The Top 15 Career Options for Trade School Graduates
Radiation therapists, web developers, and wind turbine technicians are among the best trade workers. Many high school graduates find that trade school is a more economical and safe road to job entrance and professional growth than a typical four-year university. Trade schools specialize in advanced career preparation in high-demand industries, allowing students to pursue gainful jobs immediately after graduation. This guide introduces the best trade occupations, outlining the qualifications, income opportunities, and general duties for each role.
Trade schools teach the technical skills needed to pursue a specific occupation.
Trade school students can receive a certificate, diploma, or associate degree.
Trade schools, unlike conventional four-year universities, do not ask you to take general education courses.
The best trade jobs are radiation nurses, web designers, and wind turbine technicians. Many high school graduates discover that a trade school is a more cost-effective and secure path to employment and career advancement than a traditional four-year university. Trade schools, also referred to as technical colleges or vocational schools focus on specialized work readiness in high-demand fields, enabling students to seek lucrative careers.
Choosing between a trade school and a four-year university is a difficult decision.
Unlike a conventional four-year university, which offers students a comprehensive liberal arts and humanities degree, a trade school focuses on teaching students the specialized experience and skills required for a particular profession, such as welding and mechanical repair.
Trade schools may be public or corporate, though all of them are for-profit enterprises. Before going to a postsecondary school, make sure the college has been approved. Based on whether you choose to receive a credential, diploma, or associate degree, vocational programs will last anywhere from eight weeks to two years. Graduates can then sit for licensing examinations, as long as they meet those criteria.
Based on whether you choose to receive a credential, diploma, or associate degree, vocational programs will last anywhere from eight weeks to two years.
Plumber, electrician, pharmacy technician, and paralegal are all common trade school occupations. Students may also participate in a culinary arts program to train as restaurant cooks and private chefs, or receive a degree in automobile technology, service administration, or crash repair/refinishing to serve as car mechanics.
Despite the fact that many community colleges have vocational programs, students must also complete general education standards in order to graduate to a four-year institution. In comparison, trade schools only need students to complete coursework related to their desired profession. This emphasis is perfect for people who have distinct personalities.
The Top 10 Trade School Careers
We’ll go through 15 of the highest-paying trade school workers in this segment. The figures below should give you a good understanding of the various income potentials of these professions. It’s important to remember that your exact pay can vary based on a number of variables, including your position, workplace, and personal qualifications. We also talk about career stability, or how likely an employee is to retain their job for a long time and earn a steady salary. Finally, each job profile contains predictions for potential development based on Bureau of Labor Statistics projections (BLS).
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer $68,750 12%
- Respiratory Therapist $61,330 19%
- Electrician $56,180 8%
- Plumber $55,160 4%
- IT Technician $54,760 8%
- Ironworker $53,650 5%
- Wind Turbine Technician $52,910 61%
- Legal Assistant $51,740 10%
- Geological and Petroleum Technician $51,130 5%
- HVACR Technician $48,370 4%
- Licensed Practical Nurse $47,480 9%
Installer and Repairer of Elevators
Elevators, escalators, rotating walkways, chairlifts, and other vehicle lifts are assembled, maintained, and repaired by these technical experts. Until assembling and checking the elevator for reliability, they read construction blueprints to decide what kind of machinery and related components to use. Elevator technicians are normally self-employed. Elevator technicians perform scheduled repairs in addition to troubleshooting issues to ensure compliance with construction regulations and government safety requirements.
Elevator mechanics make an average annual wage of $84,990 as consultants for private machinery firms. Elevator construction and maintenance jobs are expected to rise 7% through 2029, creating around 1,900 new jobs, according to the BLS. A four-year apprenticeship is required to become an elevator installer and repairer.
A radiation therapist is one of the best-paying trade jobs on this list. According to the BLS, radiation therapist positions are projected to grow 7% between 2019 and 2029. These professionals earn a median annual income of $85,560. Around 63% of therapists work for private, public, or state hospitals; the remainder finds employment with doctor offices and outpatient care centers. The BLS estimates that radiation therapist jobs will grow by 7% over the next five years.
A therapist who works with radiation- Radiation therapists treat dangerous conditions like cancer in collaboration with clinicians, surgeons, and oncologists. These medical professionals supervise radiation therapy treatments, which include the use of devices such as linear accelerators to shrink and remove cancerous tumors. They still keep an eye on patients during recovery for any negative reactions when following stringent safety guidelines.
Radiation therapy jobs are expected to rise 7% between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Radiation therapists receive a median annual salary of $85,560, making them the highest-paying trade worker on this list. Approximately 63 percent of therapists serve in residential, municipal, or state clinics, with the rest working in doctor’s offices and outpatient treatment centers.
Radiation therapists may have either an associate or bachelor’s degree from an American Registry of Radiologic Technologists-accredited program. In most jurisdictions, these professionals must also qualify for and retain government licensure.
Geological and Petroleum Technician
Geological and Petroleum Technician positions are projected to grow 5% through 2029. To access entry-level positions, you’ll need at least an associate degree in geosciences or geographic information systems. Many technicians go on to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in petroleum engineering. These technicians find, identify, and extract resources and earn a median yearly wage of $51,130. They can make $72,440 by working in the oil and gas extraction field and may further increase their pay to $94,510 by advancing into management.
Technician in geology and petroleum – These experts collaborate with petroleum engineers and scientists to locate, classify, and extract natural resources such as gas, coal, and oil. Geological and petroleum technicians who work mainly in the field gather material samples for inspection, while test technicians examine these samples for traces of metals and hydrocarbons to determine a site’s efficiency.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, geological and petroleum technicians receive a median annual salary of $51,130. Serving in the oil and gas exploration industry pays $72,440, and they will earn up to $94,510 if they advance to managerial positions. Via 2029, geological and petroleum technician jobs are expected to rise by 5%. You’ll need at least an associate’s degree in geosciences or geographic information systems to get into entry-level positions. Many technicians go on to study petroleum engineering at the bachelor’s or master’s level.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Diagnostic medical sonographers assist physicians and surgeons with diagnosing illnesses and other medical conditions. The average sonographer makes about $68,750 a year, with the potential to earn up to $89,890 by working in an outpatient care center. Medical sonographers typically hold a technical certificate from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The BLS projects that jobs for diagnostic medical sonographers will grow 12% between 2019 and 2029.
Sonographer specializing in medical diagnosis – Diagnostic medical sonographers help doctors and surgeons diagnose infections and other medical disorders, as well as prepare patients for surgery. Sonographers use imaging machines to create sonograms and ultrasounds, which aid in the detection and identification of defects in the human body. These specialists may focus on a particular body part, such as the heart, blood vessels, female reproductive system, or abdominal cavity.
Diagnostic medical sonographer positions are expected to rise by 12% between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The estimated annual salary for a sonographer is $68,750, with the possibility of earning up to $89,890 while employed in an outpatient treatment center. A professional degree from a school approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is usually required of medical sonographers. They can also get an associate’s degree in sonography, which would allow them for more advanced work.
Dental hygienists help patients maintain good oral health through preventative procedures and hygiene education. They use a variety of hand and ultrasonic tools to remove plaque, tartar, and stains, and search for signs of oral diseases. According to the BLS, dental hygienist positions are projected to grow 6% through 2029, adding 13,300 new jobs to the U.S. workforce. Over 9 in 10 dental hygienists work in dentist offices, with a median annual salary of $76,220.
Diagnostic medical sonographer positions are expected to rise by 12% between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The estimated annual salary for a sonographer is $68,750, with the possibility of earning up to $89,890 while employed in an outpatient treatment center.
A professional degree from a school approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is usually required of medical sonographers. They can also get an associate’s degree in sonography, which would allow them for more advanced work.
Electrician positions are projected to grow 8% through 2029. Most electricians develop their skills through a paid apprenticeship program that lasts 4-5 years. These technical professionals earn a median salary of $56,180, with the top 10% making over $96,580 a year. They can also pursue self-employment, installing and repairing electrical systems at residential sites. They analyze blueprints to identify the proper placement of circuits and breakers.
a professional electrician
Registered electricians build and test power-based apparatuses such as communication networks, control grids, and lighting systems, mostly for contractors. They examine blueprints to determine where circuit breakers and circuit breakers can be installed in houses. These experts find methods for repairing hard-to-reach wiring, generators, and other electrical components while operating an existing structure. Electrician jobs are expected to increase by 8% between now and 2029. The median annual wage for these technical practitioners is $56,180, with the top 10% earning more than $96,580. They will also work for themselves, building and restoring electrical equipment at homes.
The majority of electricians learn their trade in a 4-5-year paying apprenticeship scheme. They become journey staff after completing the program and will apply for licensure through their state’s electrical licensing commission.
A therapist specializing in respiratory care
Respiratory therapy positions will increase a whopping 19% through 2029, translating to 26,300 new jobs. Respiratory therapists support patients with breathing difficulties and cardiopulmonary conditions. Just 1 in 10 of these health specialists makes over $86,980 annually. Over three-fourths of respiratory therapists work in hospitals, with most earning about $61,330 per year. The BLS data projects that respiratory therapy jobs will increase by 19% from 2013 to 2029.
Patients with breathing problems and cardiopulmonary complications are helped by respiratory therapists. They interview patients before evaluating their lung capacity and performing other screening assessments as medical practitioners. They also work with doctors to develop recovery protocols that could include aerosol treatments and chest physiotherapy.
Respiratory therapy workers are expected to grow by 19 percent through 2029, resulting in 26,300 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over three-quarters of respiratory therapists serve in hospitals, with an average annual salary of $61,330. About one in ten of these health professionals earns more than $86,980 a year.
Respiratory therapists normally have an associate’s degree from a Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care-accredited trade school. A bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy will also help you plan for a future in this area.
Plumbers construct and maintain plumbing systems in houses, apartment buildings, and commercial plants that transport liquids and gases. Plumbers perform inspections and expense assessments for residential clients for projects such as fitting a bathtub and repairing a cracked pipe or fixture. Construction plumbers work in groups to ensure that the plumbing on a job site complies with building codes and federal regulations.
Professional plumbers install and maintain piping systems that carry liquid and gas in homes, office buildings, and industrial facilities. Construction plumbers work in teams to ensure a site’s plumbing satisfies building codes and federal standards. To become a plumber you’ll typically need to complete a four-to-five-year apprenticeship.
Plumber jobs are expected to rise 4% through 2029, resulting in nearly 21,000 new jobs, according to the BLS. A contracting firm employs almost two-thirds of plumbers, who receive a total annual wage of $55,160.
A four- to five-year apprenticeship is normally needed to become a plumber. A lot of plumbers have a diploma or an associate’s degree. Before they can act separately, most states need plumbers to register for licensure.
HVACR technicians earn a median annual wage of $48,370, with 66% working as professional contractors. They can bolster their pay potential by working in wholesale trade, which offers a median salary of $52,430 per year. The BLS projects that HVacR occupations will increase 4% between 2019 and 2029.
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technicians install and repair devices that regulate the consistency and temperature of a building’s air. HVACR mechanics also conduct routine repairs, such as filter replacement and duct cleaning, to ensure that the machine meets government standards. Specialization in a subfield such as industrial refrigeration, solar paneling, or radiant heating systems may help these experts improve their skills.
HVACR technicians make an average of $48,370 a year, with 66 percent employed as specialist contractors. Working in wholesale trading, which pays a median of $52,430 per year, will help them increase their earning power. HVACR occupations are expected to grow 4% between 2019 and 2029, according to the BLS.
A six-month diploma or two-year associate degree program is completed by several HVACR practitioners. They may also serve as an intern to gain the necessary hands-on experience to qualify for state licensure.
Technician for Wind Turbines
Wind techs make a median annual pay of $52,910, with most working on rural wind farms. To establish a career in this area of sustainability, you’ll need to obtain either a certificate or an associate degree in wind technology. Many employers also require that you have a “twin” in order to get the “Twin” look. The phrase “Swinging in a Tornado” is a reference to the phrase “You can’t be serious, you’ve got to be pretty”
Wind turbine technicians, also known as wind techs, are in charge of the operations of turbines that convert wind energy into electricity. Locating and fixing issues with large turbine components such as the tower, three blades, compressor, and brake systems are common activities. Substations, fiber optic controls and sensors, and subterranean transmitting systems can all be used by these technicians.
One of the most in-demand renewable jobs is wind turbine technician, which is expected to rise by 61 percent through 2029. Wind technicians earn a total annual salary of $52,910, with the majority employed on wind farms in remote areas.
You’ll need either a diploma or an associate degree in wind energy to start a career in this field of sustainability. A year of on-the-job training is also required by many employers for wind technicians.
According to the BLS, ironworker positions are projected to rise 5% between 2019 and 2029, adding about 4,500 new jobs. Most prospective ironworkers enroll in a certificate program and/or complete an apprenticeship that ranges 3-4 years. They can strengthen their employability by earning professional certification from organizations like the American Welding Society and the National Center for Construction Education and Research. The median annual wage is $53,650, but professionals can access higher pay by pursuing civil and heavy engineering construction projects.
Ironworkers mount steel and iron to repair homes, bridges, and highways for contracting companies and manufacturing firms. Usually, these technicians work on new building sites, but they can also be part of a reconstruction or recovery team. Ironworkers may concentrate on structural steel and iron, connecting columns, girders, and other foundation elements, or on rebar and iron mesh reinforcement.
Ironworker jobs are expected to grow 5% between 2019 and 2029, creating around 4,500 new jobs, according to the BLS. While the median annual salary for these workers is $53,650, they can earn more by working on civil and heavy engineering building projects. The majority of aspiring ironworkers engage in a diploma program and/or complete a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship. Skilled certificates from organizations such as the American Welding Society and the National Center for Construction Education and Research will help them improve their employability.
Web Developer full stack
Web developers create websites, designing the overall aesthetic and layout of the pages. Most web developers hold an associate degree in web development. The BLS projects that web development careers will grow 8% between 2019 and 2029, translating to 14,000 new positions. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $73,760. Some web developers are self-taught; others are hired by software publishers and companies that handle electronic networks.
Developer for the Internet – These IT specialists design websites, including the overall aesthetic and page architecture. Web developers can also be in charge of back-end technological elements of the platform, such as its performance speed and traffic volume, depending on their role. They can also serve as webmasters, upgrading content, testing accessibility, and repairing problems including broken links.
Web production jobs are expected to expand by 8% between 2019 and 2029, resulting in 14,000 new jobs, according to the BLS. The estimated annual income for these practitioners is $73,760. Working with software publishers and companies that manage proprietary electronic networks, on the other hand, will help them earn more money. Although some web developers are self-taught, the majority have a web development associate’s degree that includes both computer programming and graphic design. A bachelor’s degree in web creation, or even a graduate degree, is usually required to seek a specialized career in a field like full-stack development or to hold a management position.