Top 25 Highest Paying Trade Jobs In The US

Many people believe that trade jobs pay pitiful wages, but many of the highest-paying trade jobs have salaries that are close to or higher than the median income for American households. 

Trade jobs are positions that, while typically not requiring a Bachelor’s degree, do require training or education beyond high school. 

It might be necessary for you to attend a community college or vocational school nearby, so you can take part in a training course that equips you with the necessary fundamental skills for the position. 

Or, in some circumstances, you can enter the field through an apprenticeship and work closely with a skilled craftsperson who would mentor you.  

If you’re looking for lucrative career options, this article provides some of the top highest paying trades jobs available in the US.

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Top Trade Jobs In The US

There are lots of trade jobs in the US, so it might take some time to decide which career path is best for you. 

Here are 25 of the highest-paying trade jobs available in the US:

1. Plumber

Plumbers unlike common misconceptions are quite intelligent and fit, and the majority of them earn six figures annually.  

Plumbers work on plumbing throughout the day using a variety of hand tools and extensive knowledge to install, repair, and maintain plumbing systems.

Plumbers make an average of $59,880 per year, which is a respectable living, and that increases as they gain experience. 

Given that the top 10 percent earn more than $99,920, some plumbers are undoubtedly earning six figures.

2. Construction Manager

As a construction manager, your days would be spent managing various tradespeople and projects. 

You can make plans, establish budgets, oversee timelines, evaluate deadlines, and manage a team on an average day.

You’ll need some prior construction experience to pursue this path, and you can take a few college-level courses in business, accounting, or construction management. 

And if you succeed in landing a job with the median pay after demonstrating your abilities, you could make $98,890 per year.

3. Elevator Mechanic

Repairing, installing, and maintaining elevators are the primary duties of elevator mechanics. 

Elevator mechanics also work on escalators and other people-moving modes of transportation.

If you don’t have claustrophobia or acrophobia, this probably won’t be a problem for you, but if you are, however, this might not be the best choice for you.

 You could certainly bring home $97,860 per year as a salary as an elevator mechanic.

4. Electrical Powerline Technician

Electrical powerline technicians, who are also known as power utility technicians, are concerned with ensuring that all buildings have access to electricity. 

They sometimes work while standing in cherry pickers and scaling power poles as they install, maintain, and repair high-voltage power lines.

Your days are usually routine and you might be asked to assist if there is a problem. You could receive a median yearly salary of $74,530 for your hard work.

5. Aircraft Mechanic

If you enjoy flying, you could make plans to train to be an aircraft mechanic. Your days would be spent making sure that these magnificent flying machines are in top condition, fixing problems, and taking care of routine maintenance.

Technical schools approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are where aircraft mechanics learn their trade. 

With some time and some on-the-job training, you could be earning a yearly salary of, say, $65,550.

6. Geological and Hydrologic Technician

A career as a geological and hydrologic technician might be a great fit for you if you enjoy math and don’t mind getting your hands dirty. 

You’ll set up the necessary tools, gather and test samples, record data, and produce a variety of reports.

You must first obtain an Associate’s degree, then you’ll get to spend some time in a lab and sometimes outside.

Additionally, you could make a respectable median annual salary of $50,630.

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7. Boilermaker

Boilermakers are specialists who concentrate their efforts on the setup, upkeep, and repair of closed vats, boilers, and other receptacles for gases and liquids. 

They frequently also possess inspection abilities, which enable them to spot potential flaws before they develop into significant issues.

Boilermakers typically begin their careers through apprenticeship programs, which allows them to essentially combine academic study with paid work. 

After completing their training, they can expect to earn a median annual salary of $64,290.

8. Electrician

 The path to becoming a fully-fledged electrician can be challenging compared to other trades because apprenticeships can last up to four years. 

You’ll get the chance to learn everything you need to know to obtain your license in this manner, you’ll be paid while you are training, so that is beneficial. 

You could also earn the median salary of $60,040 per year once you become proficient in installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical components, wiring, and controls. 

9. HVAC Technician

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technicians start by attending trade school. 

After that, they will spend some time training on the job to make sure they are knowledgeable about how to install, maintain, and repair heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

After you get the hang of things, you might start making the $48,630 median yearly salary.  

10. Rotary Drill Operator

A career as a rotary drill operator might be a wise financial decision if you’re open to working in the oil and gas sector. 

Operating various drills, especially those that reach and extract oil and gas from the ground, would be the main focus of your job.

The majority of your education is obtained through on-the-job training, just like many of the best trade jobs

And once you’ve finished honing your skills, you’d have a chance to make a good living with a median annual salary of $56,380.

11. Home and Building Inspector

Your top priority as a home and building inspector is safety, so you ensure that structures, improvements, and repairs are made correctly and by local building codes.

You learn about various systems during your training, including HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. 

Additionally, you’ll learn about building and construction methods, enabling you to thoroughly inspect them. 

You can get paid a median salary of $61,640 per year for your expertise.

12. Landscape Architect

A career as a landscape architect may be ideal for you if you enjoy spending time outside, so you can create outdoor areas, such as parks, commercial courtyards, and backyards.

This is a trade position that calls for a license and typically calls for a bachelor’s degree. And if you meet the requirements, you could make a median annual salary of $67,950.

13. Wind Turbine Technician

You can consider a career as a wind turbine technician if the idea of working on a tower doesn’t bother you. 

By assisting with alternative energy sources, you’ll be saving the environment, which might make the work more fulfilling.

Normally, your days will be spent installing, maintaining, and fixing turbines. And you can earn a median annual salary of $56,260.

14. Solar Photovoltaic Installer

Solar photovoltaic installers are in the clean energy sector, they install and maintain solar power systems. 

With some on-the-job training, you can get started,  with a median annual salary of $47,670 well within reach.

15. Millwright

As a millwright, your main responsibilities would be to assemble, maintain, and repair a variety of machinery, primarily industrial machines. You would occasionally even disassemble and move them.

You can start down this exciting career path once you obtain some on-the-job training or finish a vocational program. 

Along the way, you can land a job paying at least the median annual salary of $55,060.

16. Power Plant Operator

Being a power plant operator could be a great fit for anyone who wants to make a difference in their community and is looking for one of the highest-paying trade jobs available. 

By operating machinery, interacting with controls, and more, you’ll contribute to keeping the lights on.

Power plant operators typically earn around $67,880 per year in salary and, you may surpass the six-figure threshold as you gain experience.

17. Pipefitter

Your primary duty as a pipefitter is to construct and maintain piping systems for various uses, and you can earn about $58,799 per year. 

The position can be used in the building, manufacturing, and other industrial sectors that rely on piping systems that are under low- or high-pressure.

18. CAD Drafter

Drafters create blueprints for buildings, technical drawings, and other project-related documents. 

They frequently employ technology, such as CAD software, in addition to hand-drawn designs, to aid in the process.

Starting annual salaries for CAD drafters are typically in the neighborhood of $55,141 and as your career progresses, you may be able to earn up to $112,136.

19. Civil Engineering Tech

Civil engineering technicians serve as the engineers’ assistants. To ensure that projects adhere to local codes and meet the necessary specifications, they support during the project design phases by handling cost estimates, assessing the site, and reviewing blueprints. 

Once construction has begun, they might also go to the site with an engineer.

Civil engineering technicians typically earn around $55,495 per year, making it a good option for anyone looking for a well-paying trade job. 

You can also gain worthwhile experience that will be beneficial to you if you decide to pursue a degree in civil engineering.

20. Heavy Equipment Mechanic

A career as a heavy equipment mechanic might be a great fit for those with mechanical aptitude who aren’t necessarily interested in typical road vehicles. 

Numerous industrial vehicles, including cranes, excavators, forklifts, and others, will be subject to maintenance and repair by you.

Heavy equipment maintenance and repair calls for a specialized skill set and can pay well. 

In general, salaries of around $49,000 annually are considered average, and as you gain experience, you may earn more than $64,000.

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21. Fiber Optics Tech

Typically used to deliver broadband internet, fiber optic lines are installed, maintained, and repaired by fiber optics technicians. 

Fiber optics technicians may occasionally require system design tasks, and the typical salary is around $53,260 per year.

22. Nuclear Technician

Reactors and other vital machinery are maintained safely at nuclear power plants by nuclear technicians. 

Monitoring system performance is an essential task that goes along with performing repairs and maintenance.

Salaries range from $53,570 to $116,680 annually, making it one of the highest-paying trade jobs available.

23. Industrial Mechanic

Industrial mechanics spend their days repairing and maintaining equipment at production facilities, making them one of the best trade jobs for those with a mechanical aptitude. 

They make an average of $51,088 annually, which is also respectable.

24. Telecommunications Line Technician

Telecommunications line technicians install, maintain, and replace telecommunications lines to keep the neighborhood connected. 

The position could involve anything from digging trenches for underground cables to scaling utility poles.

These professionals typically earn $52,237 per year or so in exchange for their time and expertise. And as your career progresses, salaries above $70,000 is attainable.

25. Truck Driving

A career as a truck driver might be a great fit for you if you enjoy being on the open road and don’t mind operating larger vehicles. 

The kind of truck you drive and the distance you travel typically determine how much you can make. 

The average CDL driver earns $64,609 per year, making it clear that this is one of the higher-paying trade jobs.


In the end, choosing to work in a trade can be a wise decision and there are skill shortages in many of the trade jobs that pay the highest wages. 

With a little training, you could be on your way to a fantastic trade job that will keep you happy and well-paid for the rest of your working years. 

You can check this article for the top highest-paying trade jobs in the US to help you make your choice.

Have a great day.

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