10 jobs for people who love working with their hands
Get ready to roll up your sleeves and dig in to these careers.
If you’re among the many people who love the idea of working with their hands, know that there are scientific reasons to explain that satisfaction. After all, having a job that produces a tangible object—evidence of a job well done—somehow feels like you’re being more productive than if you were to tap on a keyboard all day long. Plus, your skills and accomplishments are visible for everyone to admire.
Though technology has done much to replace good old-fashioned elbow grease, there are still plenty of manual labor jobs out there that require a human touch. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Monster rounded up 10 careers that could use a hand—preferably two.
What you’d do: The things we see so often that we take them for granted—furniture, doors, walls, roofs, cabinets—all start out as raw material, typically wood. Carpenters take that wood, then measure, cut, shape, assemble, and put the finishing touches on it, bringing it to life.
What you’d need: There are no formal education requirements. Many learn the trade through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. View a sample resume for a carpenter.
What it pays: $46,590 per year
Find carpenter jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Casino dealers dole out the cards and/or chips at table games like blackjack, craps, and roulette, serving as the face and hands of Lady Luck—both good and bad.
What you’d need: A high-school degree or equivalent and great interpersonal skills are the minimum. Some casino roles may require a college degree.
What it pays: $22,810 per year
Find casino dealer jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Chefs chop, slice, season, cook and arrange humble ingredients into divine meals for restaurant patrons. Not to be outshined, bakers measure, knead, shape and decorate a dizzying variety of breads, pastries, cakes, cookies and other delights that we love to eat (with our hands, usually).
What you’d need: Some chefs and bakers get a formal education that can include college or culinary school, but the work can also be learned on the job.
What it pays: $48,460 per year for chefs; $26,520 per year for bakers
What you’d do: If you love to tinker with gadgets and enjoy home repair, electrical work might offer the kind of manual labor jobs that'll spark your interest. Electricians install, maintain, and repair power systems, running power lines, and hard-wiring them for homes and businesses, giving us the juice needed to keep the lights on.
What you’d need: An apprenticeship or technical school is a standard expectation. Most states require licensing. View a sample resume for an electrician.
What it pays: $55,190 per year
Find electrician jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: You know how great you feel when you have a good-hair day? Hairstylists give that joy to everyone they service. Like an artist whose medium is hair, you’ll wash, color, cut, and style a person’s ’do to sheer perfection.
What you’d need: All states require licensure, which generally calls for graduation from an accredited barber or cosmetology program and passage of a state exam. View a sample resume for a hairstylist.
What it pays: $24,830 per year
Find hairstylist jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: If you’ve ever had a massage, you know just how revered the hands of a masseuse are. That’s because of the techniques massage therapists use in order to apply pressure to the muscles and soft tissues of the human body to heal injuries, improve circulation, and relieve pain. Ahhh.
What you’d need: Standards and requirements vary, but in most cases you’ll need a postsecondary education with at least 500 hours of study and experience. Most states require licensure or certification. View a sample resume for a massage therapist.
What it pays: $39,990 per year
Find massage therapist jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: From performing routine oil changes to diagnosing and repairing major issues, mechanics keep their hands busy by performing maintenance on all parts of a vehicle. Get ready to get greasy.
What you’d need: Postsecondary education such as at a technical school is often expected, as is industry certification. View a sample resume for an auto mechanic.
What it pays: $39,550 per year
Find mechanic jobs on Monster.
Sign language interpreter
What you’d do: Let your fingers do the talking, and turn spoken words into American Sign Language for the hearing impaired. Sign language interpreters can work at conferences, in schools or hospitals, and at live events.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree and fluency in American Sign Language and English are usually the minimum.
What it pays: $49,930 per year
Find sign language interpreter jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Make sure the show goes on by playing the defining behind-the-scenes role. Often trained as carpenters, designers, or painters, stagehands build and maintain set decorations for theatrical productions, and they move those decorations on and off stage between scenes.
What you’d need: There are no formal education or licensure requirements for these types of manual labor jobs, with most skills learned via on-the-job training. Basic woodworking and crafts/painting skills may be required for preparation of on-stage items, and physical strength for moving items quickly and quietly during a performance is a standard expectation.
What it pays: $17.54 per hour
Find stagehand jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: What a carpenter is to wood, a welder is to metal. Welders can work in a number of industries, including construction and shipbuilding, harnessing the power of white-hot torches to create or repair metal objects and structures. Some of them even work underwater, making repairs on offshore oil platforms and pipelines.
What you’d need: A high-school diploma plus technical school or on-the-job training. View a sample resume for a welding supervisor.
What it pays: $41,380 per year
Find welder jobs on Monster.
Give your career a hand
As you can see, there are plenty of ways your hands can earn you a living, but before you can put them to work, you need them to team up with your brain to get the job. Could you use some polish of the professional kind? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your cover letter and resume—each tailored to different types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent to your inbox as soon as positions become available. Think of Monster as a strong foundation on which to build a great career.