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 skilled trades. Here are some of highest paying, in-demand trade school jobs updated for 2019.

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.

What Is A Trade School ?

A trade school is a specialist school focused on one skill – based vocation.

Attending Trade School

You go to a trade school to work in a skilled trade. They can sometimes be called career schools, vocational schools, or technical schools. Just two decades ago, students had the option to take vocational courses at the high school level; even if they had no plans for college, some states encouraged students to choose trade school over traditional academics.

However, there has been a steady decline in vocational career programs at the high school level since the 1990s, while there has been an increased emphasis on higher education. The result is that now many young people see vocational programs in a negative light.

There are many problems caused by the collective attitude towards trade jobs. Most importantly, there are millions of people in need of jobs, but still millions of employers in need of skilled workers. Fewer people are being trained for these skilled trades, and fewer people in today’s society see it as a viable option.

If it was widely recognized that trade schools are typically held to the same standards as more traditional higher learning institutions, more people would probably recognize their value and take advantage of the opportunity.

Fortunately, vocational education is now available in online schools. Distance learning enables students to complete online courses with a wide range of options and receive vocational training. An online education can be a great choice for many jobs and you are likely to be able to complete any practical training you need in a way that is convenient to you. Some of the options include short intensive on-campus, on – the-job training, internships, or even completing some components of the program at a local college.

Related Trade School Rankings

Best Online Trade Schools

Benefits of Trade School Programs

A great alternative to the traditional academic path is vocational school or trade school. For these at-risk students, it is an excellent option, but technical school also gives everyone the opportunity to quickly and affordably learn vital skills so they can get a job. For more than 20 years, skilled trades such as construction, carpentry, commercial diving, healthcare professions and more have steadily grown. Skilled trades are very secure jobs, education is generally very affordable, and at excellent colleges, online or in-person, there are plenty of career school programs nationwide.

We will always build in society, things will inevitably have to be repaired, engines in cars will always need service, and goods will always have to get from the company to the consumer. For those who don’t want to go down the traditional higher education route, these trades are reliable options and you can find a vocational training program that fits your needs and budget. We’ll tell you about the best trade school jobs in this article; specifically, the highest paying skilled trades you can learn at a trade school or vocational school. You can open doors to many high-paid careers with a trade school diploma, and these are just a few of them.

  1. Construction Manager
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    A construction managers main tasks are planning, overseeing, and handling the coordination of construction or maintenance activities (including budgeting and scheduling) related to specific building projects. To supervise and direct various operations within a building project, a construction manager, also known as a site manager, is required.

    A Construction Manager must ensure that a project is completed safely, ensuring that the project is running on time and within the budget allowance allocated. In the project, they typically enter the process quite early so they can assist the client with preliminary planning. They also assist with aspects such as architect and contractor selection.

    Construction managers will be responsible for managing individuals in different roles suitable for the project. The plans must be discussed with the architect, surveyors and buyers before any of the actual building work can take place. These types of managers will need to hire the appropriate staff to complete the project to the standard of the client.

    It is important to effectively manage all these staff members so that the project plans can be fully understood and developed. The construction manager will have to hire and organize different contractors and suppliers and coordinate the activities of the subcontractor.

    Average hourly pay $47.84
    Top-end hourly pay over $76.12

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  2. Drill Operator for the Oil and Gas Industry
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    During oil and gas exploration, rotary drill operators operate or set up drills needed to remove underground gas and oil or core samples. They measure dimensions of the work site, monitor pressure gages, and move levers and throttles to control the speed of the rotating table. They also control the pressure of the tool at the bottom of the boreholes.

    You should be comfortable working outdoors, be able to see details at close range and have good manual dexterity in the skills portion of your rotary drill operator job description. It is preferred to have a high school diploma and work experience. Rotary drill operators should be very careful with detail and dependent on fulfilling their work obligations. They should quickly learn information and work well with others as they will provide crews with training.

    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

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  3. Boilermaker
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    A boilermaker is a skilled trade in charge of producing, installing, and maintaining boilers, tanks, and vats. Boilers heat the liquid, usually water, used to generate electricity or heat buildings, plants or ships. Tanks and vats are containers for storage that contain chemicals, oil and other liquids.

    You can apply for a formal apprenticeship program offered by a union or employer if you want to become a boilermaker. It is likely to include about four years of paid on – the-job training in combination with instruction in the classroom.

    You must be at least 18 years old and be enrolled in such a program with a high school diploma or GED. Alternatively, in a vocational or trade school, you can attend classes and combine that with the training provided by the employer.

    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)

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  4. Aircraft Mechanic
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    Aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) are responsible for all types of aircraft and helicopters to perform repairs, preventive and routine maintenance. Aircraft mechanics certified by the FAA are in high demand. Aircraft mechanics are being hired by the military, airlines, government, and many other companies. Technicians in aircraft maintenance need specific training, an eye for detail, and a basic understanding of how things work.

    And they bear a great deal of responsibility when it comes to service maintenance and inspection of aircraft, so it is important for aircraft mechanics to be professional and diligent. Prospective aircraft mechanics may go to a trade school or be trained to become an AMT on – the-job. An A&P mechanic can also work with adequate training on avionics and can move up to become an IA. Similar to the training of a pilot, an AMT must pass a written FAA exam as well as the oral and practical exams that accompany it. Additional training and testing is required by authorized inspectors and avionics technicians. Usually it takes one to five years or more to become an 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

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  5. Avionics Technician
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    Avionics technicians in both military and civilian aircraft repair and maintain the electrical systems. Avionics technicians may choose to enter this career field for on – the – job training and work experience, or they may choose to go to college for an avionics certificate or associate degree.

    Avionics technicians test and manufacture different types of aviation electronics such as jet engines, computerized guidance systems or flight control circuits. There are about 170 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified aviation maintenance technical schools. Most of these schools are preparing their students for A&P certification by the FAA.

    According to the U.S. Labor Statistics Bureau had 17,340 avionics technicians. From 2014-2024, career opportunities in this field are expected to remain the same (0 percent growth); however, job openings are expected to result from the high retirement rate among avionics and aircraft repair technicians rather than from the growth of industry.

    In large airports where aircraft must be serviced and repaired, avionics technicians are regularly employed. Repair technicians often diagnose and fix aircraft problems with runway problems or perform scheduled repairs on aircraft systems.

    Avionics technicians are also employed at commuters and FAA repair stations and regional airlines. In order to work, avionics technicians require A&P certification.

    They can get this through an official training or educational program, or under the supervision of a licensed avionics professional, they can receive on – the-job training. Aviation technicians help build, test and maintain parts for aircraft during training and after certification.

    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

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  6. Pile Driver Operator
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    Pile drivers are big construction machines that usually are mounted on cranes or skids for mobility. Pile drivers are used to drive long wood or metal piles deep into the ground, known as piles, to support large building construction.

    Builders who operate such machines are known as pile driver operators. While pile drivers frequently receive training in the field, some are formally trained in a variety of heavy machinery. And then receive cross-training as pile driver operators.

    23% of US pile driver operators don’t have a high school diploma, 42% have a high or GED diploma, and 36% go to college but don’t grade.

    Pile drivers in 18 states are classified as crane drivers, and the operators of the pile drivers are required to hold the licenses of crane operators. This is also necessary for various major cities, including New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

    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

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  7. Pipefitter
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    Pipe fitters are one of the highest paid trade jobs in the work place, now with more jobs available than for decades. Yeah, they’re plumbers, but they’re a very specialized type.

    A pipe fitter installs, maintains and repairs tubes for large jobs, not residential in industrial environments. These jobs usually take place in power plants, plants, and even petroleum refineries. While the job is dangerous, at the same time, it is rewarding.

    In the next ten years, employment growth in the pipeline and plumbing industry is expected to grow by as much as 21 %, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    This is much more than the national average. Combined with a boom in production and a rise in retirees, the gap between job openings and qualified pipe fitters is expanding. It’s time to be a pipefitter.

    According to the Labor Statistics Bureau, an average annual pipe fitter is worth up to $49,000. This is at the top of the trade, with plumbers and electricians right up there. But keep in mind, this is only the average.

    In some places, such as New York or California, the average pipe fitter can earn as much as 80,000 dollars a year. And this is before any overtime. An ambitious pipe fitter, who is prepared to work hard, can earn well above the $100,000 mark. There are even examples of pipe fitters worth up to $140,000 annually.

    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

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  8. Electrician
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    Electricians install electrical systems and equipment, maintain and repair them.

    Electrical work may include replacing an old fuse box with a new circuit breaker or the addition of new equipment such as a new lighting fixture or ceiling fans for residential wiring systems.

    Electrical work may be more difficult for electricians inside factories and may include the maintaining of generators, transformers, assembly line machines or engines. Working in a factory can be a lot more dangerous. But the pay is often higher.

    In 2017, electricians made an average salary of $54,110. The best-paid 25% made $71,430, compared to $40,320 for the lowest paid 25%.

    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)

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  9. Crane Operator
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    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

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  10. Wind Turbine Technician
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    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

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  11. Millwright
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    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

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  12. Brick Mason
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    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

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  13. Commercial Diver
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    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

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  14. Industrial Machinery Mechanic
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    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

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  15. CNC Machine Tool Programmer
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    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

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  16. Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic
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    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)

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  17. Construction Equipment Operator
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    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

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  18. HVAC Technician
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    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

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  19. Carpenter
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    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

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  20. Diesel Mechanic
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    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

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