Top 20 Best Paying Trade School Jobs [Updated 2020]
The following best paying trade school jobs are ranked from lowest to highest (20th to 1st) based on an average projected annual salary.
These are the top 20 highest paying careers that are considered “skilled trade” careers, and require more training than entry-level jobs, i.e. trade school.
This data is as up-to-date as possible, and pulls from sources including school websites, U.S. News & World Report, PayScale, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So, when considering a career change, or if you have multiple interests and need help deciding what career path you should take, read through the below careers before deciding what trade school program to enroll in.
|Find Trade Schools||Best Trade Schools 2020|
|Top Trade Schools||Trade School Quiz|
What Is A Trade School?
Trade schools help students hone a specific skill or set of skills, with programs designed to prepare them for the workplace.
Many of the largest “trade careers” prefer trade school graduates to 4-year college graduates, because they often require less on-the-job training and experience to do their jobs effectively.
Why Choose Trade School?
Trade schools are more affordable, more efficient at getting students into the workplace, and tailor programs to teach students skill trades in verticals with a large number of job openings.
Plus, the need for trade skills isn’t going anywhere. Trade careers are some of the longest-tenured industries because they are the building blocks to the economy, which means job security.
Trade school could be your ticket to a higher paycheck, increased job security, and a lifetime of happiness. You know what they say: If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!
Here are some common trade school categories
|Medical Assisting||Computer Systems Admin|
|Dental Assisting||Computer Support Specialist|
|HVAC Technician||Truck Driving|
|Pipefitter & Plumber||Nurse Aide|
Top 20 Best Paying Trade School Jobs
Again: The following best-paying trade school jobs are ranked from lowest to highest (20th to 1st) based on an average projected annual salary.
These are the top 20 highest paying careers that are considered “skilled trade” careers and require more training than entry-level jobs, i.e. trade school.
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is different than a Registered Nurse (RN) in that it requires a less formal educational route to become an LPN.
This career path is a great option for those who have always wanted to work in the medical field, or have an interest in medicine, but don’t have the means to complete the extensive schooling required to become a Doctor or an RN.
LPN’s often work in home health care, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and private companies, and a trade school education can put you in a position to be hired in one or more of these options.
Aircraft Maintenance Technician’s (AMTs) are also known as Aviation Mechanics, are in very high demand as the aviation industry continues to experience slow growth, while the number of AMTs declines.
Aviation mechanics are responsible for performing repairs, and doing routine maintenance on all types of aircraft and helicopters.
After a trade school education, all AMTs need to do to stay up-to-date on industry standards is keep the necessary tools and equipment in working order. With the growing job demand, AMT trade school programs are a great option.
The commercial diving industry is a diverse field, with a number of different types of diving jobs that open up to those with the right education. These jobs include: offshore divers, who typically work on oil rigs and spend a lot of time on ships, maintaining pump systems, and are the most common type of commercial divers.
Onshore divers, the second most common type of commercial divers, are most often hired by construction companies to help plan and work on dams and bridges. Onshore divers can also be hired by Corporations and Non-Profits alike to do underwater surveying. Media Divers are a small percentage of the commercial diving industry, and they do “underwater journalism” to get footage for news stories, and/or nature shows such as Planet Earth.
HAZMAT divers are the last major type of commercial diver in terms of numbers. HAZMAT divers do the underwater dirty work like recovering dead bodies, maintaining sewer systems, and repairing pumps and pipelines. The number of different opportunities within the field makes commercial diving a very interesting prospect.
Electrician job growth is projected to be at 14% currently, which is double the national average. So, getting and education to become an electrician is all but guaranteeing you a job within the industry.
There are countless jobs that electricians can be hired for, but the majority are in machinery or construction. “Inside electricians” generally work in factories building motors and other machines.
“Residential electricians” do wiring and repairs for constructions companies, as well as work for electrical companies to do tests and repairs for all types of buildings: homes, company buildings, hotels, restaurants, etc.
Also known as Biomedical Equipment Technicians (BMETs), Medical Equipment Repair Technician’s service and maintain a wide range of medical equipment, such as heart monitors, x-ray machines, and more.
BMETs with a more general focus can work in hospitals, practitioner’s offices, or for contract companies, working on a variety of machines. BMETs can also specialize in certain areas of medical equipment and work in more specialized offices.
The fastest-growing segment of the field is medical software, which is sort of a combination of BMET work and software engineering.
Solar technicians used to work mostly for construction companies, installing solar panels on residential homes, solar-powered structures, corporate buildings, etc.
With the rise of solar energy and the number of successful solar energy companies out there, job opportunities in the field are sky-rocketing. The solar energy technology field growth rate as far as job’s are concerned is at an astounding 24%
Advanced tractor-trailer drivers need to know more than just how to drive a truck. There are a number of different laws and regulations for trucks, and they can vary in different states and between states and the federal level.
Advanced Tractor Trailer Driver jobs also require the driver to keep detailed logs on the job, and need to be trained in the correct way to do so.
Graduates of Advanced Tractor Trailer Driver programs open themselves to a number of positions, and can get hired as transit bus drivers, school bus drivers, private company bus drivers, heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers, and delivery service drivers.
Diesel technology is quite a bit different than general car engine technology and therefore requires specialized training to get hired in the field.
Programs for diesel technicians will include courses on the fundamentals of the technology, the diagnostics process and general fixes for diesel engine, and courses around reading and interpreting manuals for different engines.
There are a few different career courses for diesel technician program graduates, including working for manufacturers, government repair jobs, traditional car/truck shops, and even possibly working for dealerships.
Home inspectors need to have knowledge of a wide variety of aspects having to do with the construction of a home. They have to be able to inspect a number of things, like the home’s HVAC system, plumbing and electrical systems, roof, walls, floors, windows, doors, foundation and structural components, and more.
Plus, they have to be able to communicate to voice their findings to home owners, and laborers who can fix problems found. Job opportunities for home inspectors include working for construction companies, real estate companies, banks, insurance companies, and more. There are also opportunities to become independent contractors after receiving the correct certifications.
Carpentry is one of the most common trade school degree programs, because it is widely understood and often a hobby before it is a career.
Many beginning carpentry jobs don’t require any training, but receiving education and credentials from a trade school can open up many more job opportunities to aspiring carpenters.
Carpenters typically work with construction companies, and need to be able to read blueprints to cut and shape materials into parts of a building.
Carpenters also usually need to be able to do minor installations and repairs, on things like molding, foundational aspects, windows, etc.
Wind energy technicians are pretty self-explanatory for those that have any knowledge of the wind energy industry. There are numerous large wind turbine farms across the United States, and these wind turbines create power by harnessing the natural power of the wind.
These wind turbines need to be built, installed, and maintained, which are the core responsibilities of wind energy technicians. Wind energy has been proven to be reliable, and as clean energy becomes more and more important, wind energy technician positions will continue to open up.
The growth rate of this career is at an astounding 108%, the highest on this list.
Plumbing is a position that has been around for a long time, and isn’t going anywhere. There will always be a high need for plumbers, as they are a key component to the construction and maintenance of society.
All different types of companies hire plumbers internally for internal building up-keep, and/or hire plumbers for specific construction and maintenance projects. So, anyone with the proper education and training, can get hired by almost any company to be a plumber.
Most end up working for one of the large residential plumbing businesses in the States, that get hired by construction companies, corporate companies, home-owners, etc. when they need a plumber.
Projected growth for plumbers is 12%, which is about double the national average.
HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning) technicians install and maintain refrigeration, heating, cooling and air ventilation systems, and other equipment along the same lines.
Most HVAC technicians work for large HVAC companies and will work on a number of projects for different companies/people throughout the day. HVAC programs are widely found throughout a number of trade schools, as it has been and continues to be a widely sought-after career.
HVAC programs teach the mechanics of installing and maintaining the necessary technology, but also teaches how to adequately manage time, properly document projects, and maintain tools necessary to the job.
Construction equipment operators, to the surprise of no one, operate construction equipment. This equipment includes bulldozers, forklifts, backhoes, dump trucks, cargo trucks, cranes, hydraulic trucks/pumps, and more.
Essentially any heavy-duty piece of equipment necessary for a construction project, needs a construction equipment operator to operate it. Depending on the company operators work for, they may specialize in certain equipment, or keep a general focus and be able to operate equipment across the board.
Civil engineering is a common term, but not many people actually know what it means. Civil engineers are actually more like designers, and are in charge of creating the large-concept construction designs for things like roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, piping systems, etc.
They are, however, engineers, because their designs need to be structurally sound, and set to scale, to be implemented by construction companies.
Civil engineers are also in charge of finding and testing materials that need to be used for their designs, creating cost estimates and invoices, and keeping track of progress with project reports.
This may be one of the slowest-growing positions on this list, but it is also one that rewards the best in the field, as the more success you find as a civil engineer, the more people want to hire you to do design their projects.
Environmental scientists, also known as conservationists, in the past have typically worked in forestry, or for state parks, or certain government agencies.
These options are definitely still available for conservationists, but with the growing spotlight on green energy, there are now many other options for environmental scientists. New clean energy companies are popping up every day, and conservationist are needed to help sort data, and help make good decisions for these company’s clean energy projects.
Conservationists can now find themselves working in the private sector, as well as the public sector, which has been more available for conservationists in the past.
Electronic engineers design and develop electronic equipment, from microchips to smartphones and computers.
Electronic engineers are very important to the economy as the technology vertical continues to grow and push the World economy to new heights, but unfortunately for traditional electrical engineers, job availability is shrinking.
This is due to the use of robots to manufacturing machines, and because electronic engineers have to be able to adapt with new technology, so those who are trained for yesterday’s industry, are no longer able to do the work needed of them.
Electronic engineering students now are learning the new technologies that will help them land a job in the industry. It is much more high level now than it used to be, with much more designing and inventing work than actual application and building.
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, and is a sort of bi-product of the change in the electronic engineering vertical.
Now that machinery does the majority of the manufacturing for companies, CNC manufacturers are necessary for ensuring those machines run properly.
CNC Machining programs teach G-Code, which is the language used to create and run programs which inform the computer what it needs to have the machines do to keep the factory running smoothly.
G-Code is used across the industry, so learning it can open you up to a number of job opportunities with a variety of different companies.
Energy managers determine the energy use for homes, business, buildings, blocks and more.
It is important that energy managers are able to sort and interpret large data sets, to determine energy usage, and create plans to reduce energy use efficiently and cost-effectively.
This is becoming more and more important for companies as clean energy continues to grow in importance, and more restrictions are put in place.
Energy managers used to be hired mostly by government agencies and construction companies, but as energy management grows in importance, so does the job availability for energy managers.
General contractors, also known as construction managers, are critical to all construction projects, at any level.
That is why they top this list as the highest paying career available to those with a trade school education. General contractors are generally the party that signs the contract for a construction project, and therefore take on the responsibility of getting it done.
General contractors get all the praise, or all the criticism, depending on how the project turns out. Construction managers have to be able to communicate and work with all parties involved, read and analyze blueprints, work around cost restraints, hire talent, and so much more.
General contractors are essentially the quarterback and head coach of any construction team. The current growth rate of the position is about 5%, which is less than the national average, but the high average pay makes the job hunt worth it.
Here’s A Quick And Easy Way To Find The Best Paying Trade School Jobs For You!
First, identify the type of trade skill you are looking to develop and then begin your research.
There are many great tools to help you match with trade schools, like this one here.
The key is to request information for multiple schools so you can compare their offerings. Some trade schools offer online classes as well, so that could be a great option for you!