Not everyone can afford a 4 year college degree. Trade schools offer a great opportunity for people to go to vocational school, and learn a specific trade, and often times even qualify for an apprenticeship, and begin to work your way into a high paying career.

Trade schools, or vocational schools are schools specifically geared towards people of very specific blue collar careers. Here are some of highest paying, in-demand trade school jobs for 2018.

In this article we will be highlighting some of the best trade school jobs that also pay well. Also we will dive into some of the more popular options in terms of trade schools.

Construction Manager

Average hourly pay—$47.84
Top-end hourly pay—over $76.12
Main tasks—Planning, overseeing, and handling the coordination of construction or maintenance activities (including budgeting and scheduling) related to specific building projects

Drill Operator for the Oil and Gas Industry

Average hourly pay—$27.47
Top-end hourly pay—over $41.91
Main tasks—Extracting oil or natural gas (or core samples) from underground sources by setting up and using large drilling equipment


Average hourly pay—$29.90
Top-end hourly pay—over $41.25
Main tasks—Assembling, installing, or fixing very large containers or vessels designed for holding liquids or gases (such as closed vats, steam boilers, and boiler furnaces)

Aircraft Mechanic

Average hourly pay—$29.42
Top-end hourly pay—over $42.25
Main tasks—Inspecting, repairing, adjusting, or overhauling airplane or helicopter engines and other important systems

Avionics Technician

Average hourly pay—$29.51
Top-end hourly pay—over $40.03
Main tasks—Installing, testing, and fixing high-tech equipment used in space vehicles or aircraft for purposes like navigation, radar detection, weather tracking, radio communications, and weapons control

Pile-Driver Operator

Average hourly pay—$29.68
Top-end hourly pay—over $47.52
Main tasks—Using large pile-driving machines that are mounted on barges, cranes, or skids to hammer long beams of steel, wood, or concrete into the
ground as part of a big construction project


Average hourly pay—$26.94
Top-end hourly pay—over $43.53
Main tasks—Putting together and installing, adjusting, or repairing pipes and related equipment used for liquid or gas distribution


Average hourly pay—$27.24
Top-end hourly pay—over $43.47
Main tasks—Wiring buildings for electrical power, lighting, or communications systems (and maintaining or repairing those systems)

Crane Operator

Average hourly pay—$26.58
Top-end hourly pay—over $39.71
Main tasks—Lifting and moving construction materials, manufactured products, or machinery using mechanical beam and cable equipment

Wind Turbine Technician

Average hourly pay—$26.13
Top-end hourly pay—over $36.66
Main tasks—Installing, inspecting, fixing, and maintaining large wind turbines used for generating electricity


Average hourly pay—$25.94
Top-end hourly pay—over $37.69
Main tasks—Assembling industrial machines, performing maintenance or repairs on them, and dismantling them when necessary

Brick Mason

Average hourly pay—$25.69
Top-end hourly pay—over $40.43
Main tasks—Constructing or fixing walls or other structures by placing and binding bricks, cinder blocks, structural tiles, or other similar materials

Commercial Diver

Average hourly pay—$25.96
Top-end hourly pay—over $40.26
Main tasks—Using various construction tools and scuba diving gear to help build, assemble, inspect, or fix components of large structures under water

Industrial Machinery Mechanic

Average hourly pay—$24.95
Top-end hourly pay—over $36.59
Main tasks—Fixing, maintaining, or putting together machines used for industrial processes like manufacturing or oil, gas, or chemical refining and distribution

CNC Machine Tool Programmer

Average hourly pay—$25.75
Top-end hourly pay—over $37.86
Main tasks—Giving instructions to computer numerically controlled machinery for making objects like tools, molds, and dies

Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic

Average hourly pay—$24.43
Top-end hourly pay—over $34.97
Main tasks—Troubleshooting, adjusting, and fixing large mobile equipment used for construction or natural resource excavation (such as bulldozers, road graders, cranes, and conveyor systems)

Construction Equipment Operator

Average hourly pay—$24.31
Top-end hourly pay—over $38.56
Main tasks—Controlling various kinds of heavy construction machines like front-end loaders, tractors, bulldozers, graders, and derricks

HVAC Technician

Average hourly pay—$23.23
Top-end hourly pay—over $35.26
Main tasks—Repairing or installing systems for the heating, cooling, and ventilation of buildings


Average hourly pay—$23.24
Top-end hourly pay—over $38.21
Main tasks—Constructing or fixing the wooden frameworks or foundation forms for buildings and related structures

Diesel Mechanic

Average hourly pay—$22.45
Top-end hourly pay—over $32.48
Main tasks—Troubleshooting and repairing larger vehicles with diesel engines such as trucks, buses, and, in some cases, marine vessels