15 hands-on jobs for you to explore (With average salaries)

Updated 31 July 2023

If you're interested in a career that keeps you engaged, moving and working with your hands, there are many types of jobs across different industries that you can explore. From a career in the medical field to a career in an industrial or commercial setting, there are many options to consider if you like to work on your feet, with your hands and out of a traditional office setting. You can start many of these jobs with minimal education and training. In this article, we explore 15 hands-on jobs that you can consider.

What are hands-on jobs?

Hands-on jobs can encompass a range of non-traditional work roles across a variety of fields. For instance, automotive technicians, aircraft mechanics, landscapers, massage therapists and nurses are all examples of jobs where you can interact with others regularly, work with your hands and move around outside of an office setting. Additionally, many of these jobs can be demanding on your physical endurance and stamina, so it's important to consider these factors when looking for the right job for you.

15 hands-on jobs in the UK

The following jobs offer ways for you to work actively, move around and step out of a traditional office environment:

1. Chef

National average salary: £10.41 per hour

Primary duties: Chefs and culinary artists prepare, cook and bake foods in restaurants. They typically have the responsibility of managing the entire kitchen staff, and they oversee the process of food preparation and incoming and outgoing orders to patrons. They may also create menu items and order supplies. Experienced chefs may work in executive positions in the food and beverage departments of businesses such as hotels and resorts.

2. CNC operator

National average salary: £11.42 per hour

Primary duties: CNC operators work with CNC machines, also known as computer numerically controlled machines, which use programming to control the manufacture of a certain material according to product specifications. These professionals are both machinists and programmers, and they often use computer-operated tools and equipment to design and produce components for a variety of applications, including technical, aerospace and medical applications. CNC operators may also load materials into the machines and move finished products to other areas within the facility.

3. Beautician

National average salary: £11.59 per hour

Primary duties: A beautician is a trained beauty professional who cuts and styles hair, provides skincare services, offers nail care and styling and applies makeup for clients. Some beauticians specialise in a specific area of cosmetology, while others provide multiple services. They consult with their clients to help them make decisions about styles and treatments and provide services based on client preferences. Beauticians can work at salons or be self-employed.

4. Welder

National average salary: £16.48 per hour

Primary duties: Welders use metalworking tools to join metal pieces and components together for a variety of uses, including commercial and industrial applications. They use hand-held equipment or equipment they control on a computer to cut, fill and fix metal seams and other joint areas of metal. Welders may work in many industries, including construction, aerospace, shipbuilding and automobile manufacturing.

Related: How to become a welder

5. Massage therapist

National average salary: £17.16 per hour

Primary duties: Massage therapists use touch therapy to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues of the body. They help clients establish a personalised therapy plan based on their needs and use special massage techniques for pain relief, tension relief, to heal injuries and to improve circulation. The treatments massage therapists provide may help their clients achieve their health and wellness goals.

Related: How to become a massage therapist

6. Electrician

National average salary: £18.11 per hour

Primary duties: An electrician is a skilled professional who installs, repairs and maintains the wiring and electrical systems within buildings. They receive highly specialised training to keep them safe while handling electrical equipment and prevent avoidable electricity-related injuries. Electricians also perform inspections on electrical systems to ensure they function properly and meet government and building regulations.

Related: How to become an electrician

7. Certified occupational therapy assistant

National average salary: £21,376 per year

Primary duties: A certified occupational therapy assistant (OTA) is a medical professional who assists occupational therapists in helping patients with injuries, disabilities or age-related conditions. Their primary goal is to teach patients the skills they need to live their lives as independently as possible. OTAs implement individualised patient care plans created by occupational therapists that focus on mobility, speech and life skills. They may also help patients become accustomed to accessibility aids and educate patients' families on their needs.

Related: How to become an occupational therapy assistant

8. Veterinary nurse

National average salary: £23,915 per year

Primary duties: A veterinary nurse helps veterinarians provide medical care and treatment to animals. They check patients' vital signs, conduct laboratory tests, administer medications and provide assistance during procedures. Some experienced veterinary nurses also perform advanced duties, such as radiography, anaesthesia and minor surgical operations. Veterinary nurses may work with cats, dogs and other domesticated pets, or they may treat livestock or exotic animals.

Related: How to become a veterinary nurse

9. Landscape technician

National average salary: £24,410 per year

Primary duties: Landscape technicians, also called groundskeepers, are professionals who care for and maintain outdoor landscapes, such as gardens and lawns. They may design planting schemes and plant flowers, trees and shrubs based on their clients' preferences. They also fertilise, prune and water plants to ensure their health and aesthetic appeal. Landscape technicians may work in private residences or for large companies, landscaping businesses or government agencies.

10. Automotive mechanic

National average salary: £28,327 per year

Primary duties: An automotive mechanic performs routine maintenance on vehicles, diagnoses issues with vehicles' functions and repairs vehicles to make them safe to drive. Some work on small vehicles, while others focus on the repair and maintenance of heavy-duty commercial vehicles. They use specialised tools made specifically for automotive repair that allow them to access the vehicle's components and perform their duties safely and effectively.

11. Paramedic

National average salary: £34,401 per year

Primary duties: A paramedic provides urgent medical care to people who experience illness or injury in an emergency. They respond quickly to 999 calls by ambulance and give patients first aid treatments, perform CPR or stabilise them for transport to a hospital. Paramedics inform doctors and nurses about a patient's condition and keep a record of the treatments they provide to a patient.

Related: How to become a paramedic

12. HVAC technician

National average salary: £34,892 per year

Primary duties: HVAC technicians are responsible for installing and maintaining heating and ventilation units and equipment in homes and businesses in accordance with health and safety, environmental and fire regulations. They may also install and maintain chilled water systems and computer room air conditioning units for computer networks. HVAC technicians also make repairs to these systems to maintain the equipment's integrity and ensure optimal performance.

13. Physiotherapist

National average salary: £35,464 per year

Primary duties: A physiotherapist is a medical professional who helps patients improve their mobility, particularly those who live with chronic pain or are recovering from an injury or surgical procedure. They design individualised treatment plans for each patient, teach patients exercises and stretches they can do to help decrease their pain and improve their flexibility, and monitor their progress throughout the course of their treatment. Physiotherapists may also help patients develop a healthy lifestyle to allow them to maintain optimal therapy results.

Related: How to become a physiotherapist: A step-by-step guide

14. Chiropractor

National average salary: £35,896 per year

Primary duties: Chiropractors use their knowledge and expertise in the musculoskeletal system to treat patients using spinal manipulations for a variety of purposes. They provide services to provide pain relief, muscle relaxation, circulation improvement and nerve conductivity to help their patients achieve optimum health and wellness. Chiropractors apply controlled force to spinal joints to encourage realignment and may use small instruments to apply moderate pressure to affected areas.

15. Firefighter

National average salary: £37,573 per year

Primary duties: A firefighter is an emergency response professional who protects people and property from fire hazards. They provide training on fire prevention and extinguish existing fires, particularly large fires that involve structures. Firefighters rescue people and animals from fires and other potentially dangerous situations, such as bomb threats and chemical spills.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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