Introverts have several fantastic options when it comes to trade careers that do not require a college degree. In many cases, introversion is an asset.
First, let’s look at the top 10 blue-collar jobs for introverts, then we will discuss what makes them a great fit.
The top 10 jobs that introverts will love in no particular order are:
- Landscape designer
- Auto mechanic
- Truck driver
- Elevator repairman
- Pipeline welder
- Motorcycle mechanic
- Train conductor
- Garbage Collector
- Heavy equipment operator
Some people mistakenly believe that introverts lack social skills, but this is not true. Instead, introverts tend to be exhausted by crowds and prolonged social interaction. They feel energized by solitary pursuits such as reading, cooking, creating art, and exercising. Introverts also tend to value a few very close relationships over a vast number of friendly acquaintances.
Many introverts excel at work that requires careful, methodical, and prolonged attention. This makes them ideal trade professionals, especially in jobs that demand attention to detail.
Clients want someone reliable for delicate tasks where their safety is at stake, such as when they need a worker to fix their motorcycle, repair their elevator, or operate their heavy machinery.
Read on for details on the best jobs for introverts, including salary information, job requirements, and in-demand skills. Keep in mind that every job requires some level of face-to-face interaction, but these lines of work all give introverts opportunities to shine.
Landscape designers improve the natural beauty of the world around them. Professionals may work on new construction or remodels and at residential sites, commercial properties, or public land like parks.
These jobs do not usually require a college degree, though individuals may pursue certifications or training in arboriculture, horticulture, and design. They may also find more work opportunities by joining a professional organization or completing certifications in the safe handling of chemicals such as pesticides.
Landscape designers are like artists in that they have the opportunity to create beautiful things, though they work with trees and flowers rather than oils and marble. This provides introverts a chance to work independently. They will have to comply with their clients’ requests and collaborate with other contractors, planners, and developers. Landscape designers also have to be aware of planning and zoning regulations on large projects like office parks, new subdivisions, or community parks.
The average annual salary for landscape designers is about $49,000.
A career as an auto mechanic is the perfect job for introverts who are good at solving problems and working with their hands.
Cars have gotten more and more complex over the years. Automakers have introduced more safety features, electronics, and on-board computer elements. Auto mechanics are like doctors in that they must first diagnose the problem with the car then work out the most effective way to make a repair.
Being an auto mechanic is an excellent job for introverts because it involves analytical skills and attention to detail. At the same time, most auto mechanics work independently or in small teams. In many positions, auto mechanics work behind the scenes and do not directly interact with customers very much.
Mechanics may find work at an auto body shop or a dealership. Large companies and government agencies that operate fleets of vehicles often hire their own mechanics, as well.
Salaries for auto mechanics vary widely depending on location, experience, and type of work. On average, mechanics can expect to make about $20 or $21 per hour.
Truck drivers transport goods, often over long distances. Others work locally in roles such as tow truck operators.
More than most careers, working as a trucker is a lifestyle choice. Truck drivers on long-distance runs may spend days or weeks at a time away from home. That may scare off extroverts but might appeal to introverts. Time on the road can be time spent listening to music or catching up on audiobooks.
Truck drivers do not need a college education but do need to secure a commercial driver’s license. Some basic mechanical knowledge is also handy. When looking for work, remember that some truckers just drive, while others need to help load or unload goods. This job could require a certain amount of physical ability, depending on the material.
Driving a truck is one of the best jobs for introverts because it is a mostly solitary profession. It is also essential. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the occupation will grow by about 30,600 jobs between 2019 and 2029.
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earned an average of about $45,000 in 2019.
Welding is a valuable profession in construction, manufacturing, and the auto industry, just to name a few. Welders use a variety of special equipment to bind pieces of metal together. The most common practice, arc welding, uses electricity to generate enormous amounts of heat to fuse surfaces.
If you are interested in a career as a welder, you may also consider work as a cutter, solderer, or brazer. All are specialists who use superheated tools to trim, shape, and connect metals. Welders and related professionals usually pursue a variety of technical and on-the-job training.
Welding is a good line of work for introverts.
Not a lot of talking happens behind a welder’s mask. The job requires careful attention to detail, which is often a strength of introverts. Welders need to be accurate to make sure that they form their creations correctly and safely. Some, especially solderers, need to pay very close attention even when working on a small scale, such as with circuit boards.
Welding is not for everyone. Professionals work in a range of settings that may be cramped, exposed to the elements, or high off the ground.
Welders and related professionals earn an average of $20.50 per hour. While many trade professionals work extra hours, overtime is especially common in this line of work. Welders willing to put in the extra time can earn more per hour than some other jobs on this list after exceeding 40 hours in a given week.
While the field of elevator technicians is small, it is growing faster than many other jobs on this list as more buildings feature escalators and elevators.
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, elevator installation and repair professionals also make very good money, about $85,000 on average in 2019.
The trick is breaking into the industry. There are fewer than 30,000 elevator technicians in the U.S. A prospective technician must secure a four-year apprenticeship through a union, professional organization, or employer.
Elevator installation and repair are among the best jobs for introverts who have a mind for math and spatial reasoning. While elevator techs do not need to go to college, they must learn how to read blueprints, work with electronics, and demonstrate basic knowledge of physics during their apprenticeship. Most elevator installation and repair professionals must also secure licenses in the states where they work.
Introverts who put in the effort and commit to a lengthy apprenticeship get rewarded with an in-demand job with relatively few face-to-face responsibilities.
While most American welders work in manufacturing, trained professionals may be able to earn more money working on a pipeline. Pipeline welding presents its own challenges—namely, working outside in the heat and the cold, possibly for shifts of 12 hours or more.
Pipeline welders also have to travel to job sites, which could mean spending weeks away from home depending on the work.
However, in compensation for these drawbacks, specialty welding contractors earn on average $46,630 per year, about 13% more than welders in the manufacturing sector.
Benefits for introverts are similar for welders across the board—the work requires careful attention to detail, often at a small scale and over lengthy periods, which plays to introverts’ strengths.
The job market for welders is rising at pace with the rest of the workforce. If you are considering the armed services and are curious about job opportunities when your service is over, remember that the military often trains and hires welders.
Motorcycle mechanics may not always earn as much as professionals who work on cars and light trucks, but they can still earn a living wage doing what they love. If you are an introvert and a gearhead, consider taking a vocational school class in small engine repair.
Inexperienced job applicants with some technical school training are much more appealing to prospective employers. All motorcycle mechanics should expect to receive continuing on-the-job training, which allows mechanics to diversify their skills, learn more advanced techniques, and keep up with evolving technology.
Motorcycle maintenance and repair work can dry up a bit during cold months, so some professionals try to branch out into other types of small engine work such as snowmobiles and boats. Others work on power tools like lawnmowers and snow blowers. Some even work on fair rides and slot machines.
Professionals often seek manufacturers’ certifications to demonstrate their mastery of the mechanics of particular makes and models. As such, they can charge more for their services.
Salaries for small engine technicians vary widely. Motorcycle mechanics earned $37,600 on average in 2019, according to the U.S. government.
Introverts are not necessarily shy or socially awkward. Train conducting can be a good option for introverts who like some social interaction but still perform a good deal of work behind the scenes.
Conductors who work on passenger trains may help travelers buy tickets and navigate to their correct station. They also ensure that passengers behave themselves and can exit safely in the event of an emergency.
Conductors also coordinate the work of other rail staff, from engineers to switch operators to yardmasters. On freight trains, conductors oversee the safe load and unloading of the freight. Between stops, you would find ample quiet time.
Train conductors and yardmasters, who perform similar work at the station rather than aboard a train, earn about $66,000 per year. One caveat about rail work—the industry is shrinking. The change is slight but may be worth considering since other trade fields are growing.
You may have heard that garbage collectors can earn extremely high wages. While you probably won’t be zipping around in a Porsche in your off-hours, you can earn a living wage as a garbage collector without a lot of specialized training or a college degree.
Garbage collectors earn a little less than $38,000 per year, on average. The lowest-paid make less than $20,800, and the top 10% earn more than $46,000.
Garbage collectors must also work early hours, which may be good or bad depending on personal preferences. They also handle material that could be distasteful.
On the other hand, their work is vitally important to the community. The job is less back-breaking in many places than it once was due to increased reliance on vehicles with hydraulic lifts. Garbage collection can be an excellent job for an introvert because it does not require much interpersonal interaction with customers.
Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy equipment operators may learn their trade in the military, at vocational school, or on the job. During an on-the-job apprenticeship, equipment operators often start with smaller machinery before building their way up to cranes and bulldozers. Some states require operators to obtain special licenses to work on heavy equipment such as backhoes.
Equipment operators must be able to work with other team members on a job site. However, they perform much of the work individually or in small groups, making it suitable for introverts. Like other jobs on this list, this career requires mechanical aptitude and attention to detail, which are often introverts’ strengths.
If you are interested in becoming a heavy equipment operator, keep in mind that the work sometimes requires a fair bit of strength, coordination, and endurance.
Pile driver operators make especially good money, about $62,600 per year on average. Other heavy equipment operators earn somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, depending on the job and equipment they receive training to operate.