Best Jobs for Adrenaline Junkies

Written ByMaryalene LaPonsie
Table of Contents

Do you love heights? Are you a thrill-seeking adventurer? Well, you may be an adrenaline junkie, and as it turns out, there's no need to wait until the weekend to get your rush. We've rounded up 15 blue-collar jobs that could be a great career choice for those who like to walk on the wild side.

Don't let the term blue-collar throw you off either. While it may help to be big and burly for some of these positions, these aren't low-level minimum-wage jobs. Our definition of blue-collar is a job that you can get without a four-year degree, and specifically one in which you work with your hands and/or some type of machinery.

So buckle in and take a look at our collection of jobs for adrenaline junkies, listed in no particular order.

  1. Explosives workers
  2. Commercial divers
  3. Fishers
  4. Wellhead pumpers
  5. Boilermakers
  6. Glaziers
  7. Hazardous materials removal workers
  8. Sailors and marine oilers
  9. Crane and tower operators
  10. Earth drillers
  11. Wind turbine service techs
  12. Riggers
  13. Welders
  14. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
  15. Commercial pilots

1: Explosives workers


Photo credit: @waclaw25

Really, what could be better for adrenaline junkies than a job blowing stuff up?

Explosives workers are the pros behind all those amazing demolition videos you see on YouTube. Beyond taking down buildings, they may work in mining operations, transport hazardous materials or create pyrotechnics for the film industry.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 7.1%
  • Average salary (2016): $54,580

2: Commercial divers


Photo credit: @peter_mann_

Break out the sledgehammers and welding equipment, because these divers aren't here for sight-seeing. Commercial divers are often employed by companies to maintain underwater equipment such as that used by offshore oil and gas platforms. Others may work for the military on naval ships or be employed in HAZMAT situations where they need to handle potentially hazardous materials.

Not only do commercial divers have the potential to make good money, but they are also high on our list of blue-collar jobs for adrenaline junkies when it comes to job growth.

  • Education: Vocational education or associate degree
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 10.8%
  • Average salary (2016): $53,990

3: Fishers

Commercial fisher

Photo credit: Getty Images

Keeping up with the water motif, you could opt to sail the high seas specifically for a job as a fisher. It might not seem accessible to all, but you might be surprised to hear you can sometimes find fisher positions somewhat inland, away from the nation’s coastlines. Rivers and even lake areas large enough to support the trade could house employment opportunities.

There’s likely to be some adrenaline pumping at times, what with a gig so physical – you could be steering vessels, maintaining engines, and sorting and packing fish throughout your day, among other tasks. Chances are you are moving about frequently in sometimes-harsh conditions, and stay sharp because you’ll need a strong ability to communicate with others for smoother sailing when team-related tasks are required.

  • Education: High school diploma or less
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 11%
  • Average salary (2016): $30,740

4: Wellhead pumpers


Photo credit: @exprogroup

Wellhead pumpers are one of the many workers that are out over a gas and oil field, helping to bring up that liquid gold.

As a wellhead pumper, it's your responsibility to keep that high-pressure pump humming along correctly. Make a wrong move, and the whole works could, quite literally, blow up in your face.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 21.7%
  • Average salary (2016): $50,730

5: Boilermakers


Photo credit: @nune44

Who wouldn't want to install and maintain giant, pressurized containers full of steaming hot liquid? Because that's exactly what boilermakers do.

These workers get paid good money to assemble and maintain boilers. They may also create vats that store chemicals, oil and even beer. It's a dangerous job, but somebody's got to do it… especially if we want beer.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 9%
  • Average salary (2016): $62,200

6: Glaziers


Photo credit: @sosapower562

Glaziers don't exactly have the type of job you hear about every day, but you probably see their work every day. They install windows, skylights and other glass products.

This may not sound like something that belongs on a list of jobs for adrenaline junkies but be prepared. If you're on scaffolding 20 stories up trying to install windows, your heart is likely going to start pumping. Of course, other glaziers work closer to the ground and may specialize in glass products designed for home installation rather than commercial use.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 10.5%
  • Average salary (2016): $47,260

7: Hazardous materials removal workers


Photo credit: @teamdecon

With a high school diploma and a lot of on-the-job learning, you could land a gig cleaning up asbestos, arsenic and nuclear waste. Sounds like fun, right?

Hazardous materials removal workers are the HAZMAT team called in when things go horribly wrong and something dangerous needs to be removed. They contain the area, neutralize the threat and then take it away. While it may not sound appealing to some, this gig is necessary to ensure the safety of all when disaster strikes.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 17.2%
  • Average salary (2016): $45,500

8: Sailors and Marine Oilers


Photo credit: @coppolani_j

Oh, the sailor's life is the life for me. With above-average job growth projected for the coming years, it might be the life for you too.

Sailors have many different responsibilities, including ship maintenance, watching for obstructions and using cargo-handling equipment. While a high school diploma will do education-wise, you may also need a government certification for certain jobs in this field.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 7.6%
  • Average salary (2016): $46,170

9: Crane and tower operators


Photo credit: @womenincranes

Crane and tower operators not only have to contend with heights, they are also responsible for some massive machinery. They operate mechanical boom/tower and cable equipment to lift and move heavy material.

These workers often work in the construction industry, water transportation, mining or manufacturing. If you're not afraid to get your hands dirty, this could be a job for you.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 8.6%
  • Average salary (2016): $55,280

10: Earth drillers


Photo credit: @drillerdusty

Earth drillers do pretty much what you'd expect -- they use big machines and work in a noisy environment. And they dig some of the biggest holes you've ever seen.

They may drill wells, take soil samples or work in mining operations. Sometimes, they may even get to use explosives. Note that the data for this job is centered around earth drillers who do not work within the oil and gas industries; yes, there are other uses for earth drillers.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 19.6%
  • Average salary (2016): $51,240

11: Wind turbine service techs


Photo credit: @jayvege

Working up to 260 feet off the ground, wind turbine service techs have a job that's not for the faint of heart. It is, however, one of the perfect blue-collar jobs for adrenaline junkies—and check out that job growth!

Technicians climb towers to perform inspections and may not only find themselves high in the sky but over deep water as well since many wind farms are located offshore. These professionals need specific education so they can troubleshoot and repair turbine problems, but no college degree is required.

  • Education: Two-year technical program
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 96.3%
  • Average salary (2016): $54,360

12: Riggers


Photo credit: @dasp77

Riggers do just what the name says: they set up rigging equipment. You know what rigging equipment is, right? In the olden days, rigging was a system of ropes, wires and pulleys, but today the word refers to almost anything used to lift heavy objects and loads.

Pros in the field may be employed on construction sites, shipyards, manufacturing plants and in the logging industry. Some even work in Hollywood to rig up film equipment and set designs. Wherever they work, riggers typically get to play with big toys in the form of heavy machinery.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 9.8%
  • Average salary (2016): $49,030

13: Welders


Photo credit: @djshelly09

If you love to work with your hands and have a fondness for pyrotechnics, then welding could be the job for you. But fair warning from the experienced ones: You will burn yourself.

There are all sorts of ways to weld, but each one results in liquid metal. What adrenaline junkie could say no to that? Welders use their skills in fusing together metals to work on everything from factory equipment to custom motorcycles.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 5.6%
  • Average salary (2016): $42,450

14: Electrical power-line installers and repairers


Photo credit: @canucklineman

Electrical power-line installers and repairers may have some of the best elements of danger and intrigue. You get heights, heavy equipment, potentially dangerous working conditions, and of course, you get to handle high-voltage wires.

Linemen and women get trained on the job to help them master all aspects of power-line maintenance. Once you get good, don't miss out on the chance to head to the International Lineman's Rodeo and Expo where you can show off your skills.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 13.9%
  • Average salary (2016): $67,160

15: Commercial pilots


Photo credit: @jthtexasbase

While not strictly blue-collar, commercial pilots still make our list because they work with machinery, heights, and can get the job without a college degree. Some may also consider pilots to be a white-collar profession, but regardless, their jobs are certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Commercial pilots need a commercial pilot's license and then they can fly chartered flights and helicopters although adrenaline junkies may gravitate more toward jobs that involve search and rescue, firefighting or emergency evacuations. Later, if you decide you want to fly one of the really big jets, you could become an airline pilot. However, you'll need a bachelor's degree for that.

  • Education: High school diploma
  • Projected job growth (2016-2026): 3.8%
  • Average salary (2016): $86,260

That's it for our list! Did we miss any jobs that you think would be great for adrenaline junkies? Please let us know. Also, check out list of vocational programs here.