What Are Some the Highest Paying Trade Jobs in America Right Now?

male and female skilled worker working in their shop

“Which trade jobs pay the most?” 

“What are the best paying trade jobs?”

“How do I get into the trades that make the most money?”

We hear these questions all the time from both new and experienced skilled workers. 

The price of goods is increasing, which means the cost of living is also increasing. You need to make more money in order to simply live the way you’ve been living. Fortunately, there are many trades that make good money or ways to improve your current trade salary to make it comparable to some of the other most lucrative trades.

Are you interested in learning more about the top paying trades in America right now? Then, keep reading through this article. 

We’re sharing industry insight into the best skilled jobs and highest-earning trades. Whether you’ve already done research on the highest paying vocational trades or not, you might be surprised at the answer to, “What are some trades that pay well?”

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What Are the Best Trades to Get Into to Make Good Money?

Right out of the gate we want to give you an answer to, “Which trade job pays the most?” Are you ready?

The best trades to get into are almost all of them.

That’s right, nearly every trade skill is a worthwhile investment that will provide you with a stable, high-paying career.

So, why are all trade jobs the “highest paying trade jobs”? There are two big reasons:

  1. The Great Labor Shortage
  2. The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Here’s a look at these two factors in more detail.

The Great Labor Shortage

There’s been a trade labor shortage for years and it’s been heightened by the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age. More tradesmen than ever are stepping away from their careers, leaving nearly one million (and growing every day) open trade positions. 

In addition, there aren’t enough skilled workers entering the workforce to take the place of the laborers who are retiring or leaving their jobs. 

This high demand for, and low supply of, qualified workers has left employers no choice but to start increasing wages for skilled workers. By increasing wages, they’re hoping to incentivize more workers to join their company.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Another reason for increased salaries in the trades is a phenomenon called The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing about a huge technological change in the trades. As employers face a candidate shortage, they’re turning to technology to help automate their businesses. 

However, this new technology requires workers to have an increased understanding of electrical, computer, and programming skills. Instead of simply needing to replace and fix machines, skilled laborers need new skills and certifications to keep these automated machines running. 

Laborers who take the time to acquire these skills and certifications become more valuable to employers, leading to increased wages.

Together, the Great Candidate Shortage and Fourth Industrial Revolution are paving the way for every trade skill to become one of the most lucrative trades.

Trades That Make Good Money

Even though every trade could be considered one of the best skilled jobs, there are a few that stand out as ones that will see the most growth and highest wages in the coming years.

Here are three specific areas within the trades that currently are (or we think will become) trades that make a lot of money.

Electronics, Control, and Instrumentation Technicians

We mentioned that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is increasing automation and technology in the trades. So, trade jobs in electronics, controls, and instrumentation are quickly becoming some of the most sought after and most lucrative trades. 

These technicians require an understanding of simple programming and low code automation. Their job is to develop, maintain, and troubleshoot electrical or computer components for manufacturers. With their knowledge of programming and automation, they keep automated systems, processes, and machines running smoothly and effectively. 

Even if you don’t start out in this trade space, it’s not too late to invest in a low code or automation programming certification. Especially if you already have a background in electronics, upskilling in automation can be a great way to expand your skill set and increase your salary.

Construction Management

Construction management is another trade field that’s growing in demand. Construction managers oversee the planning, design, and follow-through of projects. The average salary for construction managers is $116,245/year, making it one of the top-paying trades in America. 

The construction management field, like other trades, is becoming highly integrated with technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality (AR). So, project managers need to understand and stay up to date with these developments.

Ammonia Refrigeration Specialists

Ammonia refrigeration specialists repair and maintain industrial refrigeration equipment, especially in the food processing and cold storage industries. 

Why is this trade one of the highest-earning trades?

For one, there are a number of certifications that you can get like an Op 1 or PSM. Receiving these certifications will make you a more valuable and desirable employee. Some skilled worker companies will even help you get these certifications.

Second, the salary for a refrigeration technician used to be around $20-22/hour. However, companies have recently been offering around $30-35/hour (not taking into consideration overtime)—with some upwards of $40/hour.

These are just three of the many examples of trade jobs that are growing in demand and seeing an increase in wages.

Now, do you want to know how to apply for and get hired into some of these trades that make a lot of money?

Apply for the Most Lucrative Trades Today

As more and more baby boomers are retiring, the shortage and demand for skilled workers are growing. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is also creating a need for workers that have a traditional trade skill set and knowledge of computers/automation.

Employers are in desperate need of qualified tradespeople and some are paying upwards of $30-40/hour for jobs that used to only make $20/hour.

With salary rates dramatically increasing across the board, there’s not really one clear answer to “Which trade job pays the most?” Almost every trade skill could be considered one of the highest paying trade jobs. However, three trades in particular that are seeing an increase in demand and salary right now are:

  • Electronics, controls, and implementation specialists
  • Construction managers
  • Ammonia refrigeration specialists

But regardless of which trade you decide to go into, gaining experience and investing in certifications/upskilling opportunities will often lead to greater income.

At Skillwork, we help qualified tradespeople find the best trade job possible. We put you first by making sure that every position we send your way suits your current skill set and long-term career goals. Our travel staffing approach also allows us to offer jobs all over the country so you can gain new experiences and grow your resume. Additionally, we ensure that you get a fair wage, with most of our skilled workers making $18/hour more with us than they would otherwise. 

Contact us today to talk with a Skillwork Recruiter and learn more about how our staffing process works and helps you get the perfect job.

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