15 High-Paying Jobs for Trade School Graduates

To make a reasonable living, you don’t need a four-year degree. Indeed, some of the professions that you can earn through trade school pay very well. With the escalating expense of college tuition, it’s no wonder that some people are opting for trade school and certificates over bachelor’s degrees and other higher education degrees. Hence, this makes us consider this list of the highest-paying jobs for trade school graduates.

In addition to lower tuition costs, trade school provides a more defined professional path. It can be tough to translate a degree into a career, but with vocational programs, you know exactly where you’re going. So, if you know what you want to accomplish and trade schools offer a program in that field, trade schools could be a great fit for you. Fortunately, if you select that road, you won’t have to forgo a large paycheck.

What Is A Trade School?

Unlike a regular four-year university, which offers students a wide liberal arts and humanities education, a trade school focuses on teaching students the technical information and abilities required for a specific career, such as welding and mechanical repair. Trade schools can be public or private, and many of them are for-profit enterprises.

Why Attend A Trade School?

Shorter Programmes: While bachelor’s degrees take at least four years of full-time study to complete, vocational programs last anywhere from 3 to 24 months, depending on the subject and program. 

Improved Job Prospects: Associate degree holders earn more than high school grads. They also have a greater rate of employment. 

Increased Market Competitiveness: A graduate’s market competitiveness is aligned with their vocational education. This prepares them for a certain occupation or vocation.

15 High-Paying Jobs for Trade School Graduates

#1 Dental hygienist:

A dental hygienist is a person who cleans the teeth. Dentists and dental hygienists collaborate to keep patients’ teeth and gums healthy. Cleaning teeth, testing for disease, taking X-rays, and educating patients how to care for their teeth are all part of their job description. They also help with paperwork and office management.

An associate’s degree in dental hygiene, which takes around three years to complete, is commonly required to become a dental hygienist. You must be licensed, but the specific requirements differ by state.

Dental hygienists earned a median compensation of $74,820 per year, or $35.97 per hour, in 2018. By 2026, the job market is predicted to rise by 10%, with 40,900 opportunities, which is significantly faster than the average growth rate. If you enjoy dealing with people and are interested in healthcare, this is a good career opportunity for you.

#2. ATC (Air Traffic Controller):

Airports cannot operate safely without air traffic controllers. They oversee the flow of planes into and out of an airport and ensure that they maintain a safe separation from one another. Because it necessitates constant concentration, this work can be demanding.

To be considered for this position, you must be a U.S. citizen and pass medical and background investigations. You’ll also need to complete a Federal Aviation Administration-approved training program. Air traffic control is included in the Associate degree level course.

You can also pursue a more advanced degree program that covers more ground. Air traffic controllers get an annual salary of $124,540, or $59.87 per hour. Although the job market is diminishing, if you satisfy the standards, you may be able to join this privileged group.

#3. Margin Department Supervisor:

Consider becoming a margin department supervisor if you’re interested in finance but don’t think a four-year degree is right for you. These individuals oversee a company’s margin department, which determines whether or not a client is approved for credit and keeps track of all account activities.

For becoming a margin department supervisor, there are no formal training requirements. However, having an associate’s degree in business, finance, or a similar field is advantageous. Before you can move up to supervisor, you’ll probably have to work in the margin department for a few years.

The typical yearly pay for margin department directors is $75,392. Those that work for larger corporations may earn a little more money. Hence, they are the highest-paying jobs for trade school graduates.

#4. Construction Manager:

The personnel in charge of construction projects are known as construction managers. The design site layouts, handle budgets, and keep track of their projects’ development. They are in charge of ensuring that projects are finished on time and on budget, and they must be available to deal with any problems that may arise.

If you want to be a construction manager, you can earn an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or just a lot of experience in the field. Although formal schooling is the safest way, you may acquire a managerial position without it if you prove yourself over many years on the work.

If you decide to pursue schooling, look for a program that focuses on construction management. Construction site managers earn roughly $93,370 per year or $44.89 per hour. With 44,800 job vacancies projected through 2026, the job market is expected to grow at about the same rate as the overall job market.

#5. Automobile Service Station Manager:

The average salary for this job is $47,232 per year, $19.00 per hour, but keep in mind that you’ll have to start out in a lower-paying position before you can work your way up to manager. If you work hard and continuously prove yourself, you can reach your goal.

In the automotive industry, a service station manager is in control of operations. It could be a petrol station, a repair shop, or something else entirely. The manager determines operating hours, recruits personnel, assigns job responsibilities, sets prices, and makes other key choices.

To become an automobile service station manager, you might take a variety of paths. You may attend trade school to learn how to be a mechanic and then work your way up the ladder. You could even earn a business associate’s or bachelor’s degree to help you advance faster. Before you can become a manager, you’ll need some experience in the automobile business.

#6. Cardiovascular Technologist:

Cardiovascular technologists help doctors diagnose and treat heart and blood vessel disorders by operating medical equipment. These medical professionals perform EKGs, stress testing, blood vessel examinations, and other procedures. They could be experts in echocardiography, invasive cardiology, or vascular technology, for example.

You’ll need an associate’s degree or to complete a certification program at a school or hospital to work as a cardiovascular technologist. Before you can work as a cardiovascular technologist, you may need to get a certification.

This position pays around $67,080 per year or $32.25 per hour. By 2026, the market is predicted to rise by 17%, with 21,100 job vacancies — substantially faster than the average pace of job growth.

#7. Elevator Mechanic:

Elevator mechanics handle the installation, maintenance, and repair of elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other related gear. They are frequently required to work in confined spaces such as machine rooms or at great heights such as the top of an elevator shaft.

Elevator mechanics must often finish a five-year apprenticeship program that includes classroom or online education as well as on-the-job training. Before you may begin this program, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent.

If you pass the final exam, you can continue to pursue more advanced credentials. Elevator mechanics must be licensed in several states.Elevator mechanics earned an average of $79,780 per year, or $38.36 per hour, in 2018. By 2026, employment is expected to expand at a faster-than-average rate of 12%. This may be the work for you if you are mechanically inclined and physically healthy.

#8. Power Utility Technician:

Lineworkers, often known as power utility technicians, install, repair, and maintain electrical equipment. They operate with high-voltage power lines and are occasionally required to climb utility poles to reach them. They work regular hours but may be required to work overtime if there are major outages because of storms or other events.

You could enter an apprenticeship program right after high school to work as a line worker. However, many power utility technicians first earn a certification or an associate’s degree in a related field. You’ll have a good start with a formal degree, but you’ll still need some on-the-job training. The typical annual compensation for electrical power-line technicians is $65,880, or $31.67 per hour. Telecommunications line employees earn an average of $58,280 per year. With roughly 18,400 openings by 2026, employment in this profession is predicted to expand by 8%.

#9 Boilermaker:

Boilers and closed vats, as well as other large containers for liquids or gases, are installed, repaired, and maintained by boilermakers. They also clean boilers and inspect them for flaws. Boilermakers commonly used welding equipment and, increasingly, robotic and automated machines to do their work. They may be required to travel to and stay at work places for extended periods of time.

The majority of boilermakers receive their education through an apprenticeship or training program. You have a better chance of being accepted into these programs if you have welding expertise and certification. Boilermakers made a median annual salary of $62,150, or $29.88 per hour, in 2018. The market for boilermakers is predicted to rise by 9% through 2026, with 1,500 new positions in a field of 17,200. This may be an excellent job for you if you are comfortable with machines, especially welding equipment, and don’t mind physically demanding and potentially dangerous work.

#10. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer:

A diagnostic medical sonographer is another lucrative trade school medical vocation. They operate a sonogram, a piece of medical equipment that employs ultrasound technology to make images of organs and tissues, as well as to see a fetus inside the womb. The most well-known duty of a diagnostic medical sonographer is informing parents of their unborn child’s sex.

Those interested in becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer can enroll in a two-year associate’s degree program, but a one-year certificate program may also be sufficient. Most businesses prefer you to have taken the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers certification exam, which is administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.

Diagnostic medical sonographers earn an average annual pay of $67,080 ($32.25 per hour). The job forecast for this career is substantially better than average, with 21,100 vacancies expected by 2026. This position is ideal for persons who are interested in medicine and have experience working with both people and technology.

#11. IT Technician:

Consider a career as an information technology (IT) technician if you’re strong with computers. Installing, debugging, repairing, and maintaining computer equipment is part of this employment. It could also entail training people how to operate equipment and assisting them in troubleshooting computers independently.

There are several ways to enter the IT sector, but an associate’s degree in information technology will provide you with many opportunities. Certifications are also required by some employers. Even though you’re not required to have them, they can help you stand out as a candidate.

IT professionals might also benefit from taking specialized certification courses to develop new technical skills.IT specialists earn around $53,470 per year ($25.70 per hour) as IT technicians. With 835,300 current practitioners, IT is a rapidly developing field. With 88,500 jobs by 2026, the job market for IT technicians is predicted to rise by 11%.

#12. Rotary Drill Operator for the Oil and Gas Industry:

As a rotary drill operator, you can earn a good living in the oil and gas industry. Setting up and operating drilling equipment to test an area during oil and gas exploration is part of this work. You’ll also have to dig up oil and gas from time to time. Roustabouts, derrick operators, service unit operators, and rotary drill operators are all subcategories of this vocation, and each subtype operates a different type of machinery.

On-the-job training is the most crucial requirement for becoming a rotary drill operator. You can also enroll in classes to improve your understanding of the equipment you’ll need and the energy business in general, and you’ll need to live in or move to a region where oil and gas drilling is common. A rotary drill operator earns an average of $56,740 per year, or $27.28 per hour. By 2026, employment in this field is expected to expand by 24%.

#13. Respiratory Therapist:

A respiratory therapist assists patients who are having difficulty breathing due to a chronic condition such as asthma or an emergency such as a heart attack or shock. Advanced respiratory therapists may also develop treatment programs and provide patient education on respiratory health.

This medical personnel must be well-versed in the respiratory system, be able to operate the essential equipment and interact with patients. They must also be knowledgeable about the medical sector.

Most respiratory therapists need an associate’s degree to get started, and they must be certified in every state except Alaska. Respiratory therapists make an average of $60,280 per year or $28.98 per hour. With a present workforce of 130,200 people, the field is predicted to grow by 23% by 2026, with 30,500 new job openings.

#14 Web Developer:

A career as a web developer would be ideal for you if you’re creative and computer savvy. Web developers make websites and are responsible for both the technical and aesthetic parts of the site. They may also write content for their own websites.

An associate’s degree in web design is normally required, however degrees in computer science, graphic design, and business may also be useful.Web developers make a median annual salary of $69,430, or $33.38 per hour. Employment in this industry is predicted to expand 15% by 2026, with 24,400 openings, with a workforce of around 162,900. Self-employed web developers account for about one-seventh of all web developers. They may, however, work for computer corporations, design firms, or businesses that run their own websites.

#15. Aircraft Mechanic:

An aviation mechanic or technician is another in-demand trade school job. This position entails repairing and maintaining aircraft and other avionic equipment. They may also conduct checks on aircraft.

Aircraft mechanics often attend a Federal Aviation Administration-approved aviation maintenance technician school (FAA). Some people go straight from high school to work and acquire on-the-job training, while others gain experience in the military. The vast majority of those working in this sector are certified or licensed.

An aviation mechanic or technician’s typical yearly compensation is $63,060 per year or $30.32 per hour. With a current workforce of 149,500 people, employment in this industry is likely to stay reasonably steady, with 7,500 new job vacancies expected by 2026 at a growth rate of 5%.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Trade School jobs high paying?

Yes. Trades school jobs have even been found to be more high paying than 4-year degrees.

Is it easy to get a job after Trade School?

Yes. It is easy to get a job after Trade School since there is more need for blue-collar workers than white-collar workers.

How long does it take to complete Trade Schools’ programmes?

Trade School programmes take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years depending on the school and the particular vocation.

Are Trade School jobs Blue Collar jobs?

Yes. Graduates of trade schools graduate to become blue collar workers.

How difficult are Trade School programmes?

Trade School programmes are not so difficult in general. However because they involve more hands-on training than intellectual, they are sometimes more stressful.


So you’re not interested in going to university? That is not an issue! You’d be shocked how much money you can make with a trade school education. Our list of the top 15 highest-paying trade school jobs might help you get started. Because of the increased demand for trade skills, particularly in the health care business, you can even find yourself in a better position than your university graduate peers.



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