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Is Basic Industries a Good Career Path?


Are you searching for a career where you don’t have to spend years completing higher education? 

Not everyone has the money or time to work on an advanced degree. If you need to support your family, you may need to enter the workforce as soon as you leave high school. Fortunately, there are several job roles in basic industries that have low educational and skill requirements. Although you will be expected to work hard, you can receive a competitive salary and enjoy job security. 

So, let’s find out, is basic industries a good career path?

About Basic Industries

Basic industries are involved with extracting and processing raw materials and natural resources to create products. These products are then transformed into other products and marketed to consumers. This sector plays an important role in the economy and helps connect consumers with products.

About Basic Industry

To operate smoothly and efficiently, this sector requires a huge number of skilled professionals. This ranges from entry-level employees who receive paid training to executive-level professionals with advanced degrees. This sector experiences continuous growth, and there are plenty of opportunities to advance within it. 

Examples Of Basic Industries

This industry consists of several different sectors, each of which is focused on certain raw materials. While the materials vary, the way these materials are extracted and manipulated are often fairly similar. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the main sectors in basic industries and what they involve. 


This mineral-based sector is focused on producing steel from iron ore. Steel is also used by other industries to create various products. The steel is either sold in sheets or manipulated according to the specifications of other companies. Scrap metals are also received and transformed into steel. 


Products created by this sector include:

  • Steel pipes and tubes
  • Beams
  • Girders
  • Railroad rails
  • Iron products
  • Wire and plates


This sector plays a significant role in the economy and is focused on producing food and fiber. Raw food products are created, which are then transformed by other industries. Millions of people are employed by this sector globally in a wide range of different fields.

A large number of domestic and international food industries rely on the national agricultural sector. It pays a significant contribution to the country’s international trade prospects and revenue. Agriculture contributes more than $1 trillion to the United States’ gross domestic product each year. As a result, there are a huge number of jobs available in this sector.

Marketable products within this sector include:

  • Food crops
  • Agricultural products such as cattle 
  • Edible forestry products like nuts and berries 
  • Dairy products 
  • Fish farming
  • Agricultural products such as honey

Oil and Gas

Oil and gas are the primary fuel source in the world, and they play a vital role in the global economy. As these resources become increasingly scarce and hard to retrieve, the need for talented professionals increases. This makes specializing in a field required by this sector ideal in terms of salary and job stability.

Products created by this sector include:

  • Diesel
  • Gasoline
  • Jet fuel
  • Asphalt
  • Fuel oil for heating
  • Natural gas and propane
  • Lubricants


This sector is focused on extracting minerals from the ground and soil. For many countries, this is the highest revenue stream, and mining plays an important role around the world. Typical activities in this sector include metal production, investing in metals, and metal trading.


Products created by this sector include:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Sapphires
  • Lead
  • Granite
  • Marble
  • Clay

Paper and Pulp

This sector plays an important contribution to the nation’s economy. A large number of industries use these products for printing promotional and instructional materials. Paper and pulp are also used for packaging and even construction.

Products created by this sector include:

  • Paper and tissue packaging
  • Printer paper
  • Paper for books and catalogs
  • Glossy paper
  • Cardboard


This is a large and intricate sector that produces a wide range of different types of products. These are used by other sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, and agriculture. This industry is divided into several sub-sectors, each of which creates different types of products. 


This sector produces various types of chemicals that are derived from natural gas and petroleum. Products created include soap, detergents, plastics, fertilizers, and drugs. Industries that use these products include automotive, construction, and agriculture. 

Inorganic chemical 

This sector produces inorganic chemicals such as salts, bases, and acids. This includes sulfur, phosphorus, and nitrogen. These chemicals are widely used by the manufacturing, agricultural, and construction sectors, as well as numerous other industries. 

Organic chemical

Types of organic chemicals that are produced by this sector include organic acids, ketones, alcohols, and aldehydes. These organic chemicals are then processed into fats, carbohydrates, nucleic acid, and fats. In addition to the food and beverage industry, they are used in pharmaceuticals and agriculture. 


This sector is mainly focused on producing vaccines and drugs such as paracetamol, Dexamethasone, and Diclofenac. These products are used to treat numerous medical conditions and diseases and play a vital role in national health. 

The Largest Corporations

The largest corporations in the basic industries are involved with the production of items that are used for manufacture. These include glass, metals, paper, plastic, glass, and chemicals. These companies employ a large number of talented professionals to work in different fields. 

PPG Industries 

This company was formed in 1918 when five smaller companies were consolidated. The headquarters of PPG Industries is in Pittsburgh, and the company employs 50,000 people globally. Just under half of them work in North America. The main focus of the corporation is manufacturing optical products, paints, coatings, and specialty materials for construction.

PPG Industries 


This major corporation serves forty industries in 170 countries and is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Ecolab offers services such as mining, mineral processing, water treatment, food and beverage processing, and chemical processing. Ecolab serves the food production industry, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, manufacturing plants, paper mills, and many other sectors. 

BHP Group Limited 

The Broken Hill Proprietary Company was established in 1885 in New South Wales, Australia. Today, BHP is the largest mining firm in the world and receives an annual revenue of around $21 billion. The company employs more than 34,000 people around the world. 


This American food company was founded in 1865 and is based in the state of Minnesota. Cargill creates a large number of feed ingredients and refrigerated food for agriculture and other sectors. The company employs more than 166,000 people and has reported annual revenue of over $114,000 billion. 


This American corporation was founded in 2017 and is based in the state of Delaware. The main focuses at DuPont are chemical and biotechnology manufacturing. DuPont employs around 34,000 people and ranked 35 on the 2019 Fortune 500 list of the largest American public corporations.

Top Entry-Level Jobs 

Many of the roles in this sector are available to high school graduates. They come with on-the-job training so that you can develop skills and start gaining experience straight away. This allows you to see if this career path is for you before committing to higher education. Here are some of the best entry-level jobs you can apply for in basic industries.

Agricultural Production Worker

The main duties are tending livestock and maintaining crops. This is a great entry-level role for people who have a lot of physical stamina and enjoy spending time outdoors. It is necessary to work in all types of weather, and full training is provided to high school graduates. This is a highly sustainable job, and there are lots of opportunities within the agricultural sector. 


Although this is a skilled profession, it comes with paid training. You can start working as an ironworker straight out of high school and learn the skills of the trade. You will usually begin by working as an apprentice until you gain the full range of skills to work independently.

The duties include installing structures and reinforcing steel and iron to create support structures. There are plenty of jobs for hardworking ironworkers in the construction sector. You need to have a good head for heights to do this job and have a lot of physical stamina. 


Welder and Fabricator

This involves designing, cutting, welding, joining, and shaping metal parts for various structures. There is a lot of demand for welders, and it is easy to advance on this career path. The job comes with full training and minimal education requirements and is usually open to applicants with no experience. 

Need more info? Then find out How to Become a Welder.

Plant Operator

This involves overseeing the daily operations of an industrial plant. It is open to people who can operate and demonstrate the use of different types of machinery. Although specialist skills are sometimes required, it is possible to learn these skills on the job.

Completing a vocational training program on the maintenance and operation of the equipment will help you secure this role. You also need to have strong leadership skills and the ability to work well under pressure. Many basic industries employ plant operators, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and power plants. 


The mining industry employs a large number of people to extract coal, ore, chalk, clay, and other minerals. This often involves working directly with a rock face and blasting or cutting to obtain materials. In some cases, specialist machines are also used to obtain the desired materials. 

This is a very physically demanding job that can also be extremely dangerous at times. There are opportunities to advance and specialize in an area such as drilling, loading, or hewing. Skilled miners with strong leadership skills also have the opportunity to advance to a supervisory role. 


The lumber industry provides jobs to a large number of loggers to cut down trees and load them onto vehicles. The main duties include cutting, skidding, and pre-processing logs before they are processed. The logs are then used by various sectors to create paper, boards, and other types of valuable materials.

The willingness to work hard in all types of weather conditions is the main qualification for this job. You need to have excellent physical stamina and the ability to follow instructions to the letter. Loggers usually work as part of a team alongside professionals such as engineers, equipment operators, and project supervisors. 

The Highest Paying Jobs

When mapping out your career path, the financial rewards are sure to be one of your main concerns. So, let’s take a look at some of the best-paying roles in the basic industries and what they involve.

Petroleum Engineer

This involves extracting produce and transporting gas and oil from various locations. The oil and gas industry employs huge numbers of talented professionals with specialist skills. Work environments include onshore and offshore drilling platforms and oil and gas fields.

Even at the entry-level, this comes with a salary that is much higher than the national average. This field is growing considerably, and there is always a demand for professionals. This provides job stability as well as the ability to advance in the field. 

Want to know more? Then find out What Does a Petroleum Engineer Do?

Petroleum Engineer


This is a prominent role in the agricultural sector and involves caring for and cultivating plants and trees. Horticulturalists often work in gardens, greenhouses, and nurseries. Other duties include designing and planning landscapes, researching pests and plant growth, and developing new plant cultivation methods. 

Drilling Engineer

If you are interested in working as an engineer, it is a good idea to choose this specialization. Drilling engineers work for petroleum companies and are tasked with planning and managing operations on oil rigs. Tasks include designing, handling, and maintaining various types of drilling machinery and equipment.

Another important focus of this job is ensuring efficiency and safety on oil rigs. Not only does this job come with a high salary, but it can also be very interesting and rewarding. You need to complete a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering and gain specialist certification to qualify. 

Agriculture Chemist

These experts are charged with developing chemicals for the agricultural industry to increase crop yield and production. These chemicals are also used to protect the environment while keeping pests under control. It is necessary to research agricultural aspects like changes in livestock production, chemical compositions, and animal feed.

This is an excellent career path if you have a strong interest in food and science. There are lots of opportunities for people who specialize in this field to advance and enjoy diverse careers. 

Mining and Geological Engineer

These specialists are employed by the mining industry to design different types of mines and rock quarries. This is mainly done by visiting different geological landscapes and analyzing the various features. The best types of structures to create for different mining needs are then evaluated and designed.

This can be a very rewarding and challenging career that comes with a high salary. You need to be prepared to spend a lot of time traveling and working in various weather conditions. Experts in this field are always in demand, and the job comes with a lot of stability.

Mining and Geological Engineer 

Electrical Engineer

This role focuses on the design, development, testing, and manufacture of electrical systems and equipment. This is a valuable skill in a large number of industries, from automobiles to technology. It is necessary to have a deep understanding of how systems work and have strong problem-solving skills.

Most of the technical training required for this job can be completed through an apprenticeship program. This allows you to earn a salary while gaining the skills you need to perform basic tasks. Once you have gained a little experience, you can pursue an electrical engineering degree. 

For more info, check out our Electrical Engineer Job Description and Electrical Engineer Interview Questions.

Production Manager

This is a good role for people who have strong leadership skills and can motivate employees. Responsibilities include the control, management, and technical supervision of different manufacturing processes. The role usually comes with a very competitive salary, and there are a lot of opportunities in different sectors. 

Interested? Then take a look at our Production Manager Job Description.


This is one of the most lucrative roles in the agricultural sector for dedicated and experienced professionals. Agronomists are intermediates between plant scientists and farmers and focus on the sustainability and health of crops. These crops are used for fuel, land reclaiming, and food production.

This field can be very rewarding, and there is a lot of demand for talented agronomists. You need to gain a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences or a related field. Specializing in an area like soil testing, management, or crop production gives you access to advanced career options and salaries. 

Synthetic Chemist

This is ideal for people who have an interest in chemistry and related disciplines. The main duties involve testing different compounds and recording their reaction and purification. The in-depth skills involved in doing this are valuable to the pharmaceutical, technology, fuel, and chemical sectors. 

It is necessary to obtain a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a related field to do this job. However, gaining a master’s degree in synthetic chemistry will give you access to the highest-paying jobs in basic industries. This advanced degree demonstrates that you have detailed knowledge of the processes as well as valuable skills. 

Wastewater Treatment Technician

The main focus is making sure that water treatment plants work effectively and efficiently. These professionals are also responsible for maintaining equipment such as conveyors, chlorinators, and blowers. This is a very important role that carries a certain amount of risk and comes with a high salary.

After graduating from high school, you will need to complete a certain amount of technical training. Fortunately, it is usually possible to receive this training while on the job. Once you have completed the necessary training, you can then apply for a specialist license to boost your salary. 

Wastewater Treatment Technician

Petroleum Geologist

This highly specialist role is in great demand and comes with an impressive salary and benefits. This role mainly focuses on the exploration, production, and processing of oil and natural gas. It involves a lot of travel and is ideal for people who don’t want to be chained to a desk.

Upon visiting oil and natural gas sites, samples have to be collected following strict procedures. The geological information on these sites is analyzed, and the suitability of potential sites is determined. It is necessary to obtain a degree or diploma in a geology-related field. Completing a master’s degree in geology will help you secure one of the highest-paying roles in basic industries


This advanced role involves testing, installing, and repairing structures made from steel. Other duties can involve the manufacture of steel products and reinforcing them. It is possible to start working as an apprentice steelworker after graduating from high school.

Once you decide that this job is for you, it is best to join an apprenticeship program. This will allow you to hone your skills and gain more experience while also earning a salary. The base salary for this role increases over time, and it is possible to specialize in particular areas.

Getting Your Resume Together?

Your CV needs to be immaculate to land an interview, so let’s take a look at the Best Resume Introduction Examples, the Best Font for a Resume, and the Best Free Resume Builders, as well as the top Resume Accomplishments Examples, and How to Tailor Your Resume to a Specific Job Description.

Next, we’ve also covered the Best Professional Resume Writing Services, the Top Hard Skills to Put on a ResumeHow to List Cum Laude on a Resume, or Work Experience on a Resume, as well as the Best Opening Statement Examples For Resumes, and Best Resume Format Guide in 2023.

Lastly, you might want to find out Does A Resume Need An Objective, the difference between CV Vs Resume, or How Long Should A Resume Be, followed by How Many Years You Should Go Back On A Resume, and How To Show A Promotion On Your Resume.

Final Thoughts

If you are willing to work hard and develop specialist skills, Basic Industries can be a great career path. There are numerous different types of roles in this important sector in the basics industry. This industry enjoys constant growth, and there is always a demand for talented employees.

You often need to complete an advanced degree and specialization to secure one of the best-paying roles. However, your hard work and dedication could be rewarded with a salary of more than $100,000 per year. These jobs also come with great benefits as well as opportunities for advancement within the basic industries.

All the best with your career in basic industries.

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About Wendy Young

Wendy runs an employment agency with her husband, Ian, in Rochester, New York.

She loves nothing more than hosting a good dinner party and spends weeks intricately planning her next 'event.' She often uses these to introduce clients to potential employers in a relaxed, informal fashion. The food must be delicious, the cocktails and wine must be a perfect match, and the decor needs to impress without being over the top. With all that going on, it's amazing that she gets any time to write about her thoughts on securing the dream job.

They live on the outskirts of New York with their poodle, Princess.

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