11 High-Paying Blue Collar Jobs with Mike Rowe

Chemical Plant Operator

Median annual salary: $40,473

Chemical plant operators, who supervise the mostly-automated equipment that produces adhesives, paints, medicines, synthetics and other chemicals, typically work in environments that are hot, loud, smelly and potentially toxic.

Fortunately, chemical plant operators rarely need a Silkwood Shower.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that chemical manufacturing plants have some of the lowest injury rates in the U.S. thanks to stringent and heavily monitored safety regulations.

On-the-job training is typically given to high school graduates.