Highest Paying Trade Jobs for 2021

For some young people, going to college aligns perfectly with their strengths and their career goals. Others might be better suited to study a trade at a vocational school or through an apprenticeship. While trades usually don’t require a bachelor’s degree, they are some of the most essential jobs in our community — and they can lead to a GREAT income.

So what are the highest paying trade jobs in 2021? It depends on where you live, and who you work for. But we’ve profiled a handful of the best-paying trade jobs to help you get a deeper understanding of your options.

Keep reading to find what kind of living you can make as an essential worker.


How to become a plumber
Photo: Shutterstock

Despite the stereotypes, plumbers do far more than relieve clogged toilets. Plumbers are essential to installing and repairing water and gas supply lines, and their services are often required for installing bathtubs, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, and other appliances that connect directly to a water line. Plumbers need to be quick thinkers for in-the-moment problem-solving, and typically need to be strong enough to lift heavy equipment.

  • Indeed estimates the national average salary is about $25/hour.
  • US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a national median income of $55,150, with the top 10% of earners raking in an annual $97,170.

Construction Manager

You’ll probably have to begin your career in construction in a lower position, like as a tradesperson. However, with the proper training and experience, you could work your way up to make a handsome living as a construction manager in no time. The job entails overseeing construction projects, including all the people and equipment that make it possible.

Jeff Gillis from The Interview Guys, says that in a typical day, a construction manager “might create plans, set budgets, monitor timelines, assess deadlines, and keep a team moving.”

  • Indeed estimates the national average income of $84,476.
  • US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2019 the median salary of a construction manager was $95,260.


how to become an electrician
Photo: iStock

Like many trade jobs, electricians need to complete an apprenticeship before they can start practicing on their own. Practicing this trade requires a deep understanding of electrical systems, an ability to read blueprints, comprehend safety regulations and typically, a need for good interpersonal skills.

But while it is one of the more rigorous trades to master, it’s also one of the highest-paid vocations.

  • Indeed estimates an average hourly rate of $24.83.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median national income for electricians was $56,180 in 2019, but top earners come in closer to $80,000/year.


Boilermakers spend their time installing, maintaining and repairing boilers and vats that contain gas and liquid. Like plumbers and electricians, boilermakers have to be quick on their feet, identifying potential defects and anticipating long term problems.

  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average of $27.18/hour, or a median income of $63,100.

Particularly for the skilled trades like these, there is an entrepreneurial opportunity to build a plumbing, electrical or carpentry business. Then the earning potential has no top end.

Licensed Practical Nurse

How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse
Photo: Shutterstock

The healthcare sector is one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country, and it’s not just made of highly-trained physicians. Quite the contrary, all medical centers rely on nurses, physician’s assistants, technicians and a host of other professionals to maintain a community’s health. Even beyond the walls of a hospital, there is healthcare work to be done in long-term care facilities, rehab centers, and in-home care.

One of the most lucrative trade jobs in healthcare is the licensed practical nurse. This role requires less extensive training than becoming a registered nurse, as most states only require a yearlong educational course. Still, licensed practical nurses are invaluable in assisting RNs and doctors, as well as providing one-on-one care in nursing homes, hospitals, physicians’ offices and private homes.

  • Indeed estimates the average hourly salary is about $25.18.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics places the median annual salary at $47,480.

If you’re curious about any position not on our list, visit the website of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which offers the median income for almost every role imaginable. (Their most recent data is from 2019, so medians may have inflated since).

Highest Paying Trade Jobs 2021 — Sources Indeed, The Interview Guys, US Bureau of Labor Statistics