15 Trades That Pay More Than $40,000 A Year

Colleges are brimming with more applications than they can handle, while high paying trade jobs are begging for qualified workers. Approximately 30 million U.S. jobs pay approximately $55,000 on average and don’t require a bachelor’s degree, NPR reports.

Companies are having trouble filling positions as 70% of the construction companies nationwide can’t find enough workers to fill roles. In fact, workers with technical or trade education are more likely to be employed than those with an academic degree, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  Which trade jobs pay the most? Here are 15 hot jobs that Online School Center identified. You’ll never believe how much the job on page 1 pays.

15. Diesel technician

Modern new hi-tech engine of loader or small tractor

There’s growing demand for qualified diesel mechanics. | Vladimir Zapletin/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $44,520/$21.40 per hour
  • Field growth: 12% over the next decade

Technicians usually have a high school diploma and technical training in diesel mechanics. Some general responsibilities include basic maintenance, interpreting diagnostic tests, plus inspecting brake, steering, transmission, and engine components.

Next: This field is expected to grow 14% in the next 10 years. 

14. HVAC technician

This picture shows an AC heat pump unit outside of a home.

Many employers offer on-the-job training. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $45,110/ $21.69 per hour
  • Field growth: 14% over the next decade

Heating, ventilation, and cooling technicians (HVAC) typically repair, install, and maintain equipment. They also test circuits and correct malfunctioning equipment. Although most employers look for candidates with experience, most offer training on the job. Some require licensing.

Next: You’ll like this job if you enjoy farm work. 

13. Heavy equipment mechanic

Mechanic fixing plow on the tractor

They work on heavy equipment like plows and tractors. | fotokostic/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $47,120/$22.65 per hour
  • Field growth: 5% over the next decade

Heavy equipment mechanics work in fields like farming, rail, and construction industries. Required skills include servicing, repairing, and inspecting heavy machinery, plus assembling and adjusting machine parts.

Next: 73,000 jobs will be added to this field. 

12. Industrial machinery mechanic

Repairman in factory

The industry is adding thousands of jobs. | ndoeljindoel/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $48,410 / $23.28 per hour
  • Field growth: 16% over the next decade

This industry is anticipated to add 73,400 jobs by 2024, making it one of the faster-growing trades. Beyond a high school diploma, mechanics typically need vocational training. Typical job responsibilities include repairing and maintaining industrial equipment, dismantling machinery, and testing machines.

Next: This job pays close to $50,000 a year. 

11. Pile driver

Diesel pile driver

This career requires an apprenticeship, but not a college degree. | Greentellect_Studio/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $49,430/ $23.77 per hour
  • Field growth: 16.6% over the next decade

Approximately 6,000 more jobs will be added over the next 10 years, as this is a swiftly growing field. Most jobs only require a high school diploma and completion of a four-year apprenticeship program. Basic responsibilities include operating and managing pile driving machines to move equipment and drive pilings. Operators also must maintain and clean equipment.

Next: Love the ocean? Check out this position. 

10. Commercial diver

Female scuba diver

Commercial divers inspect underwater structures. | mihtiander/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $50,470/ $24.26 per hour
  • Field growth: 36.9% over the next decade

This field is exploding as 1,600 new jobs are anticipated to be created over the next 10 years. In addition to a high school diploma, vocational training in commercial diving is required. Divers may work in a variety of capacities from inspecting and repairing underwater structures to testing and extracting natural resources.

Next: This position has a number of opportunities. 

9. Plumber

There will always be a need for plumbers. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $50,620/ $24.34 per hour
  • Field growth: 12% over the next decade

Vocational school may prepare those in a plumbing program to be a pipefitter or steamfitter too. Licensing is often required depending upon the state. Some needed skills include installing, maintaining, and repairing pipes systems. Also, examining and testing systems may be required.

Next: Looking for a hot field? 

8. Electrician

You’ll need training, but the work pays well once you become qualified. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $51,880/$24.94 per hour
  • Field growth: 14% over the next decade

Vocational training and certification is typically required to become an electrician. This field is anticipated to become hot in the coming decade. Basic skills include planning, installing and maintaining electrical systems, connecting wires to circuit breakers, and inspecting and testing electrical systems.

Next: If you like technology, you’ll love this job. 

7. Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinist and manufacturer

Worker Operating CNC Machine in Factory

The field will be growing over the next decade. | Victority/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $54,200/ $26.06 per hour
  • Field growth: 17% over the next decade

Wages vary in this field from about $37,030 up to $54,200 (or higher depending on your skill level and your geographic location). Demand to fill this position is on the upswing as technology evolves. Vocational training is typically required although some companies offer training while on the job. General job duties include programming and operating CNC machinery, reading blueprints, and working with raw materials.

Next: This industry is expected to grow by 12% over the next 10 years. 

6. Rotary drill operator

Rock driller in quarry

You’ll work long hours, but the pay is good. | vallefrias/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $54,310 / $26.11 per hour
  • Field growth: 12% over the next decade

Rotary drill operators usually work for the oil and gas industry, typically on drill sites. Operators extract samples and operate large drills to remove oil and gas from various locations. This position requires long hours and most workers receive most of the training while on the job.

Next: A hot housing market means this job is in demand. 

5. Home inspector

Home inspector

Inspectors need to know about several different home systems. | Trigem777/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $57,340/$27.57 per hour
  • Field growth: 8% over the next decade

As long as there’s housing industry demand, home inspections will be a vital part of buying, selling, and building. Inspectors likely need both vocational training and certification. Tasks include inspecting plumbing and electrical systems, structural soundness, issuing reports, and more.

Next: Love to fly? Check out this job. 

4. Aviation maintenance technician

Passenger aircraft on maintenance of engine and fuselage repair in airport hangar

Aviation maintenance is critical. | aapsky/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $58,390/$28.07 per hour
  • Field growth: 1% over the next decade

Military, commerce, and air travel are industries in need. Typical duties include inspecting, examining, and maintaining aircraft components, as well as checking aircraft for cracks and corrosion, plus assembling and dissembling engines and vital aircraft parts.

Next: This job may be physically challenging. 

3. Boilermaker

Ducts of home furnace or boiler

Working as a boilermker can be a dangerous job. | Gudella/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $60,120/$28.90 per hour
  • Field growth: 9% over the next decade

Considered to be one of the higher-paying trades, boilermakers manage, test and inspect boiler systems. The job also requires workers to read blueprints to identify part locations and layout for larger boiler systems. This job may be dangerous and physically challenging.

Next: You’ll have the power with this job. 

2. Power utility technician

Chula vista

You’ll help keep the lights on for people as a power utility tech. | Rcp/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $65,930/$31.70 per hour
  • Field growth: 13% over the next decade

Typical jobs include power plant operator, maintenance technician, and systems operator. Tasks include installing new electrical lines, maintaining power equipment, regulating power flow, and more.

Next: This job is in a hot emerging industry. 

1. Energy manager

Technician Checks the Functionality of the Equipment in Electrical Room

The field is still emerging, but energy managers make good money. | Shinyfamily/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average income: $74,000/ $35.88 per hour
  • Field growth: N/A

Growth data is not yet available because the field is still emerging. Job seekers can obtain trade school training and may need energy management certification. Like many management jobs, energy managers should be able to develop energy conservation strategies, create and track budgets, prepare reports, and implement sustainable initiatives for a company or organization.

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