Top 20 Highest Paying Trade School Jobs
You know you need an education, but you don’t have the finances to spend four years in school. Or perhaps you just aren’t interested in spending that long gaining an education. So what do you do? Consider an education at a trade school. Many people who have graduated from a trade school are making just as much money, if not more, than those who have college degrees.
The differences between traditional college and a trade school are basically time. In the first few years of college, you will work on getting your general classes out of the way. However, in a trade school, you will take courses that are specific to the career you want. Because you will skip taking those general education courses, you will also save a big chunk of change.
Highest Paying Trade School Careers Overview
Median Annual Income: $38,280
Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 6% increase – average
Marine mechanics need very specialized education in order to keep watercraft running correctly. Employment is generally located at seaports and marinas. However, there are boats located in inland areas as well, such as at amusement parks. There are also mobile marine mechanics that seek out and help stranded boats. Duties of this position include testing electrical systems, fuel systems, rigging and more. Mechanics also test and replace parts as needed, in order to keep watercraft running smoothly. Other duties involve educating clients in repairs that need to be made, as well as preventative maintenance.
State Fair Community College offers an Associate’s of Applied Science in Marine Technology. This degree is designed to keep you on the forefront in this career. You will take courses in marine rigging, ignition systems and engine components, just to name a few.
Automotive Service Tech
Median Annual Income: $38,470
Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 6% increase – average
Service techs are employed by dealers, local shops, parts stores and more. The main job of a service tech is to ensure that vehicles and vehicle systems are running properly. Techs will test systems and parts in order to find issues that may be looming ahead, in order to prevent issues and accidents. Additionally, service techs spend a great deal of time testing and replacing computer parts and switches. Other job duties may include changing oil, rotating tires and explaining preventative maintenance to customers, as well as answering questions that customers may have.
Many automotive service techs graduate from Universal Technical Institute. This school offers a top automotive program that not only teaches the basics, but allows students to advance to manufacturer-specific courses.
Median Annual Income: $39,390
Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 5% increase – average
Welders are responsible for joining two pieces of metal together, permanently, using very high heat. Several different industries use welders, including airplane manufacturers, building companies, car fabricators and more. Anything that requires a strong, metal bond requires welding. Welders work in a variety of environments including outside in the weather and the elements. Many times welders find themselves in odd positions and in tight spaces in order to join metal parts. Because of the working conditions and the intense heat used, this occupation has one of the highest rates of illnesses and injuries.
Hill College offers one of the most reasonable welding courses, in the U.S. This school provides certificates in welding as well as anassociate’s of applied science. Courses include industrial safety and metallurgy, to name a couple.
Auto Body Repairman
Median Annual Income: $40,379 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 8% increase – average Auto body repairmen spend their days repairing damaged cars and trucks. These people sand and paint vehicle parts; and once ready, they will put the vehicles together. Auto body workers are known to restore classic vehicles as well. This position requires a lot of work with power tools, which can be loud. Workers also come in contact with a lot of paint fumes and dust. However, most shops are well ventilated. Auto body repair people also find themselves in tight spaces and awkward positions, so being physically fit is a plus. Holmes Community College offers anassociate of applied science degree and is the cheapest option we found. This course teaches electrical systems, vehicle refinishing and more. In this course, you will also receive hands-on instruction and experience.
Median Annual Income: $41,330 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 12% increase – faster than average Masons use bricks, concrete, rocks, etc. to build structures such as walls, buildings, fences and more. Masons must be in great physical condition as they are required to carry heavy objects as well as move them. Masons also spend a lot of time on their knees or bent over. Generally, structures are built outdoors, so mason workers must be fit enough to endure harsh elements, such as the blazing sun. Many masons work overtime in the summer when the weather is clear, but work less during winter because of the cold and snow. Ivy Tech Community College offers a degree inConstruction Management. This program is one of most affordable that we could find, in this field. You’ll take courses that include building material strength and measurements along with many others.
Median Annual Income: $43,600 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 8% increase – average Carpenters build a variety of things, including buildings, highways and homes. Carpenters also do smaller scale jobs such as home remodeling and installing kitchen cabinets. This job requires a great deal of physical stamina and flexibility. Each day on the job will be different from the one before; you may be nailing a wall together one day and driving a forklift the next. Generally, carpenters work outdoors in the elements. In this profession, there may be overtime when the weather is warm, but downtime during the winter. Because of the nature of carpentry, it brings about several hazards; being alert is key. Central Georgia Tech offers diploma program, in Carpentry Technology. In this course, students take classes that include structural framing and residential framing, among others. Georgia residents get a $4,000 discount on this program.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Median Annual Income: $44,090 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 12% increase – faster than average Choosing a career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a good choice for those who love helping others. LPNs generally work under doctors as well as registered nurses. Many LPNs work in caregiving facilities and hospitals. There are also opportunities to freelance, as many people are searching for in-home caregivers for ill family members that need an extra bit of care. Moreover, schools and larger companies also have positions for licensed practical nurses. Because people need care around the clock, hours are generally flexible in this position. There are also physical demands that require you to be in good health and physically fit. Northern Oklahoma College offers one of the lowest costPractical Nursing Eligibility programs, we have seen when comparing LPN programs. In this course students will take classes such as fundamentals in nursing, microbiology, physiology and more. This intense course takes two years to complete.
Heavy Equipment Operator
Median Annual Income: $45,040 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 12% increase – faster than average Heavy equipment operators are also known as construction equipment operators. People in this field control large machines such as bulldozers, cranes and more, which all require special training and skill. Job responsibilities vary, depending on which company the operator works for as well as the machines that are needed. It could vary from snow-plowing roads to leveling ground, in order to start construction on a new high-rise office building. In this field, workers are often subjected to dirt, dust, rain, snow and more. Because of the extreme conditions and the elements, it is important that workers are in good physical condition. Turtle Mountain Community College offers a degree inBuilding Construction Technology. This is one of the most affordable vocational programs that we have found in this area. This program teaches students the importance of safety as well as provides the ability to participate in construction jobs.
Median Annual Income: $45,170 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 10% increase – faster than average Diesel Mechanics repair, inspect and maintain diesel engines. Mechanics are responsible for discussing repair work with customers, preparing work orders, run through diagnostic tests and more. Diesel systems work differently than regular gasoline systems, so training is very specialized. Diesel mechanics generally work inside a shop. However, this can be a very dirty job, because mechanics work around oil and grease. In this profession, several different tools are used, such an pneumatic wrenches, lathes and screwdrivers. Many industrial machines use diesel engines because the fuel lasts longer than regular fuel and it’s more economical. Mechanics can expect to work on diesel trucks, tractors, factory machines and more. Aspiring diesel mechanics can take theDiesel Equipment Technology program, offered by Southwest Mississippi Community College. This course can be completed in one year, for a certificate. However, a two year associate’s of science degree is also available. Training for this course is based on ASE Certification for Heavy Truck Techs.
Median Annual Income: $49,090 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 4% increase – slightly lower than average Commercial divers spend their workdays under the surface of the water. Many times these divers are installing or fixing cracked or broken structures. In order to do this, an underwater welding process is used. Many of these divers live on ships and are employed by the oil industry. These people spend a great deal of time away from home. However, there are also commercial divers who are paid to take expert photographs of marine life as well as of underwater structures, that have other day jobs. Other employment may include media diving, for underwater photos and stories. Additionally, HAZMAT divers are the ones who search for bodies in lakes and rivers, as well as helping to clean up harmful water spills. CDA Technical Institute offers an underwater welding course that is the most reasonably priced that we have seen. This course takes roughly 6 months to complete. CDA is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. This school has several professional affiliations which include: Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI), International Marine Contracts Association (IMCA) and National Academy of Scuba Educators (NASE) just to name a few.
Median Annual Income: $51,450 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 16% increase – faster than average Plumbing is another luxury that most people in the U.S. use on a daily basis. This creates several different types of plumbing jobs and has a great career outlook. Plumbers often install pipes in buildings and in homes, while they are being framed. However, plumbers are often called to solve emergency problems such as broken or frozen pipes. Because of this, those looking into this career must be okay with being on-call at times and working odd-hours. Plumbers must know how to read blueprints in order to place the proper piping in the correct locations as well. It is also important for plumbers to have HVAC knowledge in order to add piping to those systems as well. Stratford Career Institute offers atraining course in plumbing. In this program, future plumbers are taught the history of plumbing as well as how to start a plumbing business. Other courses focus on plumbing safety and building and plumbing codes. More advanced classes teach students how to deal with septic systems, remodeling projects and more.
Median Annual Income: $52,720 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 9% increase – average Electricity has a huge presence in our daily lives. It is needed for almost everything we do. This is excellent news for those wishing to become an electrician, because it means more jobs and job stability. Electricians are responsible for providing the right amount of electricity to where it is needed. This may include wiring a home or changing a faulty outlet. Other jobs include working on motors, to make sure they are wired and running properly. Electricians have to know how and where electricity works, as well as having the ability to read blueprints, in order to know where to safely place power lines. It is imperative that those seeking employment in this field have an excellent understanding of safety protocols, in order to keep themselves and others safe. Those seeking to become an electrician can study theElectrician Career Training Program at Altius Career College. This course teaches items such as how to install lighting, correctly repairing wiring, testing techniques and more. Once this course is completed, students will be ready to take the NCCER levels one and two testing, for certificates.
Median Annual Income: $58,480 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 10% increase – faster than average Home Inspectors are hired to look at specific items before a home is purchased, to make sure there are no underlying issues. These items may include the heating and cooling systems, foundation, structural integrity and code violations. Additionally, inspectors may search for signs of infestation as well as water and pipe issues. Home inspectors must be in good physical shape as they are required to crawl into tight places and use ladders to climb on roofs. Many home inspector jobs are available through companies as well as those who prefer to own their own business. Those interested in becoming a home inspector can take theHome Inspector Career Training Program, offered by Stratford Career Institute. Future inspectors will take courses that include ethics, how to determine property values, building sites and landscaping. Other classes include topics such as how to evaluate chimneys, foundations and plumbing. Once this course is completed, it is necessary to become state licensed before practicing.
Architectural and Civil Drafter
Median Annual Income: $54,640 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 7% increase – average Drafters are the people who create the actual, technical plans from the ideas of architects and engineers. These plans could range from highways to buildings to homes and more. Drafters spend a lot of time on the computer, using specialized software to help the blueprints come out perfect. These people may also visit clients to discuss plans, or job sites to verify that the structure is being built correctly. Many times drafters are needed throughout the completion of projects to ensure that the plans are being followed precisely and to answer questions that builders may have. There are also drafters that create how-to manuals for various products; especially electronic items. In this field a strong math background is important, as you will be doing many calculations. Metropolitan Community College offers a program inArchitectural Documentation Software. This course teaches students how to use the latest and most informative building software that is currently available. This course is geared towards beginners as well as those with a bit more knowledge of this subject.
Aviation Maintenance Tech
Median Annual Income: $60,270 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 5% increase – average An aviation maintenance tech is also known as an aircraft mechanic. In this job the tech is responsible for maintaining the aircraft’s engine and electrical systems. Techs are also in-charge of testing aircraft components, searching for wear and tear on items and changing those that need to be replaced. This ensures the aircraft is always safe for flight. Jobs for aviation maintenance techs are usually located at airports in service shops. Techs must be able to read and interpret schematics of different types, as well as having a great understanding of aircraft electrical systems. The most affordableaviation maintenance tech program we could find is offered by Portland Community College. This course is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and is approved by the State Division of Vocational Education. This school offers a one year course, in which graduates receive a certificate. However, a two year certificate, as well as an associate’s degree is also offered by Portland Community College in this field.
Median Annual Income: $62,060 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 8% increase – average Boilers are large containers which hold water, gases and other liquids. Boilermakers spend time putting together these large boilers, which are used in many different industries such as dry-cleaning, power plants and more. Some boilers are used as part of a trains steam engine. Those in this field may be required to install, repair or maintain boilers which require the worker to be in good physical condition. Other duties may include checking and adjusting the pressure inside the boilermaker, as well as heat exchangers and piping. Boilermakers may have to travel to sites in order to set up these devices, which may also require extended time away from home. Training to become a boilermaker is done by a paid apprenticeship program. The best school to learn this trade is through Boilermakers National Apprenticeship Program. This course lasts roughly four years. In this program, students begin by learning about basics, such as ropes, cranes, loads, distribution of weight and more. Eventually, students will learn about arc welding, gas metals and more.
Median Annual Income: $63,480 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 8% increase – average Landscaping Designer, also known as landscape architects are the people who create the aesthetics of office buildings, parks, gardens and more. This position requires plans to be created, generally on a computer, so it is an indoor, partially sedentary job. Most of the time plans are drawn up using CAD software. So it is important to have computer knowledge. Designers will also create models to show clients. There are times when the designer must meet with clients to discuss the plans as well as visit jobsites to ensure the project is running smoothly. Most states require landscape designers to be licensed. Ashworth College offers an online course inLandscape Design. This course is completely self-paced, which allows students to study in their own time. For the motivated student, the course can be completed in 4 months. Before choosing this profession, be sure to check with your state for local licensure requirements.
Median Annual Income: $72,910 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 20% increase – faster than average Dental hygienists are responsible for freeing teeth of tartar as well as looking for signs of decay and disease in the mouth. Hygienists report all findings to the dentist and may help to create a treatment plan for patients. Additionally, a hygienist may teach clients the best ways to care for their teeth and gums. Other duties might include assisting dentists while filling cavities or during oral surgeries. This position requires the use of several different hand tools and excellent dexterity. This occupation also requires state-specific licensure. Lincoln College of New England offers several healthcare courses, including dental hygiene. Courses at this school are flexible, allowing students to also work, if necessary. This college provides personalized courses, as well as tutoring and helping students find a job after graduation.
Median Annual Income: $89,300 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 11% increase – faster than average Construction managers oversee building projects, which may include residential homes, commercial buildings, as well as other building projects. These people make sure all of the details are correct when a structure is being built. General contractors, as they are also known, work closely with architects and engineers to make sure the project is completed correctly and on time. Contractors are also responsible for hiring carpenters to complete jobs quickly and efficiently. Construction managers are also required to gather all of the required documents prior to beginning a project. Many people in this position choose to work for a company. However, there is also the ability to own your own company. TheContractor/Construction Management Program is available from Stratford University. This course teaches the fundamentals of buildings such as measuring correctly, estimating projects and how to manage a job site effectively. This course also teaches computer estimating, how to bid a remodel job, keeping on budget for equipment and more.
Median Annual Income: $96,270 Employment Outlook (2016-2026): 7% increase – average A career in electronics engineering provides many job opportunities. Some of these opportunities include working for the government, becoming an entrepreneur or working in the private sector. Many of the items we use on a daily basis involve electronics that will need servicing and repairing at some point. Some of these electronics include GPS systems, computers, electronic motors and more. Working in this field may require the engineer to visit different places and speak with other business people when drafting a plan or repairing products. However, the bulk of the time, the engineer will be sitting at a desk, using a computer. Houston Community College offers anElectrical Training Program, which covers the basics of wiring and braking. Other topics include reading schematics correctly, learning safety interlocks and more. Graduates of this program generally obtain entry-level employment, such as wiring homes or industrial projects. The industrial courses provide students with the knowledge of certain equipment used in different industries.
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