Basic industries are important in the production process since they help in the production of raw materials that serve other industries. Without basic industries, other industries that rely on raw materials to make finished products will be unable to produce.
A basic industry career path is good since it offers many opportunities in different fields requiring different skills and education levels. Working in any of the basic industries such as steel, chemical, oil and gas, and mining, among others, is a great opportunity that earns some good income.
Since so many basic industries jobs are tasked with producing different raw materials for other industries, it would not be enough to conclude that working in a basic industry is a promising career.
In this article, I will discuss some excellent opportunities you may pursue if you are passionate about the basic industry sector. I will also highlight the average salaries and educational requirements, among other things.
Is Basic Industries A Good Career Path? An Overview
There are so many worthwhile basic industry jobs, and most of these jobs have a reasonable remuneration and hence are suitable for those passionate about technical and science-related careers. This is because most of the opportunities in the basic industry sector require technical skills in different fields.
Some of the best basic industry careers include chemical engineers, petroleum geologists, forensic scientists, and material scientists. These opportunities offer a solid career path that rewards well.
What Are Basic Industries?
Basic industries refer to those industries that are tasked with the production of raw materials that are used by other industries to make finished products or goods. Some of the best examples of basic industries are those involved in discovering, developing, and processing iron and steel materials, copper, and aluminum smelting.
What Are The Types Of Basic Industries?
The basic industry sector comprises many industries that produce or process raw materials for use by other industries that make finished products from the same materials. These industries include but are not limited to the steel, agriculture, chemical, utilities, paper, and pulp industries.
The steel industry is a mineral-based industry tasked with processing steel from iron ore raw materials. However, since steel is also a raw material used by other industries, it is considered a basic industry.
This industry can also be involved in producing the iron ore raw material that is the core material for steel production. In addition, the steel industry also recycles scrap metals to make steel.
The agriculture industry is a vast area where most industries depend on one another for raw materials. For example, some maize milling industries supply raw materials to the corn oil industries for the production of corn oil.
In most agricultural industries, the waste materials of one industry may be the raw materials for another industry that turns them into other useful forms.
These are the types of companies that produce the different chemicals used for various purposes. Most of these chemicals are used in laboratories, and some are the raw materials for the production of other useful chemicals.
In addition, of course, there are different types of chemical industries ranging from basic chemicals, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and consumer to specialty chemicals.
This is another category of industries providing amenities such as sewerage services, natural gas, and electricity, among others. Of course, some of these products are raw materials for use by other industries.
Paper And Pulp Industry
Among the pulp industries are the paper pulp industry. Paper pulp is the raw resource used for making or manufacturing papers. The pulp results from the wood of all different types of trees, and these industries also produce cellulose-based products that are all essential raw materials in paper making.
In addition, paper can be a raw material for other industries that make tissue, catalog and office papers, and paper-based packaging.
Oil And Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry is one of the major industries in the energy sector. These industries do a lot concerning matters to do with gas and oil. Of course, this falls under the petroleum industry, where enormous processes involve exploration of oil reserves, oil and gas extraction, refining, and transportation and marketing.
Mining refers to the extraction of raw materials used by other industries to make different products. Such minerals being mined are naturally occurring and are either deep into the ground or on the surface. Of course, there are different types of mining jobs depending on the mining method, including open surface mining, in-situ mining, underground, and placer mining.
The mining industry is vital in the extraction of natural or solid minerals that serve other industries. In this industry, the drilling engineers and other specialists work together to ensure that the underground minerals are exploited for use in different ways.
What Are The Characteristics Of Basic Industries?
There are some specific characteristics that basic industries have and others do not. Of course, basic industries are the intermediaries in production since they serve other industries that turn the raw materials into finished products. Some of the characteristics include the following:
Very Technical Jobs
Most of the basic industry jobs are technical in nature. For instance, in the mining or construction industry, you will find different professions such as materials scientists, field installers, oil rig workers, and other technical jobs.
As I mentioned, basic industries serve other industries, including steel, wood, chemicals, and milling, among others. The nature of the jobs found in these industries is technical.
In basic industries, you are exposed to hazardous conditions due to the work environment. For instance, the mining industry is faced with so many risks and hazards to other basic industries of that nature.
Examples of jobs that pose hazardous conditions in the basic industry include oil field workers, paper mill operators, and machine operators, among other related jobs.
Physical Nature Of Work
Basic industry jobs involve more technical and physical work that requires a lot of energy and skills. For instance, becoming a plant operator needs some training and basic skills. Therefore, most of the people who work in these industries are skilled in different areas, and also, some are just casual laborers who do not have the skills but offer their physical strength in needed areas.
Need For Highly Trained Personnel
Some jobs in the basic industries field require highly trained personnel to carry on with some of the most delicate functions of operating the machines and other advanced jobs. For instance, those who work in a chemical industry need to be skilled in handling different chemicals that may be harmful if left to untrained persons.
There are many jobs in the basic industry sector that require highly trained personnel.
Impact On The Environment
Some basic industries may pose threats to the environment; therefore, safety precautions are put in place to shield the public from the risks that would otherwise be harmful to the population.
For instance, mining may pose significant risks if the mining areas are not protected. Also, some industries that manufacture steel and other metals may cause a lot of pollution to the environment, so the governing regulations restrict their areas of operation.
How Many Jobs Are Available In Basic Industries?
Regarding the number of jobs available in the basic industries sector, it would be difficult to mention the exact number since there are so many basic industries that hire different professionals. However, to highlight a few, some of the common professions or jobs that pay well include the following:
Textile production happens in four stages: harvesting and cleaning the wool or fiber, carding and spinning the fiber into threads, weaving the threads to make fabric, and sewing the fabric to make various clothing designs.
This is a significant industry that employs many production professionals who are tasked with ensuring that the fiber is converted into yarn, then to a fabric that is useful in making clothes. That is why textile production is a well-paying career choice that employs many professionals.
The median salary for a textile manufacturing professional is about $43,827 per year. That translates to about $3,652 per month. Therefore, pursuing a textile manufacturing or production career is a worthy course.
As I mentioned, textile production happens in four stages, requiring different educational backgrounds. Some may not need a college diploma or any formal education, but others even require one to have a degree.
For instance, some companies may require a degree in apparel and textiles or graphic design to become a textile designer. However, for most positions in the industry, a high school diploma and training or experience in the textile industry are required.
A synthetic chemist is a professional who works to provide chemical solutions in a variety of fields such as pharmaceuticals, cleaning, and the food sectors, among others. In addition, they are tasked with the designing, testing, and development of different chemicals for industrial use.
As a synthetic chemist, your duty is to develop and test different compounds, their reaction, and their purification in making useful chemicals used by various industries.
According to salary statistics, synthetic chemists earn an average of $68,662 annually in the United States. This is the most rewarding career for those passionate about chemicals and chemistry.
To become a synthetic chemist, you need a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, general chemistry, or any related field. However, most employers would prefer professionals who have a master’s degree in synthetic chemistry since they are more specialized and equipped with skills in dealing with chemicals.
Steel fabrication is where a skilled professional known as a steel fabricator transforms raw steel into a functional product. The process involves taking basic steel sections and converting them into various segments and shapes.
The median annual salary for a steel fabricator is about $56,288 per year. This is according to salary statistics by Zip Recruiter. It is one job that earns a decent amount of money, especially for those with experience. It is also important to note that the earnings for this job depend on the company you work for and the level of experience you have.
Regarding educational requirements, a steel fabrication job requires you to have at least a high school diploma or a GED. This applies to entry-level positions, but some require an advanced education level. But, of course, what is more important in this job is the skills and experience.
An agronomist is a person who is specialized in the field of soil science, testing, control, management, and crop production. Their work is to test soil and recommend ways to improve the health of the soil for better crop production.
Agronomists also advise farmers on the best-suited crops for a particular type of soil and how to manage the crops to ensure better yields. This, in turn, enhances farm sustainability and productivity and helps protect the environment.
Agronomists earn a decent median salary of about $72,580 per year. It is one of the well-paying jobs where those in entry-level positions earn about $60,000 annually. Therefore, being an agronomist is a fulfilling and rewarding career you can pursue if you are interested in agriculture.
To become an agronomist, you need a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences, environmental science, or agronomy, among other related fields. It is also recommendable to pursue a graduate program in soil conservation or food sciences, among other related fields.
Specialization in plant sciences can also qualify you to become an agronomist. Of course, this is a broad field that carries graduates from various agriculture-related fields.
Wood And Paper Production
Paper is a wood product; the process begins with processing the raw wood with cellulose or fibers, refining them until the paper is formed. Paper and wood production involves getting the best wood for the papers, mostly softwood coniferous trees, and processing to make the paper. The pulp and paper industry is the primary industry for this type of job.
According to the United States data, employees who work in the paper and wood production or paperboard mills earn an average or a median salary of $68,254 per year. However, the earnings or salary depends on the area of specialization, education level, and level of experience.
Working in the pulp and paper industry requires one to have completed secondary education. It is also important to note that some functions in the wood and paper industry are basic, and you can do without any formal education. Some workers in the industry are required to have vocational training in machine operation or woodworking.
Wastewater Treatment Technician
Wastewater treatment technicians ensure that the water treatment plant works efficiently and effectively. In addition, they ensure that all the equipment, including the chlorinators, blowers, and conveyors, among other equipment or machines, works properly.
The other functions of the technicians in wastewater treatment include servicing equipment, general maintenance, and calibration, among other functions. This job is almost related to Sewage Treatment Plant Operator since they have the same requirements.
According to salary statistics, wastewater treatment technicians earn an average of about $39,419 annually. The salary, however, may vary from company to company depending on the experience or education level.
Most wastewater treatment employers require at least a high school diploma and some technical training related to waste management and plant and systems operation. In addition to that, you need to have a license to work in wastewater treatment plants.
Of course, some employers train their employees while on their jobs, which means you may not need some technical training to join some industries.
The metal fabrication process involves dealing with metals, including cutting, bending, and assembling to make useful products for home and other uses. This process is done by an expert or a metal fabricator skilled in metal works.
Metal processing involves several stages that include melting, pouring, pickling, rolling, and annealing stages. Therefore, this job requires experience and skills in metal processing and metal work, among other related fields.
According to the US News statistics, fabricators earn an average salary of about $41,780 per year. However, this may vary from one state to another, depending on the area of specialization, experience, and education level.
You must have metal fabrication skills and experience to become a metal fabricator. However, some employers employ regardless of the level of education. At the same time, most of them require at least a high school diploma, an apprenticeship program, and some training in steel fabrication, among other related courses.
Petroleum geologists are experts in oil and natural gas exploration, production, and processing. These specialists are in great demand, and it is expected that the demand will continue to rise.
Due to the nature of work that involves exploration, these experts travel a lot to search for oil and gas deposits, analyze the geological information, and identify potential grounds or sites that should be explored or exploited for these valuable natural resources.
Petroleum geology is one of the highest-paying jobs in basic industries. Specialists in this sector earn about $109,384 annually, according to PayScale. Therefore, if you are passionate about this sector, you will make a generous income, but you need some vital geology skills and the required qualifications.
Suppose you wish to study geology or this line. In that case, you must be proficient in mathematics, geography, and physics before pursuing a geology-related degree or diploma. Pursuing a master’s degree in geology is also recommended if you are to advance and earn a decent salary from this job.
Occupational Health And Safety Officers
These professionals have the skills and education related to occupational safety and health. They are tasked with examining the workplace environment and checking on the physical hazards that would otherwise cause risks to the health and safety of the employees.
The average salary for an occupational health and safety professional is about $70,000 per year. This applies to experts who have completed a bachelor’s degree and experience in the industry. The salary also may vary depending on the employer and the state where you work from.
Educational requirements for Occupational Health and Safety Professionals may vary from one state to another. This job requires specialists who have experience and are certified in occupational health.
A bachelor’s degree is not a requirement in most cases, but post-secondary education is needed. Most occupational health and safety professionals undergo job training and are certified before they can work in most companies or institutions.
A forensic scientist is a specialist who works in the laboratory to analyze crimes and provide evidence used in a court of law. Becoming a forensic scientist takes about four to six years of education and is a career that rewards well.
According to earnings, forensic scientists earn a decent income or salary of about $55,809 annually on average, according to PayScale. However, the salary for forensic scientists varies from one state to another and also from one employer to another. Another factor that influences the earnings of a forensic scientist is the level of experience and education.
To qualify for a career in forensic science, one needs to have a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, biology, chemistry, or biochemistry, among other related fields. In addition, the task requires analytical skills, which come with specialization in any particular field related to forensic studies.
Drilling engineers and petroleum engineers are related professions that are involved when it comes to drilling operations of gas and oil. This work involves drilling bits and wells and planning and supervising drilling operations, among other related functions.
Drilling engineers earn a decent salary than most other professions. According to Glassdoor statistics, a drilling engineer or a petroleum engineer earns about $116,873 annually.
Drilling engineering is not done by just anyone and, therefore, employers need one to have training in the field of petroleum engineering or any related field. Therefore, if aspiring to become a drilling engineer, you must pursue a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering.
Other related engineering courses may also qualify you to become a drilling engineer.
Steelworkers are tasked with the responsibilities surrounding steel works, such as construction, installation, and repair of structures made of steel. Steelworkers also work in manufacturing firms that do steel processing, among other functions.
When it comes to earnings, a steel worker earns about $34,815 on average annually, according to Zippia. Steel worker is also related to metal worker, and the salaries for this role are the best for those with at least a high school diploma.
The educational requirement for becoming a steelworker is a high school diploma or equivalent. Having a bachelor’s degree to become a steel or metal worker is not a must since most employees even learn from on-the-job experience. Which can be appealing to many who don’t want the stress of college or student loans.
However, with an apprenticeship program, one can gain valuable skills that will be valuable for the industry.
A pipe fitter is a specialist who works around building the piping systems that are useful for heating and cooling water. Unlike the plumbers who work with PVC in most cases, pipefitters work with metals and metal alloys and high-pressure materials.
According to salary statistics, the median salary for a pipefitter is $49,847 per year. However, the earnings can vary depending on the state and experience level.
To become a pipefitter, you don’t need a college degree. However, a high school diploma and some vocational training in pipefitting and plumbing works are necessary. In addition, you need knowledge in health and safety, among other guidelines on handling dangerous chemicals or equipment.
Truck drivers are tasked with transporting goods over land from one point to another. Of course, these can be raw materials or finished goods from the factory to the consumers. Therefore, a truck driver should have proper driving skills, a valid driver’s license, and a CDL.
According to different salary statistics by Talent, a truck driver earns about $44,837 per year. That is for the entry-level positions. With experience, the earnings can go to about $59,994 or more, depending on your state.
To become a truck driver, you don’t need any formal education. However, some companies prefer truck drivers to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to that, you will need to have completed a truck driving training course from an accredited driving school.
An electrician is a specialist who does the installation and repair of wiring systems in buildings. They also install conduit pipes for cables in new buildings. Of course, electricians also have different specializations that are relevant for various electrical works,
Electricians earn a decent salary per month. According to Money US News, the average earnings per year is $56,900. But, of course, this depends on your experience, education level, and state of residence.
To become an electrician, you don’t need a university degree. With some training in electrical works and an apprenticeship program, you are fit to work as an electrician for any company. However, some employers may need advanced technicians who have pursued a university degree in electrical engineering or a related field.
Basic Industries Pros And Cons
As I mentioned, basic industries are those involved in producing or processing raw materials that serve other industries.
There are several advantages of a basic industries career path, and some of them include the following:
Some jobs in the basic industry sector have minimal education requirements. Some require post-secondary education, while others don’t even require formal education. With these types of jobs, you will learn as you work while accumulating experience and skills that you need to grow in the industry.
Most of the jobs in the basic industry sector are fulfilling and profitable industries. However, as I have discussed some of the few options, you will find that these jobs are no different from other jobs regarding remuneration. For example, some, like agronomists and steel fabricators, pay reasonable amounts annually.
Basic industries offer a valuable experience that guarantees a job whenever you want to move from one company to another. You become an asset to the industry and your security with these valuable skills.
In addition, there is a wide variety of industries looking for new workers with the experience and skills that basic industries offer. Therefore, you will never go jobless when equipped with the skills and expertise in any field.
Basic industries are essential in the production process, and a career in any field, as I have discussed, is worthwhile and rewards well. Therefore, if you want to work in any basic industry, you must equip yourself with the necessary education, training, or apprenticeship programs and gain experience that will help you grow in your career. In some fields, you may also need to further your education to earn decently from the profession.