maybe the legal field or human resources field does. Human resources assistants with an associate's degree earn, on average, $35,000 to $54,999; however, the need for white-collar employees in this field is projected to decline between 2016 and 2026. On the other hand, BLS projects "much faster than average" job growth for paralegals and legal assistants during this period, and their earnings are the same, between $35,000 and $54,999 annually.
White Collar Jobs With a Bachelor's Degree
With a bachelor's degree, you may have opportunities for white-collar employment, but not necessarily better pay. For example, the median salary for middle-school and secondary-school teachers, where job growth is about average, is $55,000 to $74,999, according to BLS. The BLS projects much faster than average growth for cartographers, a white-collar job for which a bachelor's degree is generally required, and the 2017 median salary for workers in this position is also $55,000 to $74,999. The money gets hotter in the financial sector. Financial analysts with a bachelor's degree, for example, should experience faster than average job growth, and their median salaries start at $75,000 and up.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she earned both the SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), through the Society for Human Resource Management, and certification as athe Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) through the Human Resources Certification Institute. Ruth also is certified as a facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.