TRADE SCHOOL CAREERS: Best Paying Trade School Careers In 2023

Trade school careers
Image Credit: Broward Technical Colleges

As the job market changes, trade school careers are becoming more and more popular. Not only do these careers offer good pay and job security, but they also provide the opportunity to learn new skills and advance in your career. There are many different trade school careers, but not all are created equal. In this article, however, we outline the best-paying trade school careers in 2023, including the top online programs you can enroll in. So, let’s dive in!

20 Best Paying Trade School Careers in 2023

Many top trade school careers will be in high demand in 2023. If you’re looking for the best-paying trade school careers and top online programs to enroll in, then look no further! However, here are the 20 best-paying trade school careers to consider:

#1. HVAC Technician

HVAC technicians install, maintain, and repair heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They must be able to read blueprints and follow instructions to ensure that systems are installed correctly. 

HVAC technicians also perform regular maintenance and repairs to keep systems running efficiently. When systems break down, they troubleshoot the problem and repair it. They may also install new systems when necessary.

However, aspiring HVAC technicians can look forward to some of the best-paying trade school careers in 2023. The median annual salary for HVAC technicians is $51,920, and the top 10% earn more than $80,430. They are in high demand due to the growing popularity of energy-efficient homes and businesses. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of HVAC technicians will grow by 15% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

#2. Electrician

Electricians are one of the best-paying trade school careers. They receive on-the-job training that lasts about four years. During their training, electricians learn how to read blueprints, install and maintain electrical systems, and use hand and power tools. Many electricians also complete an apprenticeship program.

Electricians who complete an apprenticeship program earn more than those who don’t. Following this, the median annual wage for electricians who complete an apprenticeship is around $70,790, and $45,360 for those without completion. Overall, electricians are in high demand and are one of the best-paying trade school careers.

#3. Plumber

Plumbers are in high demand and continue to be one of the best-paying trade school careers in 2023. There are many reasons for this demand, including the growing population and the aging infrastructure in the United States. 

Plumbers install and repair pipe systems that carry water, gas, and sewage. They also install fixtures, such as toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. In addition to their technical skills, plumbers must be able to read and interpret blueprints and have good customer service skills. Their salary is around $59,880.

#4. Construction Manager

Construction managers plan, coordinate, and direct construction projects. They are responsible for budgeting, scheduling, and quality control. Construction managers usually have a bachelor’s degree in construction science, engineering, or management.

Construction managers are in high demand, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in this occupation will grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. With a median annual salary of $95,260, construction managers are among the highest-paid professionals in the construction industry.

The demand for new housing, office buildings, schools, and hospitals drives employment growth for construction managers. So, they oversee the construction of these buildings. In addition, the increasing popularity of green construction is expected to create demand for construction managers with experience in sustainable building practices.

#5. Auto Mechanic

Auto mechanics are in high demand and are some of the top-paying trade school careers. They earn a good salary and have a stable job. The average salary for an auto mechanic is $50,000, but experienced mechanics get much more.

Auto mechanics are in high demand because there are a lot of cars on the road. With the right training, you can become an expert in diagnosing and repairing cars. Meanwhile, you must know how to use various tools and have good problem-solving skills.

If you are interested in a career as an auto mechanic, you should consider attending a trade school. Trade schools offer numerous programs that can give you the skills to be successful. Additionally, you can find programs at community colleges, technical schools, and online.

#6. Diesel Mechanic

Diesel mechanics are responsible for performing maintenance, repairs, and inspections on diesel engines. With the increasing popularity of diesel-powered vehicles, the demand for qualified diesel mechanics will continue to grow in the coming years.

Diesel mechanics typically complete a formal training program at a trade school or community college. Many employers also require diesel mechanics to have certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Furthermore, diesel mechanics are among the highest-paid trade school careers, with a median annual salary of $52,160. The top 10% receive over $80,000 annually. Hence, with the demand growth, this career has excellent job security and good earning potential.

#7. Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft mechanics are responsible for the maintenance and repair of aircraft. They inspect aircraft before and after flights and perform routine maintenance and repairs. 

Aircraft mechanics typically work in hangars but may also work in other settings such as on the tarmac. In addition, they earn an average salary of $58,800 per year.

#8. Boilermaker

A boilermaker is a tradesperson who fabricates, installs, and maintains boilers, tanks, and closed vats. Boilermakers also install piping systems and maintain them.  They typically work in factories, power plants, and other industrial settings. Their average salary is about $50,000.

#9. Solar Installer

A solar installer is responsible for installing solar panels on roofs and other structures. They must ensure the panels are well-installed alongside the electrical connections. Solar installers typically work for solar panel manufacturers or installation companies. And their average salary ranges from $37,000 to $60,000 per year.

#10. Welder

Welders are responsible for the welding of metals. They perform welding operations on metals and perform routine maintenance and repairs. Additionally, welders typically earn an average salary of $53,567 per year.

#11. Pipefitter

Pipefitters install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases. They typically work in industrial settings, such as factories, power plants, and chemical plants. Meanwhile, pipefitters typically earn an annual salary of $55,000.

#12. Millwright

Millwrights are also among the top-paying trade school careers. They are responsible for the installation and maintenance of industrial machinery. They typically work in the manufacturing or construction industries and may need to travel to job sites. However, their annual salary is about $60,000.

#13. Machinist

Machinists are responsible for the fabrication and repair of metal parts. They usually work in factories and other industrial settings. Furthermore, machinists receive an annual salary of $55,000.

#14. Computer Programmer

Computer programmers create and test code that enables computer applications and software programs to function well. They typically work in office settings, the information technology industry and may be required to travel to client sites. Their annual salary is between $75,000 and $80,000.

#15. Solar Energy Technician

Solar energy technicians install and maintain solar panel systems. They are in high demand as the world moves towards renewable energy sources. 

In addition, solar energy technicians must follow blueprints and instructions from engineers and other solar professionals. Typically, they have an associate degree in solar energy technology or a related field. Their average salary ranges from $52,510 to $60,000 per year.

#16. Wind Energy Technician

Wind energy technicians work on wind turbines. They are also in high demand as the use of wind turbines increases. Most wind energy technicians have an associate degree in wind energy technology or a related field. And their average salary is $54,370 per year.

#17. Geothermal Energy Technician

Geothermal energy technicians drill into the earth to tap into steam and hot water reservoirs to generate electricity. These technicians install and maintain geothermal heating and cooling systems. The average salary for this career is $52,610.

#18. Nuclear Technician

Nuclear technicians are responsible for operating and maintaining the equipment used in nuclear power plants. They also monitor the plant’s operations to ensure it’s safe and efficient. The average salary is $79,140.

#19. Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists use high-energy radiation to treat cancer and other diseases. They work with patients to develop treatment plans and deliver radiation therapy. The average salary for this career is $80,570.

#20. Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are also on the list of the top-paying trade school careers. They clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral disease, and provide other preventive dental care. They also educate patients on how to maintain good oral health. However, dentist hygienists receive about $74,070.

Can You Attend Online Trade School Programs? 

Yes, you can attend online trade school programs. Many trade schools offer online courses you can take at your own pace. You must have a high school diploma or GED to be eligible to attend online trade school programs.

Some trade school programs may have a few on-campus requirements, such as attending labs or clinical rotations. But, for the most part, you can complete most of your trade school education online. Meanwhile, this flexibility is ideal for students working full-time or having other obligations that make attending traditional on-campus classes difficult.

Best Online Trade School Programs

Here are some great online trade school programs to consider:

  • HVAC Technician Training Program
  • Electrician Training Program
  • Plumbing Technician Training Program
  • Diesel Mechanic Training Program
  • Auto Mechanic Training Program
  • Collision Repair Technician Training Program
  • Welding Technician Training Program
  • Computer Technician Training Program
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician Training Program

How Long Are Trade School Programs? 

Most trade school programs are between 9 months and 2 years. Some programs may be shorter or longer, depending on the trade and the level of training required. For example, a program to train someone to be a certified welder may be shorter than one to train someone to be a registered nurse.

What Are the Highest Paying Trade School Salaries? 

Trade school salaries depend on the particular trade and the geographical location. Some of the highest-paying trades are electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians. Electricians in New York City, for example, can make upwards of $70 per hour. Plumbers in Los Angeles can make $50 per hour or more. And HVAC technicians in Chicago can make $40 per hour or more.

However, geographical location is not the only factor affecting trade school salaries. The company size can also make a difference. For instance, a large company pays more than a small company. In addition, the company type can also affect salaries. A company that specializes in a particular trade is likely to pay more than a company that does not specialize in that trade.

What Is The Best Paying Trade Job? 

There are many trade jobs out there and it can be hard to determine the best paying. It depends on your experience, location, and the specific trade. However, a few trade jobs pay better than others. 

For example, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians are usually in high demand and can command higher wages. Additionally, jobs requiring specialized training or certification have a higher salary. So, if you’re looking for a high-paying trade job, consider your options and choose one that meets your skills and experience.

What Trades Will Be Most In Demand?

It depends on the specific needs of the employer at any given time. However, certain trades are generally in high demand due to the nature of the work. For example, plumbers and electricians are always in demand due to the essential nature of their work. 

Similarly, trades that involve working with technology are also in high demand, as the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology.

What Trade Is Most In Demand Right Now? 

Some of the trade-in demand right now include electricians, welders, HVAC technicians, and plumbers. 

What’s The Quickest Trade To Learn? 

Some of the quickest trades to learn include carpentry and plumbing. These trades typically require less formal training than other options and can be picked up relatively quickly. 

What Is The Hardest Trade To Learn? 

The hardest trade to learn is electrical work because it requires more specialized knowledge and skills. 

Final Thoughts

There are many trade school careers out there with amazing potential salaries. The best-paying trade school careers in 2023 are listed above. So, if you’re looking for one with great potential earnings, consider one of these trade school careers.



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