Hands-On Jobs That Pay Well: 24 GREAT Jobs For Right Now

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Hands-On Jobs That Pay Well

If you are one of those people who prefer to be able to see a direct result of their work, hands-on careers are a perfect option.

These careers can provide you with a high level of fulfillment daily.

That is one of the main reasons why there are so many people who give preference to practical careers and are really passionate about it.

Also, it can be a really fun, interesting, and creative option.

Moreover, working in this sphere, you are going not only fix various things but also help people around you.

Career, Short-Term Training, Options

It should be mentioned that a hands-on career can provide you with a great level of job security.

The reason is that most of these careers are in big demand and cannot be outsourced or replaced by modern technologies.

For example, any community needs nurses, police officers, and auto mechanics and it is impossible to replace these specialists somehow.

Also, you should know that in most cases you don’t need to spend years and thousands of dollars on your training.

In fact, you can complete your training and obtain a well-paid practical career just in one or two years.

The best practical career options are those offered in the health care and trade industries.

Below, you can find the list of 24 hands-on careers in various categories that can guaranty you some good income.

Also, you can find info about salary rates and career outlook for each job.

Health and Veterinary Care

Dental Hygienist

If you want to enter a high-paying hands-on career in the medical field, you should consider becoming a dental hygienist.

The training lasts for about 2-3 years and after it, you can start working as an assistant dentist as well as providing some services to clients.

Usually, these specialists perform such duties as cleaning and caring for teeth, oral exams, taking x-rays and developing them.

Also, they may perform some administrative responsibilities.

  • Average annual salary —$51,930 to $101,820 or higher
  • New job openings—40,900
  • Typical entry-level education—Associate degree

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

One other hands-on medical career is an ultrasound technician.

These specialists use sonography to perform various diagnostic procedures.

It is an important job, as these workers help doctors and other healthcare specialists to reveal, diagnose, and track patients’ diseases and state of health.

Usually, ultrasound technicians deal with various patients that can include pregnant women, people with heart or liver concerns, and so on.

It means that working in this sphere you should be able to communicate and interact with various people.

Also, these specialists make records and reports after finishing screening.

  • Average annual salary —$51,430 to $100,480 or higher
  • New job openings—15,600
  • Typical entry-level education—Associate degree

Occupational or Physical Therapy Assistant

As you may already suggest, there are lots of hands-on jobs in the medical sphere and occupational and physical therapy assistant is one of them.

Moreover, this career option can provide you with one of the best salaries.

It should be mentioned that this career requires only some short-term training that can be completed just in two years.

Physical and occupational therapists help people who have injures and need rehabilitation.

However, when it comes to physical therapy, it focuses on injury and condition issues.

At the same time, occupational therapy pays attention to patients’ functional abilities and aims to improve them.

As you can see there is a lot in common however there are some significant differences.

Occupational therapy assistants usually support patients helping them with recovering, rehabilitation, and adaption.

In other words, they help people to continue to function in their everyday life.

Speaking of physical therapy assistants, they treat patients and help them to recover, manage pain, and return to daily life.

Also, these specialists may educate patients and manage their medical records.

  • The average annual salary for occupational therapy assistants—$39,620 to $80,980 or higher
  • The average annual salary for physical therapy assistants—$33,780 to $79,810 or higher
  • New job openings for occupational therapy assistants—11,400
  • New job openings for physical therapy assistants—27,400
  • Typical entry-level education—Associate degree


Career, Short-Term Training, Nurse

If you aren’t sure whether it is possible to get a good-paying, hands-on medical job in high demand with just some short training, you should know it is possible if you are interested in a nursing career.

You can become an LPN or an RN after completing a training program that lasts for less than 2 years and obtaining a certification.

Both these types of nurses provide care services for patients in various environments.

The point is that RNs usually have a higher level of responsibilities and, of course, have higher salaries.

In fact, you can start working as an LPN and later advance your training and get some career promotion becoming an RN.

  • The average annual salary for RNs—$50,800 to $106,530 or higher
  • The average annual salary for LPNs—$33,680 to $62,160
  • New job openings for RNs—438,100
  • New job openings for LPNs—88,900
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary diploma

Veterinary Technician

If you like animals and want to help them, a veterinary technician career is a perfect option for you.

You can complete your training just in 1 or 2 years and after it, you’ll be able to work with vets and take care of various animals.

Usually, veterinary technicians provide emergency first aid, assist vets during surgeries and other procedures, give medications, collect lab samples and test them, take care of sick and injured animals, and even make x-ray testings.

You should know that there are lots of career options as these specialists are required in animal clinics, vet hospitals, and other related facilities.

  • Average annual salary—$23,490 to $50,010 or higher
  • New job openings—20,400
  • Typical entry-level education—Associate degree


If you are ready to work in a fast-paced and stressful environment, a paramedic career can be a perfect fit for you.

It also should be mentioned that this career option is absolutely rewarding.

Working as an emergency medical technician (EMT), you are going to provide some first aid to patients in various emergency situations.

During your training, you’ll learn how to manage an emergency scene, give rescue breathing, assess shock, and even provide IV and other types of life-saving treatments.

Also, these specialists take care of patients and make sure they are safe until they reach a hospital.

It is a perfect career for anyone who looks for a hands-on occupation in the medical sphere.

  • Average annual salary—$22,760 to $58,640 or higher
  • New job openings—37,400
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Massage Therapist

If you want to literally use your hands in order to make people feel better, massage therapist career is a perfect option for you.

These specialists use their skills to help people recover, reduce pain, relax, relieve tension and stress.

Applying for a short-term training program, you’ll be able to learn various massage techniques including stone therapy, reflexology, Swedish, infant, and tissue massage.

Usually, your training may take about two years.

After it, you can start working as a registered massage therapist (RTM) in spas, resorts, clinics, cruise ships and even open your own practice.

  • Average annual salary—$21,340 to $78,280 or higher
  • New job openings—42,100
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Skilled Trades, Technology, and Law Enforcement

Wind Turbine Technician

Green technologies become really important nowadays and wind turbines are one of the leading ones in this sphere.

Considering the growing popularity of this sphere, there is a great demand for qualified specialists so it can be a good idea to become a wind turbine technician.

Also, this career involves lots of traveling as wind turbines are installed, maintained and repaired in various regions.

Just keep in mind that you should be able to climb on the top of these constructions to hold inspections.

Also, wind turbine technicians troubleshoot different related problems, fix and repair various systems, and even replace some parts of a structure.

One other point is that you need just a little training in order to enroll in this career.

  • Average annual salary—$37,780 to $83,560 or higher
  • New job openings—5,600
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Police Officer

One other highly ranked hands-on career is a police officer.

These specialists occupy active roles in the law enforcement sphere.

Police officer’s responsibilities include catching lawbreakers and making a community safe.

Also, they patrol streets and investigate various crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, money laundry, and fraud.

To be able to work in this sphere, you need to meet some specific criteria and complete a short-term training program.

After completing your training, you’ll be able to apply for one of the numerous career options in the field as well as advance it in the future.

  • Average annual salary—$35,750 to $101,620 or higher
  • New job openings—47,800
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate and police academy training

Mechanical Engineering Technician

If you are interested in engineering and want to work together with mechanical engineers, you should consider becoming a mechanical engineering technician.

Usually, these specialists help engineers with such issues as design, manufacturing, and production of different mechanical devices.

In most cases, technicians work on bringing designs created by engineers to life.

Also, they build, check and maintain such items as generators, engines, and turbines.

Moreover, they need to be able to analyze and perform the results of tests in an appropriate, clear manner in order to make it easier to improve products.

If you like various mechanisms and look for an exciting hands-on career, this option is a perfect fit for you.

  • Average annual salary—$34,900 to $85,430 or higher
  • New job openings—2,300
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate or diploma

Heavy Equipment Mechanic

If you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty and interested in mechanisms, heavy equipment mechanic can be an ideal career for you.

These specialists work with heavy-duty equipment, machinery, and engines.

Also, they may work on brake and fuel lines, electrical components, and hydraulics.

Moreover, they deal with different systems and parts of bulldozers, tractors, railway engines, and other heavy machines.

You should know that this career involves lots of fieldwork.

Usually, these specialists go-to oil fields, farms, rail yards, coal mines, as well as logging and construction sites.

Speaking of employment options, you have an opportunity to get a job at a company or a governmental organization.

In some cases, you can even work on your own.

  • Average annual salary—$33,910 to $76,600 or higher
  • New job openings—14,900
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate


An electrician’s career is a 100% hands-on job.

Also, it is one of the most highly paid and required careers in the trade sphere.

Just keep in mind that you need to be a qualified and skillful worker if you want to be a successful electrician.

If you want to get a good job in this sphere, you need to enroll in a short-term training program.

It will allow you to develop some essential skills you’ll need during your work.

After completing your training, you need to get your certification.

The list of electrician’s responsibilities includes such points as servicing, installing, and repairing various electrical systems in different facilities.

  • Average annual salary—$32,940 to $94,620 or higher
  • New job openings—59,600
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Commercial Diver

A commercial diver is one of the best career options for those who are interested in a hands-on job (becoming a truck driver guide).

It is a great opportunity to experience some adventures, excitement, and traveling.

Applying for this career, you may not only travel around the world but also perform different underwater works in lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Usually, these specialists create underwater constructions and perform their inspections, maintenance, recovery, and so on.

The most popular employment options include oil and gas companies but of course, there are lots of other options.

There is also an opportunity to start working as a HAZMAT or naval diver.

  • Average annual salary—$30,810 to $108,170 or higher
  • New job openings—400
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Computer Support Technician

There are lots of career options in the IT field and computer support is one of the best jobs for those who are interested in a hands-on career.

Modern companies and organizations use computers and they need qualified specialists who can make networks and systems work properly.

These specialists are responsible for computers and network maintenance and repair.

Working in this sphere, you need to choose your specialization – a user or network support.

However, there is a chance that you’ll be obliged to perform both of these duties that depends on your employer.

If you are interested in this career, you should consider applying for a short-term computer technician training.

  • Average annual salary—$38,270 to $105,770 or higher
  • New job openings—88,500
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary diploma or associate degree

HVAC Technician

Our homes, as well as various buildings, are equipped with various systems including climate control and airflow.

These systems are especially important in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations during the summer and winter months.

HVAC technicians are specialists that maintain these systems including ventilation, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems

HVAC technician’s main responsibility is to make sure that everything works smoothly and temperatures are appropriate.

To be able to work in this sphere, you just need to complete some short training.

During your training, you’ll learn how to install, repair, and maintain climate systems.

  • Average annual salary—$29,460 to $76,230 or higher
  • New job openings—48,800
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Truck Driver

If you are passionate about driving and like huge cars, a truck driver career is a perfect option for you.

These professionals are very important in modern society as they move goods to different places all over the country.

In fact, it is truck drivers who deliver the most number of goods from manufacturers to sellers.

A truck driver is not only should transport goods, but he is also responsible for goods safety.

Also, they need to deliver everything and time and take care of their vehicles.

  • Average annual salary—$28,160 to $65,260 or higher
  • New job openings—108,400
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate


Career, Short-Term Training, Welder

Welders are specialists who create metal structures using their knowledge, skills, and special equipment.

Qualified welders are required in such spheres as cars and ships manufacturing, electronics building, roads and bridges construction.

Applying for a training program in this sphere, you’ll learn about welding methods and tools, equipment maintenance and blueprint reading.

After completing short-term training, you can find employment in such spheres as aerospace technology, automobile manufacturing, construction, mining, and shipbuilding.

  • Average annual salary—$28,560 to $63,740 or higher
  • New job openings—22,500
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Automotive or Diesel Mechanic

When it comes to hands-on jobs the first thing that comes to mind is mechanical work.

Also, considering the number of vehicles in the modern world, it is absolutely clear why diesel mechanics are in high demand nowadays.

If you are interested in this career option, you need to complete a short-term training program.

You need about two years of training to become a certified mechanic.

In fact, it is a perfect opportunity to apply for a career you are passionate about.

During your training, you’ll learn how to deal with gas and diesel engines, various tools and technologies required for your job.

  • Average annual salary—$23,420 to $72,180 or higher
  • New job openings—71,700
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Design, Media Arts, Beauty, and Culinary Careers

Fashion Designer

If you are passionate about fashion and want to have a hands-on career, a fashion designer is exactly what you need.

To be able to enroll in this career, you need just three years of training.

After completing your training, you’ll be able to create some amazing designs and bring them to the masses.

In most cases, there is a great chance to get a job at a big fashion company.

However, you can also use the Internet and offer your clothes to customers on your own.

As you can see, there are lots of career options for fashion designers.

Moreover, after obtaining some experience you even may be able to design your own clothes and accessories apparel.

  • Average annual salary—$36,420 to $155,470 or higher
  • New job openings—600
  • Typical entry-level education—Associate degree

Restaurant Manager

Active, sociable personalities with great leadership and communication skills may enjoy working in a restaurant.

Working as a restaurant manager, you are going to deal with both clients and staff members.

As a manager, you need to make sure that everything works smoothly including kitchen and dining areas.

Also, restaurant managers order supplies, handle various problems, decide on schedule and budget, and even resolve staff issues.

In fact, restaurant managers can be responsible for almost everything that may influence a restaurant’s performance.

And of course, there is a variety of career options that differs significantly.

  • Average annual salary—$31,580 to $92,410 or higher
  • New job openings—27,600
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate or diploma

Sound Engineering Technician

People who are passionate about music and interested in modern technologies should consider becoming sound engineering technicians.

These specialists usually work in studios and at live events in order to make sure that everything is good with sound.

They set up and take down all the required equipment, take care of sound quality, record audio and synchronize it with videos.

Also, sound engineering technicians may convert various audio formats.

To be able to work as a sound engineering technician, you need to obtain a bunch of important skills.

Among the most popular career opportunities are jobs in motion picture and video production, radio and TV broadcasting, sound record, art performing industries.

  • Average annual salary—$25,680 to $117,600 or higher
  • New job openings—1,100
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate or diploma


If you are not only passionate about but also very skillful in cooking, the career of a chef can be a great option for you.

To become a professional chef you just need to complete 2 years of training.

During your training, you’ll be able to obtain a bunch of culinary skills.

After obtaining some experience, you’ll be able to get a better position and even become a head chef.

Also, there is always an opportunity to start your own business and open a restaurant.

  • Average annual salary—$26,320 to $81,150 or higher
  • New job openings—14,100
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate or diploma

Makeup Artist

Career, Short-Term Training, Makeup Artist

Makeup artist career is a perfect option for creative people interested in makeup application.

These professionals use a variety of professional cosmetics to make makeup for their clients in various settings.

Usually, makeup artists work in beauty salons however there are professionals who travel around the world to help with makeup issues during fashion shows, photoshoots, TV and movie production.

Also, they can help celebrities with their makeup or offer mobile services for bridal parties.

As you can see, there is a whole variety of career options for makeup artists all over the world.

  • Average annual salary—$22,460 to $130,710 or higher
  • New job openings—600
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate

Skin Care Specialist

After just a year of training, you’ll be able to start working as a skin care specialist.

This career provides a variety of job offers as well as some great earning possibilities.

Also, this career is really rewarding as you are going to help your clients become more beautiful and self-confident.

These specialists usually perform such duties as facials, waxing, body wraps, aromatherapy, exfoliation, and acne and eczema treatments.

In most cases, skin care specialists work in salons, spas, resorts however you can also get a career in some medical based establishments.

  • Average annual salary—$19,330 to $59,790 or higher
  • New job openings—8,500
  • Typical entry-level education—Post-secondary certificate


As you can see there are numerous great hands-on careers and we hope you’ve been able to choose the one you like.

You can get your training and obtain the required skills with just a little training.

It is a great opportunity to get a great career and guarantee some bright future for yourself.

Just choose the option you like and get your training!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest paying hands-on job?

One of the highest paying jobs that involve hands-on work is that of a dental hygienist.

People in this job make between $54,000 and $104,000, and it does not take a four-year college degree to get started.

Many of them are freelancers dentists and have a lot of control over their hours and how much they make.

Hygienists clean and care for teeth and assist a dentist in doing his job.

What jobs are the most hands-on?

The job of an electrician is almost all hands-on type activity, and the job pays very well.

You can become an electrician without a college degree and it is possible to start your own business.

Heavy equipment operators and mechanics, as well as drivers, welders, and auto mechanics, are all jobs that involve a lot of hands-on activity.

What jobs are hands-on with animals?

Veterinary-type jobs are very hands-on with animals.

Vet techs and vet assistants do all their work with animals at vet clinics, and these pay relatively well.

A groomer, pet sitter, or dog walker are also jobs that involve animals but do not pay as well.

Animal control officers, as well as conservation and forest managers, work less directly with animals, but it is still a big part and pays even better.

Are massage therapists happy with their jobs?

Work surveys show that massage therapists are very happy with their work in general.

In one survey 88 percent said they were satisfied, or very satisfied with their job.

In similar studies, 51 percent of people are happy in their job, regardless of what the job is, so massage therapists may be happier than most people in their job.

Do nurses have any hands-off jobs?

In general, nurses are in a very hands-on type of job, but there are some nursing-type jobs where there is little hands-on activity.

Jobs in managing other nurses, often in a hospital setting, is one example of being a nurse and not very hands-on.

Nursing instructors are also not as hands-on as nurses who work with patients.

Case managers, and legal nurse consultants, are two more jobs that are not directly related to patient care.

What are some hands on engineering jobs?

Aviation engineers who work on airplane engines are very hands-on and do a lot of the work on the engine themselves.

Many areas of aviation involve a lot of hands-on work for engineers.

Environmental science, biology, civil engineering, and environmental science are other areas where engineers might have a lot of hands-on work.

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