2024’s Highest Paying Trade Jobs to Elevate Your Career Path

Published: March 11, 2024

The Nitty Gritty

  • Explore how trade careers provide lucrative opportunities for hands-on learners
  • Uncover the diverse range of high-paying trade jobs across industries
  • Learn about the factors influencing trade job salaries and discover strategies to enhance prospects
smiling workers in factory setting

If you're someone who enjoys hands-on work and prefers learning by doing rather than the traditional four-year degree, a trade career might be right for you! Trades that pay well offer specialized skills that are in high demand now, which is great if you’re ready to get your hands dirty! So, if you’re debating college vs. trade school, let’s have a look at some of the highest paying trade jobs and make sure you get yourself onto the right path from day one.

Highest Paying Trade Jobs for Electricians

Industrial Electrician

Electrical is one of the best trades to learn as it has a broad range of career outcomes. An industrial electrician, for example, is a skilled tradesperson who installs, maintains, and repairs electrical systems in industrial settings to make sure everything runs smoothly and safely.

Salary Range

Average USD $69,697
Low USD $52,644
High USD $92,274

Skills and Competency Development

Industrial electricians need to have a solid grip on electrical systems, from diagnosing and fixing complex machinery to reading blueprints and decoding electrical codes. They need to be sharp with high-voltage systems, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and motor controls.

Advancement Opportunities

Advancement for industrial electricians often means moving up to supervisory jobs, where leadership skills really shine. Getting into specialized areas like automation or robotics can land you in better-paying jobs, so, grabbing extra certifications like Certified Industrial Electrician (CIE) can boost your opportunities.

Electrical Project Manager

An Electrical Project Manager oversees the planning, coordination, and execution of electrical projects, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget, and meet quality standards.

Salary Range

Average USD $97,875
Low USD $68,133
High USD $140,601

Skills and Competency Development

Electrical project managers need strong project management skills, like planning, budgeting, and coordinating resources, understanding building codes, and managing stakeholders. Staying updated on industry trends and tech advancements is essential.

Advancement Opportunities

Electrical project managers can advance by taking on larger projects or moving into senior roles. Getting certifications like Project Management Professional (PMP) and staying updated on methods can boost prospects. Some may even start their own consulting firms.

Master Electrician

A Master Electrician has one of the highest paying trade jobs around, being a highly skilled and experienced professional licensed to supervise electrical work, design electrical systems, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Salary Range

Average USD $83,573
Low USD $58,678
High USD $119,030

Skills and Competency Development

Master electricians must master all aspects of electrical systems. They need leadership skills to mentor others and must stay current with industry advances and safety standards.

Advancement Opportunities

Master electricians may advance into supervisory roles within contracting firms or specialize in niche areas like renewable energy or smart home technology.

Highest Paying Trade Jobs for HVAC

HVAC Project Manager

HVAC is another one of those trades that pay well, being such a specialized field. An HVAC Project Manager is one of the highest paid trade jobs because they have an enormous list of responsibilities, from overseeing the planning, coordination, and execution of HVAC projects, to ensuring they meet quality standards, are completed on time, and stay within budget.

Salary Range

Average USD $86,203
Low USD $56,063
High USD $132,547

Skills and Competency Development

HVAC project managers have one of the highest paying trade jobs in the HVAC field. To get into one of these positions, you’ll need leadership, communication, and organizational skills to oversee projects. Proficiency in project management software, budgeting, scheduling, and resource allocation is needed.

Advancement Opportunities

HVAC project managers can advance by taking on bigger projects or moving into senior roles. Some may climb to executive positions within contracting firms or pursue opportunities in facilities management.

Senior HVAC Technician

A Senior HVAC Technician is an experienced professional responsible for diagnosing, repairing, and maintaining heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, often providing guidance and training to junior technicians.

Salary Range

Average USD $73,449
Low USD $52,347
High USD $103,058

Skills and Competency Development

Senior HVAC technicians must master advanced technical skills in diagnosing, repairing, and maintaining HVAC systems, including troubleshooting, installations, upgrades, and preventive maintenance.

Advancement Opportunities

Senior HVAC technicians may advance into supervisory roles, overseeing teams and operations, or specialize in areas like commercial or industrial HVAC systems. Getting additional certifications can boost credibility and prospects.

Highest Paying Trade Jobs for Plumbing

Plumbing Project Manager

A Plumbing Project Manager is responsible for overseeing the planning, coordination, and execution of plumbing projects, ensuring they meet quality standards, stay within budget, and are completed on time. It’s a tough job, but the pay outcome is great, making plumbing one of the best trades to learn.

Salary Range

Average USD $78,672
Low USD $60,000
High USD $120,000+

Skills and Competency Development

Plumbing project managers require leadership, organizational, and problem-solving skills, proficiency in project management software, budgeting, scheduling, and resource allocation. They must understand plumbing systems, codes, and regulations.

Advancement Opportunities

Advancement for plumbing project managers may mean moving into senior roles within contracting firms or construction companies or even moving into executive positions, facilities management, or real estate development.

Master Plumber

A Master Plumber is a highly skilled and licensed professional with expertise in designing, installing, and maintaining plumbing systems, often supervising and training other plumbers, which is why they’re one of the highest paying trade jobs around.

Salary Range

Average USD $83,573
Low USD $58,678
High USD $119,030

Skills and Competency Development

Master plumbers must excel in all aspects of plumbing, from installation to repair and maintenance, while staying updated on industry advancements and safety standards.

Advancement Opportunities

Master plumbers may advance by taking supervisory roles in plumbing firms or starting their own businesses. Some specialize in areas like green plumbing or medical gas systems, offering unique career paths.

Plumbing Inspector

A Plumbing Inspector is a qualified professional responsible for ensuring compliance with plumbing codes and regulations by inspecting plumbing installations, systems, and fixtures in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

Salary Range

Average USD $72,343
Low USD $50,844
High USD $103,152

Skills and Competency Development

Plumbing inspectors ensure compliance and safety by understanding codes and standards, conducting thorough inspections, and communicating effectively with stakeholders. They must stay updated on codes and technologies.

Plumbing Inspector: Advancement Opportunities

Advancement for plumbing inspectors may mean moving into supervisory roles in government agencies or building inspection departments or transitioning to consulting or construction project management.

Highest Paying Trade Jobs for Construction

Site Superintendent

A Site Superintendent is a professional responsible for overseeing on-site construction activities, coordinating subcontractors, and ensuring that projects are completed safely, on time, and within budget. For a great salary prospect, it’s one of the best trade jobs around.

Salary Range

Average USD $89,787
Low USD $60,759
High USD $132,685

Skills and Competency Development

Site superintendents require leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills to oversee construction projects, proficiency in management software, scheduling, budgeting, and compliance.

Advancement Opportunities

Site superintendents may advance to senior roles in construction or real estate firms, transition to project management, consulting, or facilities management, and obtain certifications like CCM or OSHA for enhanced credibility.

Construction Project Manager

A Construction Project Manager is responsible for overseeing all aspects of a construction project, from planning and budgeting to scheduling and coordinating subcontractors, ensuring that the project is completed safely, on time, and within budget.

Salary Range

Average USD $93,032
Low USD $60,562
High USD $142,911

Skills and Competency Development

Construction project managers need solid project management, leadership, and communication skills to oversee projects. They should be good at software, budgeting, scheduling, and risk management, and understand contracts, licensing, procurement, and regulations. Negotiation and conflict resolution skills are essential.

Advancement Opportunities

Construction project managers can advance by handling larger projects or moving into senior roles in construction or real estate firms.

Highest Paying Trade Jobs: Miscellaneous

Security Systems Technician

A Security Systems Technician is a skilled professional responsible for installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting security systems such as alarms, surveillance cameras, and access control systems to ensure the safety and security of buildings and premises.

Salary Range

Average USD $80,814
Low USD $43,878
High USD $148,840

Skills and Competency Development

Security systems technicians install, maintain, and troubleshoot security systems like access control and surveillance cameras, needing skills in reading diagrams and blueprints, programming, and staying updated on technology and regulations.

Advancement Opportunities

Advancement for security systems technicians may mean getting specialized certifications like CAT or CSST to enhance career prospects. Some may move into supervisory roles, overseeing teams and projects, while others explore opportunities in sales, design, or consulting, or even start their own security business. Networking and staying updated on technology are key for advancement.

Solar Project Manager

A Solar Project Manager oversees the planning, execution, and coordination of solar energy projects, ensuring they are completed efficiently and within budget.

Salary Range

Average USD $88,010
Low USD $56,500
High USD $137,093

Skills and Competency Development

Solar project managers require strong skills in project management, leadership, and technical aspects like system design and installation.

Advancement Opportunities

Solar project managers can advance by handling bigger projects or moving into senior roles in renewable energy companies or engineering firms. Some may pursue executive positions or opportunities in consulting or policy advocacy.

FAQs

What Are the Key Factors Influencing Salary in Trade Jobs?

Several factors influence salaries in trade jobs, including demand for specific skills, geographical location, level of experience, and industry specialization. Trades with high demand and specialized skills often command higher salaries. Additionally, salaries can vary significantly depending on the cost of living in different regions.

How Do I Determine Which Trade Job Best Suits My Skills and Interests?

To determine which trade job suits you best, consider your skills, interests, and career goals. Research different trade jobs to understand the tasks, required skills, and potential career paths. You can also seek advice from professionals in various trades and explore apprenticeship or training programs to gain hands-on experience and confirm your interests.

How can I improve my chances of securing a high-paying trade job?

To increase your chances of securing a high-paying trade job, consider obtaining additional certifications or advanced training in your chosen field. Gain relevant work experience through internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions to demonstrate your skills and dedication. Networking with professionals in your industry and staying updated on industry trends can also enhance your prospects. Additionally, consider specializing in a niche area within your trade to become more valuable to employers.

What’s the Best High-Paying Trade Job for You in 2024?

Throughout the United States, over 10 million individuals work in construction in various roles, including licensed contractors operating independently, making getting into the highest paying trade jobs a competition. However, technology provides opportunities to level the playing field. By leveraging digital tools and processes, tradespeople can enhance their businesses, maintain quality, and improve customer relations. If you want to learn a little more about how current technology trends in construction can help contractors stand out in a competitive market, get started here!

Considering this competitive landscape, finding the best high-paying trade job really depends on your skills, interests, and career goals. Whether you thrive in hands-on technical work or prefer a leadership role overseeing projects, there's a lucrative trade career waiting for you in 2024.