There are so many different skilled trade careers out there, and many of them take only a few months to a couple years to get trained and be work-ready. We've included some medical and healthcare jobs in this article because many of these programs can be found at trade and technical schools. Read on to learn about some of the highest paying skilled trades jobs based on government data released in 2021.
List of 10 Top Paying Skilled Trade Jobs
Schooling or training for these careers normally takes under 2 years though some apprenticeships take longer than that. But if you're an apprentice you'll be on the job making money while you train.
HVAC Technician—$48,730 median salary
- Education: You will need to get your high school diploma or GED before enrolling in an HVAC tech program. These are available through trade schools or community colleges. You may also learn the trade through an apprenticeship. Licensing is required of anyone handling refrigerants, so there are tests you will have to pass once you finish your training.
- Job Outlook: HVAC technician positions are expected to grow 4% through 2029.
Find HVAC training near you.
Welder—$42,490 median salary
- Education: To become a welder, you must have your high school diploma or GED. You’ll either learn welding through a trade school program, or through on-the-job training. Many employers will pay for the cost of any certifications they may need you to get.
- Job Outlook: Welder positions are expected to grow 3% through 2029.
Find a welding program near you.
Aircraft Mechanic—$64,310 median salary
- Education: You must have your high school diploma or GED. First, can either go through an FAA-approved training program, or receive on the job training. You will need to pass certification exams, which needs to be retaken every two years.
- Job Outlook: Aircraft mechanic employment is expected to grow 5% through 2029.
Find aircraft mechanic and maintenance programs near you.
Electrician—$56,180 median salary
- Education: You will need your high school diploma or GED. Electricians usually learn through apprenticeships. These take 4-5 years to complete. You can also go to a trade school to start your electrician training. Once your education is finished, you’ll be required to get licensed.
- Job Outlook: Employment of electricians is expected to grow 8% through 2029.
Find electrical technology training near you.
Avionics Technician—$64,310 median salary
- Education: An associate degree is typically what you’ll need to start working. You’ll learn most of the necessary hard skills on the job. You’ll need to get your certification through the FAA. There are continuing education requirements, and licensing renewals every two years.
- Job Outlook: Like aircraft mechanics, avionics technician employment is expected to grow 5% through 2029.
Electronic Engineer Technician—$65,260 median salary
- Education: Associate degree in electronic or electrical engineering through a community college or vocational school. Certifications are available and are optional but recommended.
- Job Outlook: Electrical and electronics engineering technician employment is projected to grow 2 percent through 2029.
Dental Hygienist—$76,220 median salary
- Education: Dental hygienists typically need an associate degree in dental hygiene. Community colleges, trade schools, and colleges all offer dental hygiene programs. They take three years to complete. The program you attend must be accredited through the Commission on Dental Accreditation, which is an arm of the American Dental Association.
- Job Outlook: Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 6% through 2029.
Find a dental hygiene program near you.
Elevator Mechanics—$84,990 median salary
- Education: You’ll need a high school diploma or GED first. You’ll need to get into an apprenticeship program through a union, association, or contractor. You will receive 144 hours of instruction, and 2,000 hours of on-the-job paid training per year. Most states require elevator mechanics to have a license.
- Job Outlook: Elevator and escalator mechanic employment is projected to grow 7% through 2029.
Plumber—$55,160 median salary
- Education: You’ll need your high school diploma or GED first. Then, you’ll typically get into an apprenticeship which will take 4-5 years to complete. Most states will require you to get your license once your training is finished.
- Job Outlook: Employment of plumbers is expected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029.
Find plumbing training programs near you.
Electric Powerline Installer and Repairer- $65,700 median salary
- Education: You’ll need your high school diploma or GED. There are one year diplomas through trade schools, as well as associate degrees through community colleges available. You will have to complete a training period which typically lasts three years, and it will be through your employer. Certifications, although not mandatory, are available.
- Job Outlook: There is predicted to be little to no change of employment levels in this field.
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