What is a New Collar Job and How Do You Get One?

The U.S. workforce used to be divided in two. Most workers belonged to one of two groups: blue-collar workers or white collar workers. These groups were named for the typical attire that workers of each group wore to work. Blue collar workers usually wore simple blue-colored uniforms and performed manual labor jobs that did not require a college degree.

White collar workers worked in professional office settings and wore white, button-up shirts. This group of workers typically held at least a bachelor’s degree and usually earned higher salaries than their blue-collar counterparts.

A New Class of Workers

Today, a new class of workers is blurring this stark divide. More and more businesses (especially tech companies) are looking for candidates with a very particular set of skills but who don’t necessarily have 4-year college degrees to fill their niche positions.

The reason?

With the tech industry growing at its current rate, it’s simply unrealistic to fill all the open jobs with college graduates. Since certain jobs can handily be performed by non-degree-holding workers with the right skills, that’s exactly who companies are looking to hire.

By definition, a new collar job is a position that requires vocational training but not a 4-year college degree. Workers in these roles have to perform specialized tasks that can be highly technical. Popular new collar jobs include pharmacy technicians, dental assistants, medical assistants, cloud computing technicians, automotive technicians, and more.

Who Are New Collar Jobs For?

A range of people might want to consider a career path in a new collar field, for a variety of reasons. These jobs are ideal for workers who do not have a bachelor’s degree. They can also be a good choice for anyone who prefers to work outside of a buttoned-up office setting and enjoys technical work.

Workers who have performed manual labor for years in the blue collar sector might want to consider shifting to a new collar job that will be less physically taxing. From medical jobs to automotive positions, there are new collar opportunities available in a broad spectrum of industries.

How to Get a New Collar Job

If you decide a new collar job could be the right choice for you, first decide what job title you’d like to have. Since these jobs are highly specialized, they require specific abilities that won’t necessarily transfer over to other new collar positions.

Next, conduct the proper research to learn what training you’ll need to secure the job you want. This may require you to enroll in a certification program or vocational training class. Some companies that actively recruit new collar workers are even designing their own educational paths that prepare workers for jobs within their companies.

See if there are company-offered programs for the job you want before signing up for an expensive course. You could get the training you need for free. With so many companies eager to hire new collar workers, you will probably find that gaining the new collar skills you need and landing the job you want is simpler than ever.

Written by

Amelia Ohm is a Los Angeles-based writer who covered labor market trends for the ZipRecruiter blog.

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