Can You Identify the Blue-Collar Job From a Short Description?


By: Anna Papachristos

7 Min Quiz

Image: sturti / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

From police officers to plumbers, blue-collar workers are everywhere. In fact, if you stop to consider all the jobs that fall under the "blue-collar" umbrella, it would be hard to imagine a world without these individuals and the essential services they provide every single day. But what differentiates these roles from those that don't fall into this particular category?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, blue-collar jobs are defined as "precision production, craft, and repair occupations" and "service occupations," such as "machine operators and inspectors; transportation and moving occupations; handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers and laborers." In simpler terms, these workers perform manual labor and skilled trades, usually for an hourly wage, across both the public and private sectors. These workers typically need strength or physical skill, as they are not tied to a desk like their white-collar, clerical counterparts.

Many blue-collar workers are also recognizable by their work attire. For instance, you can identify a mechanic by their greasy coveralls and you can discern construction workers by their reflective, orange vests.

But can you distinguish between blue-collar jobs using only a short description? Take this quiz to determine if you're as in-tune with the working class as you think!

Who's hired by contractors or government agencies to ensure a project's compliance with its specifications and statutory requirements?

These individuals are typically tasked with reviewing plans to ensure projects meet building codes, local ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications. They might also approve building plans that are satisfactory, as well as inspect plumbing, electrical, and other systems to ensure they are up to code.


What would you call the workers who install, maintain and repair many types of pipe systems, such as those in municipal water treatment plants, or residential, commercial, and public buildings?

Plumbers are critical when it comes to keeping your home or building functional. Plumbers install water filters, hot water systems, bathtubs, toilets, drainpipes and shower systems, while also maintaining and repairing the systems for which they're responsible.


Who's responsible for setting up and tending the machines that transform plastic compounds into consumer goods, such as toys and auto parts?

Plastic machine setters prepare the equipment necessary to create an array of goods prior to the production process. They often run tests to ensure these machines run smoothly so they can detect and prevent any issues during operation.


What would call those workers who install, inspect, test, adjust and/or repair the radar, radio, navigation and missile control systems found in aircraft or space vehicles?

Avionics technicians are essential for the effective installation and maintenance of aircraft communications equipment, as they're responsible for ensuring all systems meet FAA-mandated requirements. They also often help to design, test and calibrate electronic communication panels.


Which blue-collar job usually requires a three- or four-year apprenticeship to learn the skills needed to place and install the iron or steel construction materials that form buildings and bridges?

These individuals are responsible for laying out and fabricating the structural steel and sheet metal necessary to build metal structures. This means they must know how to weld and cut steel, interpret blueprints and work with concrete reinforcing steel bars to form an array of structures.


These tradesmen specialize in the electrical wiring of buildings, transmission lines, stationary machines and related equipment. Who are they?

Electricians install new electrical components and/or manage the maintenance and repair of a building's existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also specialize in wiring ships, airplanes and other mobile platforms, as well as data and cable lines.


These types of mechanics operate within the construction sector, installing and repairing the systems that allow people to travel up and down inside the structures they've helped create. Who are they?

Elevator installers and repairers, also called elevator constructors or elevator mechanics, assemble, install, maintain and replace elevators, escalators, chairlifts and moving walkways. Tasks often include reading and interpreting blueprints to determine the layout of system components, as well as the assembly of elevator cars and installing each car’s platform, walls and doors.


These individuals protect the citizens within their jurisdiction, upholding the law to ensure that criminals and violators are held accountable for their actions. Who are these people?

Law enforcement officers, commonly referred to as cops, focus on protecting people and property. They patrol the areas they are assigned, which sometimes include entire jurisdictions, respond to calls, enforce laws, make arrests, issue citations and occasionally testify in court cases.


What would you call those workers who drive and control rail-guided public transportation in order to transport passengers from Point A to Point B?

These transportation workers, who are usually employed by public transit authorities, operate subway or elevated suburban trains with no separate locomotive, or electric-powered streetcar, to transport passengers. They often collect fares and answer questions from passengers about schedules and routes, while also making public announcements as needed.


These commercial and industrial employees adjust, test, repair or install equipment, including industrial controls, transmitters and antennas. Who are they?

From telecommunications to transportation, these workers span industries, using their knowledge to prepare cost estimates for clients; refer to service guides, schematics, and manufacturer specifications; repair or replace defective parts, such as motors, fuses, or gaskets; and reassemble and test equipment after repairs.


Who's responsible for repairing and maintaining critical elements of an airplane, including its engines, landing gear, brakes and air-conditioning system?

Aircraft mechanics, also known as aircraft maintenance technicians, are individuals who hold an Airframe and/or Powerplant (A&P) certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They regularly inspect and perform or supervise maintenance, preventive maintenance and alteration of aircraft and aircraft systems.


These workers are specially trained and certified to aid victims of trauma or acute illness before and during transportation to a hospital or health care facility. Who are they?

EMTs generally work with mobile emergency response teams, such as ambulance or fire and rescue teams. However, some EMTs are employed in emergency rooms, while others are hired to be present at sporting events, camps or other locations where emergency response might be required at a moment's notice.


What would you call someone who's trained to extinguish hazardous fires that threaten life, property and the environment, as well as to rescue people and animals from dangerous situations?

While firefighters must know the basic skills of their profession--fire suppression, rescue, fire prevention, basic first aid and investigations--these individuals also frequently provide some degree of emergency medical service, in addition to working with full-time paramedics, as they work in conjunction with law enforcement officials to prevent deaths and injuries.


These individuals repair and maintain their customers' primary source of transportation, offering quick, reliable service. Who are they?

When repairing cars, automotive mechanics must diagnose the problem accurately and quickly so they may complete the job and return the vehicle to its owner as soon as possible. They also provide preventative maintenance, which requires them to replace or repair parts before they break down to prevent damage or unsafe driving conditions down the road.


What would you call employees who work within their client's home in order to assist them with everyday tasks and ensure their safety should they require medical attention?

Home health aides (abbreviated HHA) are trained and certified health care workers who provide assistance to a patient in the home with personal care (such as hygiene and exercise) and light household duties (such as meal preparation). These individuals also monitor the patient's condition, providing immediate attention in the event of a medical emergency.


These individuals operate the tools necessary to remove underground oil and gas, or remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration. Who are they?

Because rotary drill operators set up or operate a variety of drills to remove petroleum products from the earth and to remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration, they must be detail-oriented and precise. For instance, these workers must observe pressure gauges and monitor speeds to ensure that the operations are safe and productive.


Who's responsible for constructing and repairing building structures made from wood and other materials, including door frames, stairways and more?

Carpenters often demonstrate a variety of skills. Many can install various household items, such as drywall and siding, but others also specialize in particular tasks, including insulating buildings or designing kitchen cabinets. Carpentry exists within various forms of construction contracting, including residential, commercial and industrial construction.


Who's responsible for operating and maintaining heavy-duty equipment and machines, like concrete mixers, jackhammers, saws, drills and other such tools?

Construction workers are part of a crew of laborers who perform a broad range of tasks on job sites. While some might be tasked with preparing construction sites for new projects by removing debris from the area, backfilling holes and digging trenches, others might be required to build scaffolding, barricades, bracing and other temporary structures.


These individuals manufacture, install and maintain the mechanisms used to generate electric power and/or provide heat to buildings, factories or ships. Who are they?

Boilermakers are responsible for the maintenance and repair of boilers, tanks and vats that might last for over 50 years, so they'll require ongoing inspections and the replacement of valves, fittings, feed pumps and other components.


Who's responsible for the beautification and maintenance of the vegetation surrounding various homes and buildings within the community?

Gardeners and landscapers are responsible for maintaining the grounds and landscape of private and business residences. They regularly repair and grade terrains, apply fertilizers, seed and sod lawns and transplant shrubs and plants using manual and power-operated equipment. Their green thumbs accentuate the beauty of nature, while also imposing some order where chaos often reigns.


These individuals must scrape or sand and apply primer or base coats before they can really get started on their primary objective. Who are they?

While painters typically operate both indoors and outdoors, they are responsible for executing their client's vision when it comes to mixing and applying paint wherever needed. Construction painters, for instance, paint new buildings, while maintenance painters touch up paint and maintain the condition of current paint jobs.


These workers transport finished goods and raw materials over land, typically to and from manufacturing plants, retail, and distribution centers. Who are they?

Truck drivers provide an essential service to industrialized societies. However, trucking isn’t an ideal career choice for everyone, as you must enjoy the "lifestyle" of living on the road. After all, drivers move commerce by way of tractor-trailers both locally and cross-country, which often requires long-distance travel and being gone two to three weeks at a time.


These workers help build everything--from ships and cars to planes and parts of buildings--by using their skills to join pieces of metal. Who are they?

Welders are tradespeople who specialize in fusing materials together, including metals (such as steel, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, etc.) or varieties of plastic or polymer. Welders typically have to have good dexterity and attention to detail, as well as technical knowledge about the materials being joined and best practices in the field.


These individuals motivate clients by setting goals and providing feedback and accountability. Who are they?

Personal trainers are certified to have a varying degree of knowledge of general fitness involved in exercise prescription and instruction. Trainers also measure their client's strengths and weaknesses with fitness assessments. They should also educate their clients in many other aspects of wellness besides exercise, including general health and nutrition guidelines.


What would you call those who clean and maintain buildings, such as hospitals, schools and residential accommodations?

Custodians are primarily tasked with cleaning the building or establishment in which they work. Office buildings are usually cleaned when they are vacant, so most janitorial staff members work during the evening.


Who's responsible for collecting samples and performing tests to analyze body fluids, tissue and other substances?

Medical laboratory technicians assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases by performing tests on tissue, blood and other bodily fluids. They must set up and sanitize laboratories, prepare specimens, match blood compatibility for transfusions, analyze fluid chemical content, collect blood samples and examine immune system elements.


What would you call the person in charge of overseeing and directing the cleaning activities for a business or hotel?

Executive housekeepers are in charge of overseeing cleaning professionals in lodging facilities, such as nursing homes or hotels, creating their work schedules, and ensuring that their cleaning is done in an effective and timely fashion. They order cleaning materials and necessary tools to ensure workers have the proper tools to perform their duties.


These individuals oversee the entire production process of their given chemical production facility, managing both the workers and the equipment within their establishment. Who are they?

Chemical plant operators primarily monitor the equipment under their charge. They both control instruments and make sure they're working properly. They also record test results, which they monitor over time so they might suggest adjustments to the manufacturing process as necessary. They're also in charge of shutting down or otherwise handling equipment during an emergency.


What would you call those workers who build and repair chimney stacks, walls, tunnel linings and decorative work, like archways?

Bricklayers are typically responsible for using blocks, including bricks, and mortar to construct buildings in line with approved construction plans, and might also find themselves refurbishing masonry and brickwork on projects of restoration. They often work on large commercial developments, new builds in housing, alterations and extensions.


Who's responsible for examining patients for signs of oral diseases, such as gingivitis, and teaching them how to improve and maintain good oral health?

Most hygienists' daily duties include routine cleanings and checkup, screening patients, reviewing a patient's oral health history and teaching appropriate brushing and flossing techniques. Although they're not qualified to make the same kind of diagnostic decisions or perform the same procedures as dentists, hygienists are the first line of defense against disease and cavities.


These individuals prepare and serve everything from cake and coffee to dinner and drinks according to the customer's specifications. Who are they?

Food service workers are responsible for serving food and beverages and providing customer service. While a host or hostess works at the very front of the restaurant, managing the reservation desk and guiding customers to an open table, a waiter or waitress serves the customers by taking their order and delivering said items in a timely fashion.


These individuals ensure that the mechanisms designed to make train travel run smoothly are functioning perfectly. Who are they?

Signal and track switch repairers install, inspect, test, maintain and repair electric gate crossings, signals, signal equipment, track switches, section lines or intercommunications systems within a railroad system. By regularly inspecting and maintaining these elements of the rail line, these workers guarantee that the system will operate without error, thereby preventing potential derailments and deaths.


What would you call those workers who work under water, using scuba gear to inspect, repair, remove or install equipment and structures?

Although there are numerous types of commercial divers, most work for either the oil and gas or construction industries. These workers often use a variety of power and hand tools, such as drills, sledgehammers, torches and welding equipment. They may also conduct tests or experiments, rig explosives, or photograph structures or marine life depending on the specifications of their given role.


These workers install and maintain the power grid, a.k.a. the network of power lines that moves electricity from generating plants to customers. Who are they?

Also known as line workers, these individuals install or repair electrical power systems and telecommunications cables, including fiber optics, maintaining the flow of electricity to the customers they serve daily. Line workers often encounter serious hazards on the job, including working with high-voltage electricity, often at great heights, as they repair or replace lines and erect poles.


These individuals are responsible for transporting both customers and/or cargo via rail in a timely, yet safe fashion. Who are they?

Locomotive engineers ensure the safe operation of both freight and passenger trains by inspecting these machines before use, as well as safely driving the train during operation. This means checking the speed, air pressure, battery and other various mechanics of the train while en route. They are responsible for delivering both their customers and their cargo to their destinations in an orderly, timely manner.


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