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15 Best Highest Paying Trades In 2023

A  college degree is not required for all high-paying positions. Trade jobs are among the most rewarding careers, both financially and personally.

A trade job is one that involves extensive hands-on training rather than a college diploma. Some trade positions necessitate associates degrees, which can be earned in as little as two years. Many trades necessitate certification, which may usually be obtained in a year or less.

You can achieve financial independence with substantially less initial investment if you choose one of the best paying trades in this article below.

What Is a Trade School Career ?

Advanced skills and training are required for trade school careers, which students can receive by finishing a post secondary technical education degree. Unlike traditional four-year institutions, trade schools do not award bachelor’s degrees.

Many high-paying craft jobs, such as electricians and boilermakers, require on-the-job training or an apprenticeship.

Compared to a four-year degree program, career and technical education programs take less time and cost less money. A two-year associate degree in dental hygiene or nuclear medical technology, for example, is typical.

Even associate programs require less time than certificate programs. Apprenticeships are paid positions that can lead to full-time employment. Radiation therapists, real estate brokers, carpenters, and plumbers are all popular trade vocations.

You may also like to read: 30 best high paying jobs for teens

What Is a Trade School Job?

Okay, before we go into the best paying trades, let’s clear up a common misconception: What is a trade job?

To put it simply, trade school jobs are professions that require more training or education beyond high school but do not often require a bachelor’s degree. You may need to attend a vocational school or a community college in your area.

There, you will take part in a training program that will provide you with the necessary foundational skills to qualify for the position.

You can even apprentice your way into the trade in some situations. You’d work directly with an experienced trades person who would show you the ropes with this choice. The approach is more natural, and it usually comes with a salary as well.

It’s simply a structured technique to learn on the job, allowing you to meet the criteria of a position without having to go to school.

There is frequently a physical component to the labor as well. What exactly does that imply? Lifting, using hand tools, manually arranging components, and other comparable labor are usually included in the equation. That isn’t always the case, but it is more frequently than not the case.

Going the trades person road has its advantages and disadvantages, just like any other employment.

On the plus side, the jobs can be profitable, and your abilities are in high demand. Plus, there aren’t many trade school jobs that can be off shored, so there’s some safety in that.

When it comes to disadvantages, the work can be monotonous early on in your career. However, other people consider this a benefit, so you decide if it’s a pro or a negative. It can also be physically exhausting. However, a gym membership may not be required in exchange, so it’s not all awful.

Finally, in comparison to a desk job, the task can be a little risky. If your job entails working on construction or industrial sites, you should expect some risk.

At the end of the day, the best trade occupations have a lot to offer. They’re worth keeping on the table as long as you’re comfortable with the dangers.

15 Best Paying Trades

The category of trade employment is far wider than most people think. As a result, determining which job route is best for you may take some time. But, thankfully, there are a few details that make it easier.

Money is never nothing, even if it isn’t everything. After all, it’s stressful if you can’t make a reasonable livelihood.

Here are 15 of the best paying trade jobs available today if you want to locate possibilities that may suit your demands on many levels, including monetarily.

1. Plumbing Contractor

Plumbers work on, well, plumbing during the day. They use a variety of hand tools and a lot of know-how to install, repair, and maintain plumbing systems.

Plumbers earn an average of $55,160 per year, which is a decent livelihood. However, as you acquire experience, this increases. The top 10% of earners earn more than $97,170, indicating that some are far into the six-figure range.

Indeed, the average yearly wage in Illinois is over $86,000, indicating that the top 10% of earners are likely well into the six-figure range making it one of the best paying trades available.

2. Construction Supervisor

Construction managers supervise public, commercial, residential, and industrial construction projects, and are one of the best paying trade occupations.

They are also known as project managers or general contractors, and they are in charge of overseeing projects from start to finish.

Preparing estimates, arranging subcontractors, responding to problems, and reporting to clients are among their responsibilities. Business, leadership, technical, and communication abilities are all required in construction management.

The majority of construction managers are self-employed, with the remainder employed in the residential, nonresidential, and heavy and civil engineering construction industries.

Graduates of a construction management trade school are prepared to supervise workers, develop budgets, and comprehend drawings and other technical papers.

And once you’ve proven your worth, you may earn $95,260 per year if you obtain a job paying the median salary.

3. Elevator Mechanic

Another one of the best paying trades available, escalators and elevators are repaired, maintained, and installed by elevator and escalator installers and repairers.

Reading designs, repairing damaged parts, testing equipment, and completing safety inspections are all part of the job.

Repair, installation, and maintenance are usually the specialties of these individuals. Mechanical and troubleshooting abilities, physical strength and stamina, and the ability to operate at heights are also required.

A four-year apprenticeship with a union, employer, or industry association is common in several fields. Apprentices learn how to interpret blueprints, electrical theory, elevator and escalator parts, and elevator and escalator safety.

A license is required in most states for elevator and escalator installers and repairers.

They also require continual training to keep up with technological advancements in the sector.

Certification from the National Association of Elevator Contractors or the National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities International will help you enhance your career.

How does an annual salary of $84,990 sound like to you?

Isn’t it pretty good? You could surely bring that home as an elevator mechanic.

4. Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

These engineers assist engineers in the development of electronic and electrical equipment such as computers, medical monitoring devices, and navigational equipment.

Building electrical instruments, designing schematics, producing parts with machine tools, and performing preventative maintenance are all common responsibilities.

Manufacturing, research and development, engineering services, and the federal government all employ electrical and electronics engineering technicians.

Students learn to read blueprints and engineering instructions, produce reports, and keep track of data in trade school. Physics, computer languages, circuits, and chemistry are among the subjects they study.

The Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology has granted accreditation to some electrical and electronic engineering programs.

Mechanical, logical reasoning, and observational skills are required by electrical and electronic engineering technicians. Technicians can apply for certifications from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, the International Society of Automation, and ETA International to demonstrate advanced competence in the subject.

You may receive a median salary of $65,700 each year in exchange for your efforts making it one of the best paying trades .

If you love to work in the bank, try reading this: 13 Highest Paying Bank Jobs

5. Aircraft Mechanic

Do you enjoy flying? Why not pursue a career as an aviation mechanic? You’d spend your days ensuring that these amazing flying vehicles are in peak condition, correcting problems, and doing normal maintenance.

Mechanics who work on aircraft and avionics equipment undertake maintenance and repairs. Some assess planes using Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines.

Aircraft mechanics troubleshoot electrical and mechanical issues, repair aircraft components, and test aircraft parts with diagnostic tools. Test electronic instruments, install instrument panels, repair components, and keep records for avionics specialists.

Aerospace parts manufacturing, air transportation support services, scheduled air transportation, and the federal government are all major jobs. Employees work in airfields, hangars, and repair stations, all of which are typically located near large airports.

Most aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians receive an associate degree from an FAA-approved aviation maintenance trade school. Aircraft mechanics must be qualified by the FAA or are supervised by a certified mechanic.

Inspector-authorized mechanics have a lot of opportunities for promotion. Being one of the best paying trade, you can expect a good pay, you may be earning $64,310 per year.

6. Petroleum and Geological Technician

A career as a geological and petroleum technician could be a good fit for you if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and enjoy numbers. Installing equipment, collecting and testing samples, recording data, and creating a variety of reports are all tasks you’ll be doing.

In most cases, you’ll need to start with an Associate’s degree. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to split your time between the outdoors and a lab, which is a good perk for anyone who doesn’t want to work in an office all day.

Furthermore, you may earn a respectable $51,130 per year as the median wage.

Also read: 20 Highest Paying Jobs In Energy | 2023

7. Boilermaker

This is one of the best paying trades available. Boilermakers put boilers and other huge containers in buildings, ships, and industries together, repair them, and maintain them.

Reading designs, inspecting boiler systems for leaks, fixing broken pieces, and cleaning vessels are all common responsibilities.

The physically demanding work is frequently performed outside, in many weather. To avoid injury, job activities necessitate physical stamina and commitment to safety precautions.

Utility system construction, nonresidential building construction, fabricated metal product manufacture, and plumbing, heating, and air conditioning are all jobs that boilermakers do.

A four-year apprenticeship provides technical training and education for boilermakers. They learn how to utilize boilermaker tools, adhere to safety procedures, interpret and sketch plans, and install boilers. Apprentice boilermakers learn welding, knot tying, rigging, and fabrication.

A national apprenticeship program is offered by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Shorter apprenticeships may be available for workers with a background in welding, pipe fitting, or sheet metal work.

After they complete their training, they can expect to earn a typical yearly salary of $63,100.

8. Electrician  

Electricians work in buildings to repair, maintain, and install electrical power, lighting, communication, and control systems. Apprenticeships are normally four or five years in length.

Some students enroll in a technical school that teaches them basic electrical concepts, circuitry, and safety, followed by a shorter apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships in electrical engineering include paid on-the-job training as well as technical teaching. Electricians who finish a trade school may be eligible for a shortened apprenticeship.

Fire alarm systems, soldering, electrical code requirements, and blueprint reading are among the skills they learn. Electrician apprenticeships are available through unions and contractor groups.

Apprentice electricians can become journey workers and work without supervision after completing their apprenticeship.

Most states need electricians to pass a test and obtain a license, though the requirements vary. After completing a certain amount of field hours, electricians graduate from journey laborers to master electricians.

You might earn a median annual salary of $56,180. you can tell it is one of the best paying trades available?

You should check this out: 21 High Paying Side Hustle For An Electrician

9. HVAC Technician

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technicians typically begin their careers by attending trade school. After that, they’ll spend some time on the job learning how to build, repair, and maintain heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

Once you’ve mastered the ropes, you may earn a median yearly salary of $48,730.

In many circumstances, that is a reasonable standard of living.

10. Operator of a Rotary Drill

A career as a rotary drill operator could be a wise financial choice if you’re interested in working in the oil and gas industry. Your responsibilities would include operating a variety of drills, particularly those that reach and extract oil and gas from the ground.

Like many of the best paying trade jobs, you’ll get the majority of your education through on-the-job training. With a median annual pay of $54,980, you’d have a good chance of making a decent living once you’ve honed your skills.

11. Inspector of Homes and Buildings

Construction and building inspectors ensure that construction projects adhere to local building rules, zoning regulations, and other regulations.

They spend the most of their time assessing buildings, bridges, highways, and water systems at job sites. Electrical, plumbing, and heating/air conditioning systems are also examined.

Approving building plans, checking plumbing and electrical systems for faults, and issuing notices for non-compliant buildings are among the other responsibilities.

Home inspectors, electrical inspectors, building inspectors, and plans examiners are all specialties of construction and building inspectors. They work for municipal or state governments, engineering firms, construction firms, or as self-employed individuals.

Construction and building inspection trade students learn how to understand building codes and perform inspections. Building and construction inspectors are required by most states to be licensed or certified, as well as to pursue continuing education courses.

Getting more knowledge and experience in the field may give you the finest possibilities for promotion.

You can earn a typical salary of $60,710 per year in exchange for your expertise making it one of the best paying trades available.

12. Landscape Architect

If you enjoy being outside, a job as a landscape architect might be the perfect fit for you. You may spend your days developing outside places such as parks, commercial courtyards, and backyards.

This is a trade career that requires a license and a Bachelor’s degree in most cases.

However, it may be worthwhile to investigate because, if you match the requirements, you may make a median yearly salary of $69,360.

This will provide more insight: Who Is The Highest Paid Architect | 2023 Highest Paying Architect Careers

13. Technician for Wind Turbines

Consider a job as a wind turbine technician if working on the top of a tower doesn’t worry you.

By working with alternative energy sources, not only do you have one of the best paying trade jobs but you will also be helping the earth, which may make the task more meaningful.

The majority of your days will be spent installing, repairing, and maintaining wind turbines.

A median annual salary of $52,910 is surely within reach in exchange for your hard work.

14. Solar Photovoltaic Installer

Another one  of the best paying trade jobs, solar photovoltaic installers are another alternative in the clean energy industry that spend their time installing and maintaining solar power systems.

You can usually get started with some on-the-job training, putting a median annual salary of $44,890 firmly within reach.

Keep in mind that most solar panels are installed on building roofs, which aren’t necessarily flat. If you are afraid of heights, this may not be the ideal option for you.

15. Millwright

You’re in luck if you enjoy machines. As a millwright, your major responsibilities would be to assemble, maintain, and repair a variety of equipment, primarily industrial machines. Also, you’d even disassemble and relocate them at times.

You can begin this exciting career path after obtaining some on-the-job training or completing a vocational school.

You might obtain a job with a median annual pay of $55,060, or even more, along the road.


Finally, being a trades person may be a wise decision. There are skill shortages in many of the best paying trade jobs. With a little training, you could be on your way to a fantastic profession that will keep you motivated and well compensated for the rest of your working life.

So, why not have a look at one of the possibilities listed above? While it may be the less frequented path, it is well worth taking.




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