Are you looking to build a career that doesn't necessarily require a four-year degree yet offers a decent salary?

Trade jobs require vocational training but don’t need a bachelor’s degree. You need to get hands-on training to build a career in trade jobs.

Trade job workers are currently in high demand due to the pandemic pushing 8 million trade workforce to lose their jobs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the careers of skilled workers are expected to grow faster than the average by 2030.

With the gap created in the job market for trade jobs, it could be a good opportunity for you if you are planning to join trade jobs. The pay for trade jobs has also increased over time, and with years of experience, you can easily earn six figures.

Read on to learn all about trade jobs, their types, pay scale, training required, and related FAQs:

What Are Trade Jobs?

Trade jobs are the ones that need specialized training either through a vocational course, by learning through experience, or through on-job training. It means that you might have to head to local community colleges or vocational schools, also known as trade schools, if you do not have working experience.

In trade schools, you will be given the fundamental knowledge related to the field in which you aspire to obtain a certificate. The duration of the programs can vary anywhere from 6 months to a year.

In some cases, you can also enter the profession by directly obtaining an apprenticeship. Some examples of trade jobs include electrician, plumber, paramedics, and wielder.

What Are the Different Types of Trade Jobs?

Trade jobs are categorized into different types based on the industry in which you choose to work. Broadly, there are five major types of trade jobs where you can excel as a trade worker.

For these trade jobs, you need to acquire either a certificate degree, as in the case of a designer or tattoo artist, which you can complete within six months, or a maximum of a 2-year community college degree, as in the case of a dental hygienist or radiologist.

Given below is a list of different types of trade careers and the profession that it include:

Trade Careers Trade Jobs Examples
Building Trades Carpenter, Carpet Installer, Electrician, Equipment Operator, Insulation Installer, Landscaper, Painter, Plumber
Mechanical Trades Auto Mechanic, HVAC Installer, Machinist, Mechanical Drafter, Locksmith, Elevator Mechanic, Mechanical Installer
Industrial Trades Steam Engineer, Caro Freight Agent, Ironworker, Line Installer, Metal Fabricator, Asbestos Worker
Medical Trades Dental Assistant, Paramedic, Phlebotomist, Respiratory Therapist, Clinical Laboratory Technician
Culinary Arts & Cosmetology Trades Chef, Baker, Food Technologist, Nail Artist, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Esthetician

What Are the Best Trade Jobs?

In 2022, the pay for trade jobs has increased manifold. Many companies are looking for trade professionals due to the pandemic gap created in the market. If you want to build trade careers and excel in them, you can consider the following job profiles:

Here are the top 31 trade jobs that pay well with their educational degree, salary, and job responsibility:

1. Power Plant Operator

Average Salary: $77,882
Education: High School Diploma

If you want complete command over boilers, generators, turbines, and other machinery that generate electricity, consider being a power plant operator. It is one of the best trade jobs that is witnessing a rise due to the high electricity demand.

The pay can go up to $103,000 annually after you attain a few years of experience or target companies like Chevron, Duke Energy, and Southern Company.

Also Read: What are the best paying jobs in energy in 2022?

2. Elevator Mechanic

Average Salary: $76,601
Education: High School Diploma and four-year apprenticeship

No wonder elevators have eased our lives, but elevator mechanics come into the picture to keep it running smoothly. An elevator mechanic repairs and maintains the elevator whenever required.

The nature of the jobs makes it challenging as they have to crawl into small spaces to fix the machine. This trade job is right for you if you want a challenging position that requires you to be on your toes 24/7.

3. Electrical Lineman

Average Salary: $63,103
Education: Associate Degree

Electrical lineman is another trendy energy-related trade school job that pays well. This job would require you to spend hours installing and repairing the power lines that supply energy to homes and businesses.

The best part about working as an electric lineman is that you will serve as first responders in times of emergency.

4. Construction Manager

Average Salary: $81,313
Education: High School Diploma and an SAT or ACT score

You will spend your days managing construction workers and heading projects as a construction manager. You will make plans, establish budgets, oversee schedules, evaluate deadlines, and organize a team on an average day.

Also Read: How to write an impressive construction superintendent resume to find the job?

5. Nuclear Medicine Technician

Average Salary: $84,055
Education: Associate Degree

Who said you need a bachelor’s degree to work in the healthcare industry?

Nuclear medicine technicians work at hospitals and medical labs and carry out tests for medical research and diagnosis.

They produce and administer dosages of radioactive medications to patients, after which they take photographs of the radioactive material within their bodies using advanced imaging technology.

Also Read:How to impress recruiters with splendid nuclear medicine technologist resume?

6. Welder

Average Salary: $48,202
Education: Associate Degree or Certification in Welding Technology

As a welder, you will work with metals of automobiles, big pipelines, and other similar structures. Welders repair any holes or other flaws in metal components, maintain the welding equipment following safety and health procedures, and analyze drawings for the objects they work on.

Working as a welder can be one of the good entry-level trade jobs with immense potential and is expected to grow at a healthy rate of 3% in the coming years.

7. Video Editor

Average Salary: $65,800
Education: High School Diploma and Certification in Video Editing

Have an interest in editing videos?

Here is a perfect trade job that can pay you above average with some expertise.

Video editors are creative specialists who create amusing videos for movies, televisions, or social media platforms. As a video editor, you would incorporate suggestions offered by the clients or directors to make the result look more appealing.

With some years of experience, you can easily make as much as $103,000 per year, making it one of the highest paying trades in the current job market.

Also Read: How to make a stellar video editor resume in 2022?

8. Mortician

Average Salary: $52,688
Education: Associate Degree from an accredited mortuary science program

As a mortician, you will be the shoulder to grieving families. You will make funeral arrangements for families who have lost a member and offer tributes to remember departed ones.

As somber as it may sound, it is one of the trade jobs that require skills like compassion and empathy to withstand tough times with great strength.

9. Hairstylist

Average Salary: $43,500
Education: High School Diploma with training in hairstyling

If you enjoy giving makeovers to people by shaping and cutting people’s hair, you can consider this trading job.

As a hairstylist, you will interact with clients to learn about their preferred looks and offer a hairstyle that will appeal to them. You will also color the hair and give hair spa as per the need of the client.

10. Chef

Average Salary: $55,100
Education: Associate Degree in culinary arts

Have an interest in cooking?

Being a chef is one trade job that pays well with just some years of experience. As a chef, you will make delicious cuisines and even experiment with creating new ones.

You can work in a restaurant or start your own catering business. It is one of the most popular skilled trade jobs in demand, and many aspiring chefs aspire to run their own channel of restaurants.

Also Read: How to create an impressive chef resume to land the job?

11. Home Inspector

Average Salary: $55,100
Education: GED and license examination from NHIE

Home inspectors are professionals who visit homes to determine any structural damage. They check for wiring, plumbing, and HVAC systems and recommend improving their quality.

A home inspector is one of the trade jobs that pay well and is a less physically strenuous job than the ones present in the construction industry.

12. Tattoo Artist

Average Salary: $82,271
Education: High School Diploma and apprenticeship

If you are a creative person and can express the beliefs of others through ink, this trade job can be perfect for you.

As a tattoo artist, you will understand the client’s requirements and ink their bodies with utmost safety. It can be among the most fun trade jobs you would enjoy doing as much as your clients enjoy getting inked.

13. Radiation Therapist

Average Salary: $103,284
Education: Associate Degree in radiation therapy

Want to build a flourishing career in the healthcare industry?

Working as a radiation therapist will offer you the opportunity to help cancer patients by working on the latest radiation therapy technology. You will handle linear accelerators, offer treatment-related guidance to patients, and review treatment plans created by medical physicists.

With the increase in cancer patients across the globe, radiation therapy is one of the trade jobs in high demand and also tops the chart among the highest paying trade jobs.

14. Boilermaker

Average Salary: $79,813
Education: High School Diploma

One of the most labor-intensive jobs is that of a boilermaker. You will be required to maintain and repair large boilers for factories and ships. You will test the boilers for any leaks and replace damaged parts.

Working as a boilermaker can be a good opportunity for you if you are looking for trade jobs that pay well and has growth opportunities. Employment in this profession is expected to grow by 6% by 2028, which is equivalent to the average of all occupations.

15. MRI Technician

Average Salary: $91,223
Education: Associate Degree in MRI technology

MRI technician is another one of the highest paying trade jobs that would require taking magnetic resonance imaging of a patient's organs. You will be collaborating with radiologists to prepare the reports for patients.

If you are aspiring to become an MRI technician, this would be a good time as the job growth rate is expected to grow by 7% by 2029.

16. Graphic Designer

Average Salary: $61,400
Education: Associate Degree in Graphic Designing

If you enjoy visualizing the words, consider this trade job.

As a graphic designer, you will listen to client's needs and create designs and illustrations that best depict their concepts. They add verbal and visual elements to products to market them better.

With some experience in graphic designing, you can easily earn up to $97,700, making this one of the most skilled trade jobs in demand in current times.

Also Read: What are the most common interview questions for graphic designers?

17. Cable Technician

Average Salary: $50,968
Education: High School Diploma

As a cable technician, you will set up the line for homes and businesses, resolve if there are any network-related issues, and inspect ground cables. The job seems easy, but this trade job will require in-depth knowledge of cables, satellites, and internet equipment.

Also Read: How to make an eye-catching cable technician resume?

18. Aircraft Mechanic

Average Salary: $69,481
Education: High School Diploma and FAA A&P license

If aircraft have held your center of attention for a long time, it is time to give this trade job a chance.

As an aircraft mechanic, you will fix any defect in the aircraft and diagnose any electrical or mechanical problems.

The job comes with a lot of responsibility, and you will have to ensure that you are inspecting and fixing the aircraft with utmost precision since the lives of the passengers depend as much on you as on the pilot.

19. Dental Hygienist

Average Salary: $85,447
Education: Associate Degree in dental hygiene

As a dental hygienist, you will maintain the overall dental health of individuals. For this, you will examine the patient's oral health and develop dental x-rays.

You will need to counsel your patient about healthy dental practices.

Also Read: What to keep in mind while making a dental hygienist resume in 2022?

20. Web Developer

Average Salary: $67,752
Education: Associate Degree in computer science

Web development is among the most popular trade jobs that would require you to create websites for companies. Depending on your interest, you can either work as a front-end web developer designing sites and adding content or as a back-end web developer creating codes to make websites work.

The job opportunity in this trade job is expected to grow by 14% within the next few years, which makes working as a web developer a promising career in current times.

21. Landscape Architect

Average Salary: $71,842
Education: High School Diploma

If you like designing things around you, be it parks, houses, or walkways, level up your interest by being a landscape architect.

As a landscape architect, you will design structures for your clients and turn external areas into functional ones. Once the clients approve the design, you will ensure that you deliver the project on time and within budget.

Highest Paying Trade Jobs

What Training Do You Need for a Trade Job?

Training is an important aspect that you might strive for if you want to land high paying trade jobs. The minimum requirement to enter a trade school or land an apprenticeship will be a high school diploma or GED.

Once you have acquired a high school diploma, you should enroll in a trade school where your interest lies. Based on the trade jobs you are interested in, you should get a certificate degree (which takes anywhere between a few months to a year) or an associate degree which takes two years to complete.

The significant advantage of enrolling in a trade school is that you might also get a chance to complete a pre-apprenticeship program offered by the institute that can help you hone your skills related to the trade of your choice.

Tips for Finding the Best Paying Trade Jobs

Finding the best-paying trade jobs can be daunting if you are not guided properly. Given below are some tips that can help you find the highest-paying trade jobs in a split second:

  • Research the trade jobs that interest you well and find out if they require certification, licensing, or apprenticeship.
  • Identify your skills as they help you choose the best-suited trade jobs. Alternatively, hone your skills based on the requirements of the trade job that you want to pursue.
  • Obtain an apprenticeship through trade unions, job agencies, or companies so you can be trained on the job. Also, consider getting licensing for jobs like electricians, makeup artists, paramedics, and HVAC technicians.
  • Take career quizzes that can help you become more aware of your personality and the type of trade jobs that would suit you.

Also Read: What are the most popular career quizzes to take in 2022?

Key Takeaways

Trade jobs are best suited for individuals who aspire to perform specialized jobs and get well paid without going to a four-year college.

  • Building, mechanical, industrial, medical, culinary arts, and cosmetology are some popular types of trade jobs careers.
  • The minimum requirement to get admission into a training school is a high school diploma or GED.
  • Obtain an apprenticeship, licensing, or certification based on the requirement of the trade jobs that you choose to build your career in.
  • Give career tests to determine which trade job suits you best based on your interest and skill.
  • The highest paying trade jobs are radiation therapist with an annual average salary of $103,284, MRI technician with annual salary of $91,223, and dental hygienist with an average yearly salary of $85,447.

If you want to find the top paying trade jobs to support your career and income, go to Hiration's Career Activator Platform, which offers 24x7 chat help. If you have any inquiries, you can also email us at

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