15 Best Jobs for Trade School Graduates

You don’t need a four-year degree to make a decent living. Indeed, some of the professions available through trade school pay exceptionally well. It’s no surprise that some people are choosing trade school and certificates over bachelor’s degrees and other higher education degrees, given the rising cost of college tuition. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the Best Jobs for Trade School Graduates. Trade school offers a more defined professional path in addition to lower tuition costs. It can be difficult to translate a degree into a career path, but vocational programs provide a clear path. 

If you know what you want to do and trade schools offer a program in that field, trade schools may be a good fit for you. Fortunately, you won’t have to forego a large salary if you choose that path.

15 Best Jobs for Trade School Graduates

What Is A Trade School And How Does It Work?

Unlike a traditional four-year university, which provides students with a broad liberal arts and humanities education, a trade school focuses on providing students with the technical knowledge and skills needed for a specific career, such as welding and mechanical repair. Public or private trade schools exist, and many are for-profit businesses. Trade schools only teach specific skills and avoid general education classes, which may cause you to stay in school longer than necessary. A certificate, diploma, or associate degree can be earned by a trade school graduate.

The only difference between a traditional school and a trade school is the amount of time it takes to obtain both. This is because a traditional school will require you to take some general courses, whereas a trade school will allow you to jump right into the details. Furthermore, skipping the general courses will save you a significant amount of time. For some high school graduates, trade school provides a more affordable, secure, and stable career path and professional development than four years at a university. 

That is not to say that attending college is a waste of time. Choices, on the other hand, are extremely important. Technical colleges and vocational schools are other names for trade schools. Their job training is typically focused on high-demand fields, providing students with a good chance of finding work. We’ve compiled the Best Jobs for Trade School Graduates in this article, along with descriptions of each one so you know what you’re getting into. However, you might be curious as to why trade schools are longer than four-year university programs.

Why Should You Go To Trade School?

  • Shorter Programs: While bachelor’s degrees require at least four years of full-time study, vocational programs can range from three to 24 months in length, depending on the subject and program. 
  • Improved Job Prospects: Associate degree holders earn more than high school graduates, which improves their job prospects. They also have a higher employment rate. 
  • Increased Market Competitiveness: The market competitiveness of a graduate is linked to their vocational education. This helps them prepare for a specific job or vocation.

15 Best Jobs for Trade School Graduates

1. Dental hygienist

A dental hygienist is someone who cleans people’s teeth. Dental hygienists and dentists work together to keep patients’ teeth and gums healthy. Cleaning teeth, testing for disease, taking X-rays, and educating patients on proper dental hygiene are all part of their responsibilities. They also assist with paperwork and office administration. To work as a dental hygienist, you’ll typically need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, which takes three years to complete. You must have a license, but the requirements vary by state.

In 2018, dental hygienists earned a median annual salary of $74,820, or $35.97 per hour. The job market is expected to grow by 10% by 2026, with 40,900 openings, significantly faster than the average rate of growth. This is a good career opportunity for you if you enjoy dealing with people and are interested in healthcare.

2. Air Traffic Controller (ATC)

Without air traffic controllers, airports cannot operate safely. They supervise the flow of planes into and out of an airport and ensure that they keep a safe distance between themselves. This work can be demanding because it requires constant concentration. You must be a US citizen and pass medical and background checks to be considered for this position. You must also complete a training program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Associate degree level course includes air traffic control.

A more advanced degree program that covers more ground is also available. Air traffic controllers earn $124,540 per year or $59.87 per hour. Despite the fact that the job market is shrinking, if you meet the requirements, you may be able to join this elite group.

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3. Margin Department Supervisor:

If you’re interested in finance but don’t think a four-year degree is right for you, consider becoming a margin department supervisor. These people are in charge of a company’s margin department, which determines whether a customer is approved for credit and keeps track of all account activity. There are no formal training requirements for becoming a margin department supervisor. An associate’s degree in business, finance, or a related field, on the other hand, is advantageous. 

You’ll probably have to work in the margin department for a few years before you can advance to supervisor. Margin department directors typically earn $75,392 per year. Those who work for larger corporations may be paid slightly more. As a result, they are one of the Best Jobs for Trade School Graduates.

4. Construction Manager:

Construction managers are the people in charge of construction projects. They plan site layouts, manage budgets, and track the progress of their projects. They are responsible for ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget, and they must be available to address any issues that may arise. You can become a construction manager with an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or just a lot of work experience. Although formal education is the safest path to a managerial position, you can get one without it if you prove yourself over many years on the job.

If you decide to continue your education, look for a construction management program. Construction site managers make an average of $93,370 per year or $44.89 per hour. The job market is expected to grow at about the same rate as the overall job market, with 44,800 job vacancies projected through 2026.

5. Automobile Service Station Manager:

The average annual salary for this position is $47,232, or $19.00 per hour, but keep in mind that you’ll have to start at the bottom and work your way up to manager. You can achieve your goal if you work hard and consistently prove yourself. A service station manager is in charge of operations in the automotive industry. It could be a gas station, a mechanic’s shop, or something completely different. The manager sets operating hours, hires employees, assigns job responsibilities, sets prices, and makes other important decisions.

There are several ways to become an automobile service station manager. You can learn how to be a mechanic at a trade school and then work your way up the ladder. You might even consider getting a business associate’s or bachelor’s degree to help you advance more quickly. You’ll need some experience in the automobile industry before you can become a manager.

6. Cardiovascular Technologist

Cardiovascular technologists operate medical equipment to assist doctors in diagnosing and treating heart and blood vessel disorders. EKGs, stress tests, blood vessel examinations, and other procedures are performed by these medical professionals. They could, for example, specialize in echocardiography, invasive cardiology, or vascular technology. To work as a cardiovascular technologist, you’ll need an associate’s degree or to complete a certification program at a school or hospital. 

Certification may be required before you can work as a cardiovascular technologist. This job pays approximately $67,080 per year or $32.25 per hour. The market is expected to grow by 17% by 2026, with 21,100 job openings — significantly faster than the average rate of job growth.

7. Elevator Mechanic

Elevator mechanics are in charge of installing, maintaining, and repairing elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other similar equipment. They frequently work in confined spaces like machine rooms or at great heights like the top of an elevator shaft. Elevator mechanics typically complete a five-year apprenticeship program that includes both classroom and on-the-job training. You must have a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in this program. You can continue to pursue more advanced credentials if you pass the final exam.

Elevator mechanics are required to be licensed in multiple states. In 2018, an elevator mechanic made an average of $79,780 per year or $38.36 per hour. Employment is expected to grow at a faster-than-average 12 percent by 2026. If you are mechanically inclined and physically fit, this could be the job for you.

8. Power utility technicians

Power utility technicians, also known as line workers, install, repair, and maintain electrical equipment. They work with high-voltage power lines and must sometimes climb utility poles to get to them. They work regular hours, but they may be required to work overtime if there are significant outages due to storms or other events. After high school, you could enroll in an apprenticeship program to work as a line worker. Many power utility technicians, on the other hand, must first obtain a certification or associate’s degree in a related field. 

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With a formal degree, you’ll be off to a good start, but you’ll still need some on-the-job training. Electrical power-line technicians typically earn $65,880 per year or $31.67 per hour. Employees in the telecommunications line earn an average of $58,280 per year. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 8% by 2026, with approximately 18,400 openings.

9. Boilermaker

Boilermakers install, repair, and maintain boilers and closed vats, as well as other large containers for liquids or gases. They also clean and inspect boilers for defects. Boilermakers used a variety of tools, including welding equipment and, increasingly, robotic and automated machines. They may be required to travel to work and stay there for long periods of time. Boilermakers typically learn their trade through an apprenticeship or training program. If you have welding experience and certification, you will have a better chance of being accepted into these programs. 

In 2018, the median annual salary for boilermakers was $62,150, or $29.88 per hour. With 1,500 new jobs in a field of 17,200, the market for boilermakers is expected to grow by 9% through 2026. If you are comfortable with machines, particularly welding equipment, and don’t mind physically demanding and potentially dangerous work, this could be an excellent job for you.

10. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer:

Another lucrative trade school medical career is that of a diagnostic medical sonographer. They use a sonogram, which uses ultrasound technology to create images of organs and tissues, as well as to see a fetus inside the womb. A diagnostic medical sonographer’s most well-known task is informing parents of their unborn child’s gender. A two-year associate’s degree program is available for those interested in becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer, but a one-year certificate program may also suffice. 

The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers certification exam, which is administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, is preferred by most employers. The average annual salary for diagnostic medical sonographers is $67,080 ($32.25 per hour). With 21,100 vacancies expected by 2026, the job outlook for this career is significantly better than average. This position is ideal for individuals with a passion for medicine and experience working with both people and technology.

11. IT Technician

If you’re good with computers, consider becoming an information technology (IT) technician. This job entails installing, debugging, repairing, and maintaining computer equipment. It could also entail teaching people how to use equipment and assisting them in independently troubleshooting computers. There are many ways to break into the IT industry, but an associate’s degree in information technology will open many doors. Some employers demand certifications as well. You don’t have to have them, but they can help you stand out as a candidate.

IT professionals may also benefit from specialized certification courses to expand their technical knowledge. IT specialists earn around $53,470 per year ($25.70 per hour). IT is a rapidly growing field, with 835,300 current practitioners. The job market for IT technicians is expected to grow by 11% by 2026, to 88,500 jobs.

12. Oil and Gas Industry Rotary Drill Operator:

In the oil and gas industry, you can make a good living as a rotary drill operator. This work includes setting up and operating drilling equipment to test an area during oil and gas exploration. You’ll also need to dig for oil and gas on occasion. Roustabouts, derrick operators, service unit operators, and rotary drill operators are all subcategories of this occupation, each of which operates a different type of machinery. The most important requirement for becoming a rotary drill operator is on-the-job training. 

You can also take classes to learn more about the equipment you’ll need and the energy industry in general, and you’ll need to live in or move to an area where oil and gas drilling is common. The average annual salary for a rotary drill operator is $56,740, or $27.28 per hour. Employment in this field is expected to increase by 24% by 2026.

13. Respiratory Therapist

Patients who are having trouble breathing due to a chronic condition like asthma or an emergency like a heart attack or shock are helped by a respiratory therapist. Advanced respiratory therapists can also help patients learn about respiratory health and develop treatment plans. This medical personnel must have a thorough understanding of the respiratory system, as well as the ability to operate necessary equipment and interact with patients. They must also be well-versed in the medical field. 

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To get started, most respiratory therapists need an associate’s degree, and all states except Alaska require certification. The average salary for respiratory therapists is $60,280 per year or $28.98 per hour. The field, which currently employs 130,200 people, is expected to grow by 23 percent by 2026, with 30,500 new job openings.

14. Web Developer

If you’re creative and computer savvy, a career as a web developer might be right for you. Website developers are in charge of both the technical and aesthetic aspects of the site. They could also write for their own websites. A web design associate’s degree is usually required, but degrees in computer science, graphic design, and business may also be beneficial. The median annual salary for web developers is $69,430, or $33.38 per hour. By 2026, this industry is expected to grow by 15%, with 24,400 new job openings and a workforce of around 162,900. 

Web developers who work for themselves make up about one-seventh of all web developers. They could, however, work for computer companies, design firms, or companies that have their own websites.

15. Aircraft Mechanic

Another in-demand trade school job is that of an aviation mechanic or technician. Repairing and maintaining aircraft and other avionic equipment is part of this job. They may also conduct aircraft inspections. Aircraft mechanics frequently attend an aviation maintenance technician school approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some people go straight from high school to work and get on-the-job training, while others join the military and gain experience. The vast majority of those employed in this field are licensed or certified.

The average annual salary for an aviation mechanic or technician is $63,060, or $30.32 per hour. With a current workforce of 149,500 people, employment in this industry is expected to remain relatively stable, with 7,500 new job openings expected by 2026, representing a 5% growth rate.

What Is the Distinction Between a Trade School and A University?

Universities and other colleges offer a four-year program that focuses on liberal arts and humanities. Students take general education courses to expand their general knowledge, which may or may not be relevant to their careers. A trade school, on the other hand, teaches students technical skills and knowledge that are relevant to a specific occupation. There are private and public trade schools, as well as some nonprofit organizations. Check the accreditation status of a trade school before applying. 

They offer a certificate, certification, or associate degree after 8 weeks to two years of intensive training. Following graduation, you may sit for licensing exams, pursue further training, or seek employment. Learners can pursue specific career goals at trade schools.

Trades School Graduates Have More Career Options

The job list will never be complete. The jobs mentioned are some of the most in-demand trade school jobs, with good growth projections in the coming years, whether you are just starting out or looking to change careers. Always think about your best options. Any job that is not a good fit for your interests and skills should be avoided because it will drag you back or cause you to stay in the same place in life. Before moving forward, make sure you’re financially, emotionally, and physically prepared.

Conclusion

So you’re not planning on attending university? That is not a problem! You’d be surprised how much money a trade school education can earn you. Our list of the top 15 highest-paying trade school jobs may be of assistance to you. You may even find yourself in a better position than your university graduate peers due to the increased demand for trade skills, particularly in the health care industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are trade school jobs well compensated?

Yes. Jobs in trade schools have even been found to pay more than 4-year degrees.

Is it simple to find work after Trade School?

Yes. It is simple to find work after Trade School because blue-collar workers are in higher demand than white-collar workers.

How long does it take to finish a program at a Trade School?

Depending on the school and the particular vocation, trade school programs can last anywhere from three months to two years.

Are trade school jobs considered blue-collar?

Yes. Trade school graduates go on to work as blue-collar workers.

How challenging are Trade School programs?

In general, trade school programs are not difficult. They are, however, more stressful because they require more hands-on training than intellectual training.

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