20 Highest Paying Trade School Careers

Highest-Paying-Trade-School-Careers

You know you need an education. Maybe you don’t have the finances to spend four years to earn a degree. Or you might not be interested in spending a long time gaining an education. So what do you do? Look into going to a trade school. It is possible to graduate from a trade school and make just as much money, if not more, than those who earn traditional college degrees.

The differences between traditional college and a trade school are basically time. In the first few years of college, you will work on getting your general classes out of the way. However, in a trade school, you will take courses that are specific to the career you want. Because you will skip taking those general education courses, you will also save quite a bit of money.

20 Highest Paying Trade Jobs 2020

Overview

Biofuels Production Manager – $103,000
Biomass Power Plant Manager – $103,000
Industrial Production Manager – $103,000
Construction Manager – $93,000
Naval Architect – $92,000
Elevator Mechanic – $79,000
Power Plant Operator – $79,000
Architect – $78,000
Aviation Inspector – $73,000
Occupational Health Specialist – $73,000
Petroleum Pump System Operator – $70,000
Logistician – $70,000
Industrial Designer – $66,000
Non-Destructive Testing Specialist – $63,000
Surveyor – $63,000
Boilermaker – $63,000
Marine Electrician – $62,000
Avionics Technician – $59,000
Building and Construction Inspector – $59,000
Aircraft Mechanic – $57,000

 

1. Biofuels Production Manager

  • Median Annual Income: $103,000
  • Employment Outlook: -0.5%
  • Typical Education Required: Master’s degree

If you are ambitious, interested in eco-friendly sciences, and want to improve the health of the environment, then this is the job for you. Biofuels production managers work in the field of “green” or alternative energy. The role primarily consists of overseeing the production, shipping, maintenance, and quality of operations at power production facilities. A biofuels production manager is familiar with the production and distribution of ethanol and biodiesel, and part of the job consists of analyzing data and enforcing safety regulations. Candidates must have either a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or a professional certificate. Top-level managers can earn as much as $172,100 per year. The highest populations of professionals in this field are located in New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. All in all, this job option is a practical one, and often, those who pursue it create successful, lifelong careers for themselves.

2. Biomass Power Plant Manager

  • Median Annual Income: $103,000
  • Employment Outlook: -0.5%
  • Typical Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

For those gifted with natural leadership capabilities, detail-orientedness, and a strong sense of practicality, pursuing a career as a biomass power plant manager might be the path for you. This profession involves the management of waste processing and its transformation into high-quality energy in a power plant setting. Biomass power plant managers also maintain safety regulations and interact with Federal agencies to ensure correct safety protocol is followed. The highest concentrations of biomass power plant managers are in California, Michigan, and Ohio. The highest-paying positions are in the $170,000 per year income bracket. Ultimately, the field of biomass energy is a lucrative one, and those who choose to pursue careers as biomass power plant managers are likely to find outstanding success within their sphere.

3. Industrial Production Manager

  • Median Annual Income: $103,000
  • Employment Outlook: -0.5%
  • Typical Education Required: Certificate or Associate degree

Industrial production managers are highly-disciplined, organized, and influential–meaning that they have distinct leadership capacities. This field requires coordination skills and a comprehensive understanding of manufacturing operations, including production, distribution, and data analysis. Industrial production managers oversee the everyday operations of manufacturing plants, compose production reports, and evaluate the quality of plant workers’ abilities. They are also in charge of hiring and training plant employees. In the U.S., the highest-paying career opportunities for prospective industrial production managers offer annual salaries in the $172,000 range. California, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas have high concentrations of individuals in this career field. All in all, pursuing a career in industrial production management is a smart move for your financial security and future success.

4. Construction Manager

  • Median Annual Income: $93,000
  • Employment Outlook: 11.1%
  • Typical Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Working as a construction manager requires dedication, preparation, and patience. These individuals are responsible for the management of everyday construction site operations such as worker interactions, budget and timetable estimations, and personnel instruction and supervision. A bachelor’s degree is required to enter this field, often in business administration and management, civil engineering, or construction management. Annual salaries average at around $93,400, but some of the highest-paying positions sit at approximately $157,000 per year. The highest populations of construction managers are located in California, Texas, and Florida. This job is for those who know how to take leadership and manage a crew. Ultimately, it is a highly-rewarding career that promises day-to-day interactions with people, and the satisfaction of seeing a blueprinted project come to fruition.

5. Naval Architect

  • Median Annual Income: $92,000
  • Employment Outlook: 12.2%
  • Typical Education Required: Doctorate

According to careerexplorer.com, naval architects are naturally artistic and investigative–meaning they lean more toward introversion and self-expression. This career involves the study, design, and construction of marine vessels. As a naval architect, you will brainstorm with a collaborative team of other architects, design a layout and manufacturing plan, oversee general construction, and evaluate the end-product performance. By the nature of the position, the majority of naval architects find jobs in coastal states like Virginia and the District of Columbia, Texas, California, Florida, and even Hawaii. The highest-paying positions offer salaries averaging around $148,000 annually, and the market is expected to undergo a 12% job market increase in the next six years. Competition resides among individuals with post-secondary education up to the doctorate level, but those willing to pursue that education and rise to the demands of the market will reap the benefits of a lifelong career in this field.

6. Elevator Mechanic

  • Median Annual Income: $79,000
  • Employment Outlook: 12.2%
  • Typical Education Required: High School Diploma or GED

Contrary to popular belief, there are many different specializations within the field of elevator mechanics. These include maintenance mechanics, service mechanics, and modernization mechanics. Individuals within this field are often curious and enjoy completing hands-on tasks. If you choose to enter this profession, you will be responsible for the installation, maintenance, replacement, and repair of anything from escalators to dumbwaiters. An associate’s degree or professional-level certification is required to enter the field. Major metropolitan areas, such as New York, Texas, and Florida, hold the highest concentrations of elevator mechanics in the U.S. Average salaries for the highest-paid elevator mechanic positions sit at around $155,000 per year, making this a highly-lucrative career option. All in all, pursuing a career as an elevator mechanic will take you to high places and ensure that you achieve lifelong success.

7. Power Plant Operator

  • Median Annual Income: $79,000
  • Employment Outlook: 1.1%
  • Typical Education Required: High School Diploma or GED

Power plant operators are some of the most innovative and organized individuals in the field of energy production. These people are in charge of power-generating turbines, boilers, generators, and reactors, as well as the adjustment and regulation of meters, gauges, and other monitoring equipment. This career requires a minimum of a high school diploma, and many individuals have additional certification or associate’s degrees. The highest concentrations of power plant operators in the U.S. can be found in California, Texas, and Florida. For those with the highest levels of education and experience, salaries average at nearly $140,000 a year. Ultimately, this is a highly rewarding field for those interested in energy production and processes, and overall it promises a market growth trend that ensures your future success.

8. Architect

  • Median Annual Income: $78,000
  • Employment Outlook: 4.2%
  • Typical Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Architects combine the aspects of visual design and artistry with the physical attributes and scientific methodologies involved in the building construction process. These talented individuals are both curious and creative, but they work through logic and calculative precision. An architect is primarily responsible for the design, documentation, and construction operations. They often work with legal professionals to understand local, regional, and federal legal building permits and codes, but they also have such a fluid job market that they enjoy a variety of different work environments that vary project to project. The highest concentrations of architects reside in California, New York, and Texas, and the highest-paid positions pull in salaries of around $130,000 annually. This career is on track to experience some significant growth in the next six years, so it is an optimal career choice for any college graduate seeking a successful, lifelong career.

9. Aviation Inspector

  • Median Annual Income: $73,000
  • Employment Outlook: 5.7%
  • Typical Education Required: Certificate or Associate degree

Aviation inspectors tend to be highly organized and project-oriented individuals. This job involves inspecting a variety of different aircraft, which requires individual mastery of each model. Aviation inspectors also test equipment, diagnose technical and cosmetic issues, suggest repairs, and are responsible for any particular craft’s airworthiness. Aviation inspectors must have a minimal level of postsecondary education with a professional certificate or bachelor’s degree, as well as a basic understanding of physics, algebra, geometry, and computer science. Though starting salaries are relatively low, higher-level positions earn as much as $124,000 per year. The highest concentrations of aviation inspectors reside in New York, Texas, and California. All in all, the market for this particular job is expected to increase by 6% in the next six years, so for individuals looking for a lifelong, rewarding career in the aviation industry, this is the option for you.

10. Occupational Health Specialist

  • Median Annual Income: $73,000
  • Employment Outlook: 8.1%
  • Typical Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

An occupational health specialist must be familiar with radiological and biological hazards and procedures. They collect samples of potentially radioactive materials, inspect workplace safety conditions, investigate accidents, and prescribe preventative measures for those accidents. These people are highly organized and systematic, and they tend to enjoy working alone. In the U.S., the highest concentrations of occupational health specialists reside in Texas, California, and Ohio. As far as salary goes, the top 20% of these individuals make $108,500 yearly. The majority of occupational health specialists have bachelor’s degrees in specialties like environmental science, biology, or community health and preventative medicine. Ultimately, this field is expected to experience an 8.1% growth in the next six years, meaning it is the optimal position for those seeking a steady, lifelong career.

11. Petroleum Pump System Operator

  • Median Annual Income: $70,000
  • Employment Outlook: 2.9%
  • Typical Education Required: High School Diploma or GED

Individuals in this field tend to be realistic and practical in their decision-making, and many are both detail-oriented and highly organized. Petroleum pump system operators are primarily responsible for controlling the valves that direct product flow. They receive schedules and instructions from a product dispatcher to minimize the risk of contamination or other mishaps. The majority of petroleum pump operators have a high school diploma, but this job is widely accessible even to those with minimal education. In the U.S., the highest concentrations of these individuals reside in Texas, Louisiana, and California. The highest-paying positions yield around $98,400 per year. All in all, pursuing a job as a petroleum pump operator is a good option for those seeking stability and longevity in their career.

12. Logistician

  • Median Annual Income: $70,000
  • Employment Outlook: 6.9%
  • Typical Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

A logistician is an integral part of supply chain management and production. These individuals are often natural leaders that tend to focus on the details, which is essential to the work they do. Logisticians oversee the management of supply companies, offer strategies for the allocation of materials and products, and present information and data to both management and customers. The highest level of education required for this position is a bachelor’s degree in business management, electronic commerce, or industrial engineering. In the U.S., the highest concentrations of logisticians are found in California, Texas, and Michigan. Some of the highest-paid positions within this field earn around $117,500 annually. All in all, a career as a logistician has innumerable benefits and can be a stable and rewarding lifelong profession.

13. Industrial Designer

  • Median Annual Income: $66,000
  • Employment Outlook: 4.3%
  • Typical Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

An industrial designer is someone who is generally creative, ambitious, and typically assumes leadership roles naturally. They are in charge of designing appliances, electronics, and toys for major manufacturing companies. These individuals create blueprints, collaborate with other specialists, and present designs for endorsement, production, and advertising. Most industrial designers have bachelor’s degrees in industrial design, fine arts, or graphic design. Within the field, the highest paying positions earn salaries of around $108,000 yearly, and in the U.S., the highest concentrations of industrial designers reside in Michigan, California, or New York. All in all, for creative individuals who enjoy product design and want to implement their artistic capacities into their career, this job is the perfect option.

14. Non-Destructive Testing Specialist

  • Median Annual Income: $63,000
  • Employment Outlook: 5.2%
  • Typical Education Required: High School Diploma or GED

Non-destructive test specialists are generally inquisitive people that enjoy applying their skills in an active setting. These individuals inspect equipment, structures, and products to determine respective safety levels. Specialists’ evaluations are a determining factor in what goes onto a product’s warning or instruction label. These individuals also have opportunities to provide safety training and instruction to people in different fields. In the U.S., the highest concentrations of non-destructive test specialists reside in California, Texas, and Illinois, and the highest-paid positions earn approximately $98,700 annually. Anyone with a high school diploma, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree qualifies to fulfill the job requirements. All in all, becoming a non-destructive test specialist is a highly rewarding endeavor, and it can result in a lifetime of financial stability and career success.

15. Surveyor

  • Median Annual Income: $62,000
  • Employment Outlook: 11.2%
  • Typical Education Required: Certificate or Associate degree

A surveyor is someone who uses specific types of measuring equipment to determine levels, directions, and angles for construction companies. These individuals tend to be naturally curious and visually-oriented, often collaborating with civil engineers, landscape architects, and regional/urban planners in the field. In the U.S., the majority of these job positions can be found in California, Texas, and Florida, but surveyors are in high demand across the nation. Within the next six years, this industry will experience an 11% increase across the market. The highest-paid positions earn around $111,300 per year. Ultimately, pursuing a career in this field is an optimal way to ensure longtime financial stability and professional success.

16. Boilermaker

  • Median Annual Income: $62,000
  • Employment Outlook: 8.7%
  • Typical Education Required: Certificate or Associate degree

Those who choose to pursue a career in boiler making are typically practical and enjoy hands-on projects. Professional boilermakers are experts in the assembly, installation, and repair of closed vats and large containers. This work is physically demanding, and it often takes years of apprenticeship to master it. However, across the board, boilermakers are in high demand, and the job market is expected to experience a 9% growth within the next six years. Individuals who pursue this career are required to have a professional certificate or associate’s degree and must be willing to travel to different job sites. Though it is a challenging job, boiler making is both highly satisfying and beneficial as a career option.

17. Marine Electrician

  • Median Annual Income: $60k
  • Employment Outlook: 2.9%
  • Typical Education Required: Informal training or Apprenticeship program

Marine electricians are typically detail-oriented and hardworking individuals who enjoy hands-on projects. These people manage and maintain electrical equipment onboard ships or boats, and are often on-call for systems emergencies or failures. Marine electricians are responsible for assembling, maintaining, and repairing electrical wiring and fixtures to diagnose and prevent the malfunctions of faulty equipment. Coastal regions, such as California, Texas, and Florida, have some of the highest concentrations of marine electricians in the country. The highest-paid positions in this field earn approximately $98,000 a year, and the minimum level of education required is a certification or associate’s degree, meaning this is a highly accessible field. Ultimately, becoming a marine electrician is a highly satisfying endeavor that will benefit those who choose to pursue it for a lifetime.

18. Avionics Technician

  • Median Annual Income: $59,000
  • Employment Outlook: 6.3%
  • Typical Education Required: Certificate or Associate degree

Avionics technicians are typically very introverted and thoughtful but enjoy hands-on projects that keep their minds busy. These individuals are primarily responsible for the maintenance and repair of commercial aircraft equipment. Professional certificates or associates’ degrees are the most common levels of education among avionics technicians in America and are the most needed to fulfill the job requirements. The highest concentrations of avionics technicians reside in Washington state, Florida, and Texas, and the collective job market will likely experience a 6% growth within the next six years. Some of the highest-paid positions in this field earn annual salaries averaging on $96,000 or more. Ultimately, those who choose to pursue this profession find it highly engaging work that sustains them financially and serves as a lifelong career path.

19. Building and Construction Inspector

  • Median Annual Income: $59,000
  • Employment Outlook: 10.1%
  • Typical Education Required: Certificate or Associate degree

A building and construction manager is in charge of certifying homes, buildings, and other residential structures. They work under the local government to inspect these spaces for potential safety hazards, building code violations, and overall building quality. These people are usually visually-oriented and tend to operate best in a structured environment. In the U.S., the majority of building and construction managers reside in highly-populated states like California, Texas, and New York. Among the top 20% of those individuals, annual salaries sit at around $100,500 on average. The highest level of education required for this job is a professional certification or associate’s degree. All in all, pursuing a career as a building and construction manager is a smart endeavor for those invested in their future career success.

20. Aircraft Mechanic

  • Median Annual Income: $57,000
  • Employment Outlook: 4.9%
  • Typical Education Required: Certificate or Associate degree

Aircraft mechanics are similar to avionics technicians in that they examine aircraft for potential malfunctions, measure parts, and diagnose and repair mechanical issues. Often, these individuals specialize in one particular instrument or portion of a plane, such as the engines, turbines, or hydraulic systems, and most have at least a professional certification or associate’s degree. They tend to be practical and realistic in their approaches to technical diagnostics and hands-on projects. In the U.S., the highest concentrations of aircraft mechanics reside in Texas, Florida, and California, and some of the highest-paid positions earn upwards of $98,000 per year. Ultimately, this job is for those seeking financial stability and career success.

 

List of other trades with average yearly income:

Hydroelectric Plant Technician $57k
Mine Shuttle Car Operator $56k
Millwright $55k
Radio Mechanic $54k
Mining Machine Operator $54k
Wind Turbine Services Technician $54k
Crane Operator $54k
Ironworker $53k
Oil and Gas Rotary Drill Operator $53k
Wellhead Pumper $53k
Tool and Die Maker $52k
Industrial Machinery Mechanic $52k
Pipefitter $52k
Brickmason $50k
Rigger $50k
Plumber $49k
Explosives Worker $49k
Commercial Diver $49k
Sheet Metal Worker $48k
Quality Control Inspector $47k
Water Treatment Plant Operator $46k
Derrick Operator $46k
Chemical Technician $45k
HVAC Technician $45k
Machine Assembler $44k
Pump Operator $44k
Logging Worker $44k
Faller $44k
Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer $43k
Machinist $43k
Glazier $43k
Plasterer $43k
Electrician $43k
Cement Mason $43k
Auto Body Repairer $42k
Tile and Marble Setter $41k
Welder $41k
Stonemason $41k
Farm Equipment Mechanic $40k
Automotive Service Technician $40k
Roofer $39k
Carpenter $39k
Gem Worker $39k
Precious Metal Worker $39k
Geothermal Technician $39k
Pipelayer $38k
Maintenance Worker $38k
Log Grader $38k
Recreational Vehicle Service Technician $38k
Drill Press Operator $38k
Construction Painter $37k
Metal Caster $37k
Solar Thermal Installer $36k
Weatherization Technician $36k
Motorcycle Mechanic $36k
Extraction Worker $36k
Gaffer $35k
Quarry Rock Splitter $34k
Construction Worker $34k
Segmental Paver $33k
Stone Cutter $33k
Molding and Casting Worker $33k
Cabinetmaker $33k
Fork Lift Operator $32k
Furniture Finisher $31k
Metal Worker $31k
Machine Feeder $29k
Hand Polishing Worker $29k
Dyeing Machine Operator $28k
Woodworker $28k

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