What Are the Highest Paying Trade Jobs?
TRADE JOBS ARE CONSIDERED RELIABLE AND STEADY. WHICH TRADE CAREERS OFFER THE HIGHEST PAY? FIND OUT BELOW!
July 29, 2021
A job in the trades is a great option if you enjoy challenging, hands-on work. Such careers require vocational training, and often pay well because of the specialized skills they require.
If you are interested in joining the trades, you probably want to know which career path can lead to the highest income. In this blog post, we will look at some of the highest-paying trade jobs and the types of duties each job entails.
The below information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a great resource for finding data about careers in the United States.
1. Elevator and escalator technicians.
Yearly Median Salary: $88,540
Elevator and escalator technicians install, maintain, and fix elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts. They often work in cramped areas and machine rooms. Given the nature of escalators and elevators, technicians may be required to work at heights. Repair people may be on call 24 hours per day and often work overtime.
This particular career is very specialized. Fewer than 30,000 people worked as an elevator and escalator technician in 2019. The career is expected to grow faster than the average job in the United States over the next 10 years, as construction of commercial buildings brings new opportunities.
Yearly Median Salary: $65,360
Boilermakers assemble, install, maintain, and repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases. This is considered one of the most physically demanding trade jobs, in terms of both the work and travel requirements. A career as a boilermaker is also highly specialized—just 16,000 people were employed in the field in 2019.
The career is expected to grow much slower than the overall average over the next decade.
Yearly Median Salary: $56,900
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in residential and commercial buildings. Working as an electrician is one of the least physically demanding trade jobs. Electricians are required to stand, bend, or kneel for prolonged periods based on the task at hand, and some tasks are very physically demanding. However, compared to those working in general construction, electricians rarely do repetitive tasks or work near hazardous materials.
On-call work and overtime are the norm, especially for those just starting out. The potential for career growth is very high—It’s entirely possible for electricians to work up to owning their own businesses.
The electrical career is expected to grow 8% in the next ten years, much faster than average.
4. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Yearly Median Salary: $56,330
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair piping fixtures and systems. Their work is quite varied, performing installs and maintenance in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, and other places where there are pipes and related systems. Plumbers are often on call for emergencies, so evening and weekend work is common.
The plumbing occupation is expected to grow about as fast as the average career in the U.S. Plumbers should have plenty of opportunities as commercial construction drives demand.
Yearly Median Salary: $53,210
Ironworkers install iron and steel that reinforces buildings, bridges, and roads. Like boilermakers, ironworkers face considerable physical risks while performing work. They often work at great heights, with heavy machinery, and perform repetitive tasks like hammering and wrenching.
Employment in ironworking is expected to grow 5% over the next decade. Workers in this sector will benefit from the construction of new high-rise buildings and other commercial structures. Ironworkers are especially valuable in helping replace old infrastructure, which the current administration aims to do.
If you don’t know what trade career to pursue, think about your interests and skills.
Now that you know the five highest paying construction trade jobs, it’s important to think about what trade you actually want to pursue. It should be clear by now that the construction trades offer a wide range of career paths. Whether you are just entering the workforce, or planning for a career change, there are many career options to pick from.
The number of options is great, as you can really pursue the type of work you are most interested in. Then again, because of how many options there are, you might struggle to determine what you want to pursue. Those just starting their career journey can often be left wondering, “What trade is right for me?”
Salary expectations are important. But money isn’t the only important factor. Here are some other considerations to think about.
Think about your interests. One benefit of working in the trades is that you can earn a living doing work that you are passionate about. Most people who pursue a trade career would agree that they like working with their hands. But think more specifically about what you enjoy. If you like working with wood, then maybe you pursue a career in carpentry. If you like wrenching on cars, maybe pursue a career as an automotive mechanic. Think about what you like to do and research trades that align with your interests.
Use the skills you already have. You can join the trades even if you have no experience and develop skills as you go. That’s what trade school is for! But if you already have talent in a certain area, then pursuing a career in that area can wind up being a natural fit.
Research in-demand trade jobs. The BLS is a great resource. As discussed above, you can use it to find projected career growth. The average job in the U.S. is expected to grow about 4% in the next decade. Some jobs in the trade industry are expected to grow even faster. For example, the BLS project projects the electrical industry to grow 8% over the next 10 years. In theory, the faster the job growth, the more job opportunities available.
It’s important to think about the type of work you enjoy, the skills you have, and which jobs are in demand. Doing so can help you figure out what trade career to pursue. If you want to learn more about trade school, or have an interest in becoming an electrician, contact I-TAP! We can answer any questions or concerns you have, and help you apply for an upcoming class.
Ready to learn a skilled trade and work on some of the most exciting commercial construction projects in California and beyond?
I-TAP is an electrical apprenticeship program that helps you find your passion, grow your skills, and place you in the perfect electrician job.