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22 Highest-Paying Commerce Jobs In Demand in 2022

You don’t need a degree to have a rewarding career that pays well. As a matter of fact, pursuing a trade job is a common option for those who choose not to go to college or university.

Whether you set your sights on following a trade job or you’re still unsure about your future, we’ve compiled a list of the highest-paying trade jobs to guide you toward what relatively degree-free career is right for you.

 

See Average U.S. Salaries

 

What Is a Trade Job

In a nutshell, trade jobs are positions that don’t usually require a Bachelor’s degree. Instead, they require specific training—whether it’s from a vocational school, on-the-job training, or apprenticeships.

Unlike a typical four-year college, trade school usually takes less time to complete—from eight weeks to two years—and you participate in a more hands-on training program to qualify you for the job. In some cases, aspiring trade workers will do a couple of years of apprenticeships for experience-based education.

Commonly, trade jobs will have a physical component that comes with the work, such as lifting objects and using manual tools. Additionally, some trade jobs can be hazardous and sometimes repetitive.

 

 

Highest-Paying Trade Jobs

Whether you’re set on going to trade school or are still exploring your options, knowing how much you could be getting paid for a trade job can be beneficial for planning your future. Here are the highest-paid trade jobs in 2022:

 

Trade Job
Average Yearly Salary
Job Growth Rate (2020-2030)

Power plant operator
$103,000
-13.6%

Elevator mechanic
$99,500
6.1%

Electric lineman
$85,000
1.3%

Construction manager
$73,500
11.5%

Nuclear medicine technician
$69,000
7.8%

Aircraft technician
$68,500
11.8%

Radiation therapist
$68,500
9.1%

Millwright
$65,500
10.3%

Ultrasound technologist
$62,500
19%

Boilermaker
$61,000
-1%

Pipefitter
$60,000
5%

Real estate appraiser
$59,500
4.4%

Construction inspector
$57,500
-2.9%

Electronics technician
$57,000
2%

Electrician
$56,000
9.1%

Respiratory therapist
$56,000
23%

Dental hygienist
$54,500
11.2%

Landscape designer
$50,500
-0.3%

HVAC technician
$45,000
5%

IT support specialist
$42,500
7.5%

Cable technician
$39,500
-0.7%

Solar energy system installer
$37,000
52.1%

 

1. Power Plant Operator

As part of a growing field, power plant operators are responsible for maintaining electricity generating equipment. Working in rotating shifts—sometimes during nights, weekends, and holidays—power plant operators are essential to the nation’s energy chain. Their primary duties consist of reading meters, calibrating equipment, and manipulating switches, breakers, and valves to ensure that the equipment is operating smoothly.

Average salary: $103,000
Requirements:

High school diploma or equivalent
College or vocational school (recommended)
Extensive on-the-job training
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license

2. Elevator Mechanic

Elevator mechanics are responsible for repairing, maintaining, and installing elevators. These specialized professionals need stamina, strength, and the ability to work at heights. They are tasked with replacing faulty parts and testing and inspecting equipment to ensure that elevators are functioning properly and safely.

Average salary: $99,500
Requirements:

High school diploma or equivalent
Four-year apprenticeship program
State license

3. Electric Lineman

If you don’t mind working at heights for most of your day, you might consider becoming an electric lineman. Also known as power line technicians, they maintain, repair, and install electric power lines and electrical distribution equipment. This job is also considered dangerous due to the height and high-voltage equipment, along with working outside in all weather conditions.

Average salary: $85,000
Requirements:

High school diploma or equivalent
Three-year apprenticeship
On-the-job training
Certifications (recommended)

4. Construction Manager

If you have great leadership and communication skills, you might consider a career as a construction manager. Tasked with supervising construction projects, construction managers oversee projects from start to finish by scheduling contractors, addressing problems, and preparing budgets.

Average salary: $73,500
Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
One-year on-the-job training
State license

5. Nuclear Medicine Technician

A graphic explains the secrets to getting one of the highest paying trade jobs

The Bottom Line

Pursuing one of the highest-paying trade jobs can be a good option for those who don’t see themselves attending a four-year college or university. Understanding the different trade jobs’ requirements and salaries can also help you decide the best trades to learn and what you need to be qualified for one.

Highest-Paying Trade Jobs FAQ

If you’re considering pursuing one of the highest-paying trade jobs, here are answers to some common questions you might have.

What Trade Jobs Pay The Most?

Some of the highest-paying trade jobs according to Mint include:

Power plant operator: $103,000
Elevator mechanic: $99,500
Electric lineman: $85,000
Construction manger: $73,500
Nuclear medicine technician: $69,000

What Trades Are Always in Demand?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar energy systems installers, respiratory therapists, ultrasound technologists, aircraft technicians, and construction managers are seeing the highest growth rate percentage from 2020 to 2030.

What’s the Difference Between Trade School and Four-Year College?

Trade school teaches specific technical skills, takes from eight weeks to two years, and you will earn a certification or associate’s degree. On the other hand, a four-year college covers broad education rooted in liberal arts and humanities, typically takes four years and you earn a bachelor’s degree.

What’s The Easiest Trade To Learn?

Although learning a trade depends on the person’s skills, some of the easiest trades to learn are elevator mechanic, electric lineman, millwright, boilermaker, and construction inspector, since you can learn your skills throughout apprenticeships and on-the-job training, and don’t need a degree.

What Trades Make 100k?

According to Mint, only power plant operators make an average salary of over $100,000 per year. However, depending on experience, location, and salary raises, the following trades can also make over $100,000 a year:

Elevator mechanics
Electric lineman
Construction managers
Nuclear medicine technicians
Aircraft technicians
Radiation therapists
Millwrights

 

An infographic goes over the highest paying trade jobs and secrets to getting one.

Sources: AngiBureau of Labor Statistics

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