Are you looking for a career that offers high earning potential? Skilled trades are a great option, with most workers earning above average wages for their level of experience. In fact the top 7 highest paying skilled trades are all known to produce 6-figure salary careers.
Trades with the highest pay typically require specialized and expert-level skills, but they offer lucrative opportunities that are tied to the infrastructure of modern society. If you want to earn a good living while keeping the wheels of industry rolling, read this article till the end.
Ready to take the first step towards a high-paying career in the trades? The SkillHero app is designed to help you along the way. Claim your free account here to get started.
What are skilled trades?
Skilled trades are occupations that require specialized training and expertise, many of which are critical for keeping modern society moving. These jobs are in high demand and offer competitive salaries due to the scarcity of skilled workers in these fields.
Some trades are particularly lucrative due to their specialized skills, high demand, and difficult labor. However, all trades offer numerous benefits, including job security, the opportunity to be your own boss, and the ability to work with your hands and see the tangible results of your labor.
Regardless of which path you pursue, SkillHero can connect you with the resources and opportunities you need to succeed in your career.
Benefits of working in skilled trades
Skilled trades encompass a wide range of industries and job opportunities, from industrial and construction trades to service trades like nursing and hair styling. The hands-on, practical approach to education and training in skilled trades offers a cost-effective alternative to a traditional four-year degree.
These careers provide numerous benefits, including career growth, high earning potential, and a wide range of job opportunities. In addition to less expensive education, skilled trades provide practical careers that prepare individuals for real-life work experiences.
With SkillHero, students and skilled trade workers can easily find opportunities for training and employment in their trade. Sign up for a free SkillHero account to start your journey and explore the countless opportunities available.
7 highest paying skilled trades in America
While any trade career is likely to pay above-average rates, some of the most in-demand and specialized paths can help workers earn 6-figure annual salaries. Here are the seven highest paying skilled trades that empower workers to earn $100,000 per year or more.
Elevator and escalator technician
Elevator and escalator technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing elevators and escalators in various buildings.
They typically require a high school diploma or equivalent, along with completion of a formal apprenticeship program or vocational training in elevator and escalator maintenance. Mechanical skills, attention to detail, and problem-solving abilities are essential in this role.
Day-to-day tasks may include inspecting equipment, troubleshooting and repairing malfunctions, and ensuring compliance with safety regulations. Common certifications for elevator and escalator technicians include the Certified Elevator Technician (CET) and the Qualified Elevator Inspector (QEI) credentials.
Apprenticeships for elevator and escalator technicians typically last 48 months over 4-5 years, combining on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Read this article to learn how to get started looking for an elevator or escalator technician apprenticeship.
Ironworkers are construction professionals who work with steel and iron to erect buildings, bridges, and other structures.
Their job duties include installing and reinforcing iron and steel girders, columns, and other structures using welding equipment and scaffolding. They also inspect and maintain existing structures, and may be required to work at great heights.
The median salary for ironworkers is around $60,500 per year, with experienced masters able to earn over $100K.
To become an ironworker, you'll need to complete a formal apprenticeship program, which includes on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Some vocational or technical training in welding and metalworking may also be required.
Lineworkers are skilled trade workers responsible for installing and repairing electrical power and telecommunications systems. They work on power lines, poles, and towers to ensure uninterrupted operation of electrical systems.
This career starts with a high school diploma or equivalent like a GED and a formal apprenticeship or vocational training program. They must also acquire a valid commercial driver's license and be certified in first aid and CPR.
Lineworkers perform tasks such as installing and repairing electrical power systems, reading and interpreting electrical blueprints, and testing and maintaining power lines and equipment. The median salary for a Lineworker is around $84,340 per year. It's a physically demanding job that requires working outdoors in various weather conditions.
A piledriver is a skilled trade worker who operates equipment to drive piles or columns into the ground to provide support for buildings, bridges, or other structures. They are responsible for setting up and operating pile-driving equipment such as diesel hammers, vibratory hammers, or hydraulic presses.
Piledrivers typically work outdoors and may travel to different job sites. To become a piledriver, you'll need a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as completion of an apprenticeship program or technical training. Piledrivers are a staple of the construction industry and needed on many job sites, drawing a median salary of around $64,310 per year.
The typical tasks of a piledriver include reading and interpreting blueprints, driving piles to the specified depths, and ensuring that the piles are properly aligned and set. Piledrivers may also be responsible for performing routine maintenance on their equipment and following safety protocols to prevent accidents.
Electricians play a crucial role in installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems in various settings. Their responsibilities include interpreting blueprints, installing wiring and lighting systems, and ensuring that all electrical components are in compliance with building codes.
Becoming an electrician typically requires completing a formal training program, such as an apprenticeship or vocational school, and obtaining a license. Electricians have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as residential, commercial, or industrial electrical work, as well as in specific types of systems like solar panels or telecommunications.
Staying updated on new technologies is essential for electricians, as the field is constantly evolving. This includes learning about energy-efficient systems, smart home technology, and renewable energy sources.
Obtaining a license is crucial for electricians, as it demonstrates their competency and ensures that they are following safety regulations. With the potential for specialization and the importance of staying updated on new technologies, a career as an electrician offers promising opportunities for those willing to put in the necessary training and dedication.
Electronics technicians are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining electronic equipment and systems in a variety of work settings, including manufacturing, telecommunications, and transportation. They may also work in research and development, providing support for engineers and scientists.
To become an electronics technician, a person needs a combination of formal education and on-the-job training. Most electronics technicians have an associate degree in electronics technology or a related field, and may also pursue certification through organizations such as the Electronics Technicians Association or the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians.
The median annual wage for electronics technicians is around $66,390, and the job outlook is favorable, with almost 10,000 new jobs becoming available each year.
Pipefitters play a crucial role in the construction and maintenance of piping systems for a variety of fluids and gasses. Their duties and responsibilities include reading blueprints, measuring and cutting pipes, and welding or soldering them together.
To become a pipefitter, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required, as well as completion of an apprenticeship program or vocational training. This can involve classroom instruction as well as on-the-job training to learn the necessary skills and techniques.
According to the background information provided, the median salary for pipefitters is around $79,880 per year, with projected job growth of almost 50,000 openings per year. As demand for new and better pipework increases, pursuing this skilled trade job continues to offer a stable and rewarding career path.
Who should work in the skilled trades
Skilled trades are best suited for those who enjoy hands-on, practical work and have strong attention to detail. A person who excels in skilled trades will often enjoy problem-solving and analytical thinking, and have a natural curiosity about how things work.
They are passionate about their craft but patient, willing to acquire the necessary education and certificates. While starting a skilled trade career is not generally seen as easier than getting a college degree, it is a much more appealing path to people who prefer a combination of hands-on work and critical thinking.
Trade professionals often get to enjoy working both individually and as part of a team on a variety of job sites. They need strong communication skills and are able to effectively collaborate with clients, colleagues, and other professionals.
If you possess these traits and want an above-average salary, investigating trade school programs and apprenticeship opportunities may be a good next step. These programs are designed to be accessible to anyone willing to work hard, but they do have a competitive application process and (in some cases) require payment.
Get started with SkillHero
Get started with SkillHero by creating an account on our mobile app or website. Once registered, you can explore career paths and learn more about trade jobs that interest you.
SkillHero connects students and workers with opportunities, training, and resources to enhance their career. Whether you're interested in carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, or other trades, SkillHero has you covered.
Working in the trades includes benefits such as above average salaries, ongoing education, a strong outlook for growth, and the chance to provide a valuable service to society.
Ready to pursue one of these high-paying trade jobs? Tap here to claim your free SkillHero account.