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The Best Skilled Trade Careers to Pursue

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Many of the best jobs available on the market don’t require an expensive degree from a university. Copious amounts of debt does not need to be accumulated either for these five hot jobs.

Image by Роман Распутин from Pixabay


Working as an electrician is a rewarding endeavor. Installing and maintaining wires, fixing faulty wiring, setting up cable and reading blueprints are all exciting parts of the job. What’s more, electricians do work in a wide variety of situations and environments. One day you’re helping install Guthman church LED signs, the next you’re running new wiring through the lobby of a historic hotel under major renovation.

You don’t necessarily need a four-year degree to find your dream job. Manual labor can be just as lucrative, with top blue-collar workers earning annual mean wages well above the $50,620 national average.

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If making good money and detecting safety hazards is your prerogative, a good vocational school and apprenticeship program can get you a good start with this electrifying career path. Licensing is required in most states. Performing the job of an electrician boasts median annual earnings $55,190, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Most people hate dealing with broken pipes and clogged toilets. Plumbing is a physically intensive job, as well as a dirty one; if you’re not shy with wielding a pipe wrench and lodging yourself in tight crawl spaces, this career is a rewarding one with great pay. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the median annual income to be $53,910 for plumbers. Based on the nature of the work, where plumbing emergencies can crop up unexpectedly, this job allows for great job security.

Trade schools and community colleges can allow for a valuable education in this skilled trade. Like an electrician, a license is usually required.


If you like to build, repair and install things, carpentry may be the ideal career for you. Whether you’re building decks, laying down the foundation of a house, repairing a roof, installing kitchen cabinets or building a bridge, this skilled trade will always be in high demand.

Creative people can find themselves in an apprenticeship program offered by employees, many of which provide paid training. Much like plumbing, there is a physically demanding element to the job, but the pay is great. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career path offers a median annual income of $46,590.

Sheet Metal Fabricator

If you enjoy working with your hands, crafting various products and assembling various components made of metal, we’ve got the skilled trade for you. This job offers a healthy variety. It ranges from welding, shearing, cutting, folding and punching.

The vast majority of sheet metal workers gain their experience for the craft with paid on-the-job training through an apprenticeship. Sheet metal workers obtain an impressive median salary of $48,460. Despite the great pay, the job is tough, given it involves installing ducts made of metal and directly working with HVAC systems.

“In June 2018, there were 263,000 job openings in the construction industry, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Through 2026, BLS projects faster-than-average employment growth in the industry. What’s more, its median annual wage of $45,820 in 2017 surpassed the $37,690 median wage for all industries.” –

Material Moving Machine Operator

Enjoy working with heavy equipment? If so, you have an opportunity to assist with the construction of massive road and building projects that can help improve the livelihood of the community around you. $35,850 is the average median salary for this skilled trade.

The works venues range from interior warehouses to being outside operating a crane for the construction of various structures, such as new buildings. Training often occurs on the job. Depending on the machine being operated, training can occur in as little as a month. Many states still require licensing before allowing the prospective operator to utilize heavy machinery in a professional capacity.


With all of these great paying skilled trades that are available, these pose a viable, rewarding opportunity to racking up debt in college. Whether you are working as an electrician, fixing drains as a plumber, installing tile as a plumber, fabricating sheet metal or assisting with the construction of a high-rise, many rewarding opportunities are awaiting you. Get out of that mundane 9-to-5 job and unlock your potential for success today.

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06/02/2023 12:18 am GMT

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