10 Highest Paying Jobs for Trade School Graduates

Are you trying to find the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates to prepare for your life after you finish training? Then, you might want to consider these options to get started seriously. These unique pathways provide a myriad of excellent possibilities that help to make your life that much better. You can also talk about these paths with your teen if they’re not sure about their life’s goal.


If you’re looking for the highest-paying jobs for trade school graduates, plumbing is not the wrong field to try out. This field is always (we mean always) in high demand, with a better than average job expectancy over the next 10 years. You can also get paid reasonably well right out of school.

While the average pay for plumbers varies wildly across the nation, it remains close to $50K per year. The lowest state’s average is about $40,000, which is just the average. Many plumbing experts in the state are paid higher, especially if you’re willing to start your own business along the way.

If you want to do residential plumbing right out of trade school, though, you can still make upwards of $40-50K every year. For example, in the highest paying state for plumbers (Massachusetts), you can make around $56,400 every year on average for a pay rate of about $27.09 or so.

Remember: these are just averages. Heads of a plumbing team might make much more money, even as much as $70,000 or so. The total pay will often hinge on how hard you’re willing to work and whether you’re eager to go into overtime pay, where you’ll make a lot more cash.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Another of the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates includes licensed practical nurses or LPN experts. This unique field is widespread throughout the nation and is constantly in demand in many areas, providing you with the kind of high-quality help you need to start a great career.

This type of nursing requires you to have more specialized training and provide more hands-on care that helps a broader range of people. Practical nurses often work in hospitals and may also travel, which is where you will make the most money possible in this position.

The statistics don’t lie, either. Starting, you’re likely to make an average of around $50,090 per year for just over $24 an hour. That pay rate is fantastic, considering you might just spend 12-18 months training for this program. Few career options will get you making money quicker.

However, you may also find that some LPN professionals also make upwards of $65,000 or even more. In addition, getting into a management position will add another $5-10K to your pay, depending on where you work. As a result, it is good to consider this field if healthcare sounds right to you seriously.

HVAC Technician

Do you want a career that is a bit more hands-on and allows you to have fun simultaneously? Then, you might want to consider becoming an HVAC tech. These professionals have one of the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates and one of the lowest barriers of entry as well.

For instance, you can usually find work with an air conditioning contractor after no more than six months of training. You’ll probably start somewhere around $30-40K or so initially, but the opportunities for advancement are high in this field, thankfully.

Some people in New York City make as much as $73,200 a year, particularly as managers or senior repair technicians. However, even the average salary for this position reaches nearly $48,000, a very significant rate that will typically only go up as you get more experience and advance your knowledge.

Like with many of the jobs on this list (particularly those centered around manual labor), you can get the best financial results by starting a business. For example, you could be making six figures a year in air conditioning repair, as it is a highly in-demand field with high-quality workers.


If you’re interested in a healthcare field but don’t want to be a nurse, many other fields can fit. One of the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates in this market is ultrasonographers. These professionals run ultrasound machines and provide interior views of a person’s body.

They are vitally essential professionals who help diagnose and figure out a myriad of health problems quickly and efficiently. Their specialized skills take up to 18 months to master, but once you graduate from trade school, you’ll find yourself in a surprisingly good place financially.

Expect the bottom 10% of people in this field to make $55,000 per year on average. That’s right: even the lowest-paid people make over $50,000 per year. On the other hand, the highest-paid 10% will make up to $83,000, though these individuals are usually in higher-capacity and higher-difficulty hospital positions.

Even if you don’t get the highest pay, you may be able to earn nearly $69,000 per year, on average, at this job. In this way, this position is one of the highest-paying options for trade school attendees. Talk to your counselor to learn more about whether this career is right for you or not.

Home Inspector

Another one of the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates is home inspector, a job that is almost always in high demand. That’s because the real estate market is almost always in a heightened state of flux, and inspectors help to ensure that this process goes smoothly and with minimal challenges.

Your job duties could include going over a house to look for problems like damage to the roof, floor problems, contamination, and much more. You’d also have to do a foundation inspection or work with a professional who could take this step to get the best results for your career.

Home inspection professionals typically work with a community and are not connected to a real estate agent. Instead, they are an independent professional who gives their honest opinion. Doing so can help you earn at least $47,000 every year on the bottom end and up to $59,000 at the higher end.

On average, you’ll probably make around $52,000 per year or just over that. Of course, your salary range will change depending on your location, how long you’ve worked in the field, and the extent of your education. Don’t worry. Even a trade school education will get you in this field and provide a competitive salary.

Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist is another fascinating career option that falls within the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates. These professionals work directly with dentists and provide a myriad of different tasks that help to keep dentists on task while working with their patients.

Typically, they provide tasks like handing a dentist is tools or taking care of regular cleaning steps that a dentist can not. These include doing things like cleaning the teeth, watching for stains and decay, and even potentially some minor dental care options, like fillings and even some enamel repair.

These experts are essential for emergency dental care situations, as they help dentists with things like scanning the mouth, inspecting for damaged teeth, and removing any teeth that may linger in the mouth. You will never have a dull moment as a dental hygienist, that’s for sure.

Expect to make an average of around $76,284 per year, with a range that goes between $62-86K. Of course, you will make more money the longer you stay at this job, so don’t be afraid to find a dental professional you like and stick with them for many years to get the pay you want.


Utility repair jobs, like electricians, typically have an in-demand position that earns them a high potential income. They work with various electrical elements to ensure that homes, commercial facilities, and even many industrial buildings have operational electrical components.

For example, they may inspect things like bulkhead electrical connectors and repair or replace them as needed. They may also replace wiring, upgrade various plugs in a building, and even sync up multiple efficiency elements that keep a facility operational.

The pay rate here varies quite heavily across the nation, perhaps more heavily than any other job. For instance, the lower-paid electricians can make around $25,500 or so. However, higher-paid options can earn as much as $75,000 per year, with the average lingering around the $50K range.

Why such a broad range? Starting electricians don’t get paid as much in this field but can work up to a respectable rate as they learn more skills. The highest-paid electricians are those who start their businesses. We weren’t kidding when we said this was an excellent step for many trade school grads.

Respiratory Therapist

The medical field provides a large number of the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates. Respiratory therapists are no different. This career path pairs you with people who have respiratory diseases and gives you the chance to work with them in a meaningful and powerful way.

In this position, you might have to take care of things like hospice and respite care, which will require a more hands-on approach that might be suitable for some people. Others may have a more distant position, focusing primarily on breathing exercises and various treatment methods.

This position is interesting because it has a pretty wide range of potential salaries. The lowest we could find was $40,000 (respectable and usually a starting position), with the highest being around $72,000 (usually for those in management or senior positions that required more responsibility).

Again, this broad pay range is usually due to location in the country. In rural areas with smaller hospitals and fewer patients, you’re going to get paid less. However, more extensive and in-demand medical facilities can afford to pay you a lot more, giving you the wage you deserve.


Do you like working outdoors and enjoy sculpting dirt and landscaping? Then, becoming a landscaper may be a good choice for you. Unfortunately, of all the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates on our list, this option may be the most labor-intensive and also the lowest-paying, though it’s still a great option.

For example, landscapers on a team often make around $26-31K or so starting out, which is pretty good considering landscaping training is so quickly finished. Most people should be ready to start their job in six months and likely find a job on a golf course, football field, or larger home.

The best way to make money on this gig is to start a business. We’ve stressed this a few times in different sections here, but it cannot be emphasized enough. A landscaping business owner could make a minimum of around $100-500K or so, depending on where they live and how hard they work.

Don’t expect to make that kind of money right away immediately, though. After all, you’ll have to hire a team who will need to get pretty good pay to stay active and make the money they need to stay afloat. Nevertheless, patience is here, so give it time, and you should thrive in this position.

Construction Worker

Lastly, you might want to consider becoming a construction worker to push your career to the next level. This field is fascinating because you can get a low-paying position without training. However, it is one of the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates to get licensed and certified.

For example, you could become a custom home builder and craft beautiful houses for your clients. However, tiny home builders remain a popular option here, as it gives you the chance to craft a gorgeous home with minimum effort and create the kind of financial security you need for your life.

Or you could join up with a construction company that can provide you with a steady job and a reasonable wage. Expect an average of around $37,785 as a starting position (though the pay may go as low as $33K per year) and a high-end salary of just under $42,000 per year.

Should you start a business to get the most money here? Again, that depends on your ambition. Some people thrive when starting a company, while others struggle. Others enjoy doing hands-on physical work, while others may want a more intellectual and planning position.

As you can see, the highest paying jobs for trade school graduates are a fascinating and diverse array of different choices, things that can inspire you and push you to a higher level in life. But, just as importantly, you should be able to find something that appeals to you with minimum difficulty.