30 High Paying Trade School Degrees

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Are you interested in a high paying and personally rewarding career but don’t necessarily have four (or more) years to invest, or, perhaps, even, the set of desires and academic disposition earning a college degree requires? If this describes you, acquiring a professional trade or skill might be the perfect way to realize your dreams of gaining the needed skills and knowledge that will pave the way towards stable and well-paying work. The following list provides examples of thirty trade degrees and the types of employment they make possible. The wage data given represents the median income of the given trade or skill discussed. For each occupation listed, therefore, earning potential is even greater than the annual and hourly earnings listed. As you will discover, there are many high-paying and meaningful entry level jobs that one can do without a typical college degree. Based upon data collected from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trade and Vocational School websites and job descriptions from O*Net Online, this list shows, in the thirty examples below, that it doesn’t always require a college degree to make very good money and enjoy doing it.



Construction Management


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For tradesmen and women experienced in construction and general contraction, with organizational and communication skills, construction management offers very high earning potential. At an hourly rate of over $42.00 per hour and average yearly earnings of over $87,000, construction management is one of the highest paying trades on this list. The field is expected to grow over the next decade by 5%, which translates into an expected additional 18,000 new jobs during the same stretch of time.

  • Average income of a Construction Manager-$87,400/Hourly Rate-$42.02
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-5%
  • Number of new jobs-17,800

Construction managers must have a good head for economics, pricing and the need to balance costs in order to ensure that the project is achieved within a budget. They also organize, coordinate and supervise construction projects

Basic Responsibilities of Construction Managers:

  • Confer with supervisory personnel, owners, contractors, or design professionals to discuss and resolve matters, such as work procedures, complaints, or construction problems;
  • Plan, schedule, or coordinate construction project activities to meet deadlines;
  • Prepare and submit budget estimates, progress reports, or cost tracking reports;
  • Inspect or review projects to monitor compliance with building and safety codes, or other regulations;
  • Inspect or review projects to monitor compliance with environmental regulations.

See our Top Online Schools for Construction Management Degree Programs, as well as, our FAQs on the subject:

Can a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management be earned through an online program?

How do I earn my online Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management?

What kind of career and salary can I expect with my online Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management?

What are the job responsibilities of a Construction Manager?

What will it be like to work an internship in Construction Management?

Construction management normally requires many years of experience as both a construction worker in some capacity as well as experience as a general contractor in order to be able to get an overview of all that’s involved in managing a given construction project. Although this is not a requirement, employers are tending to look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree. This is not universal, however, and experience often suffices as sufficient indication of competence. In order to bridge experience in the field and management know-how, many trade schools are now offering programs in construction management.

Construction management is considered a high-stress career because managers must meet employer demands, often within a tight schedule of deadlines. Construction managers spend the majority of their work time in an office, going on site to inspect a project and give directives.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

San Joaquin Valley College: Construction Management (Online) 

Fortis Institute: Construction Management 

Stratford Career Institute: Construction Management (Online) 


Power Utility Technician


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Trade school education in power utility technology offers excellent wage-earning profits in a variety of fields related to the conducting and distribution of electricity. Most commonly those trained in power utility technology work as power line installers or repairers. Other careers that flow from education in power utility technology include:

  • Power Plant Operator
  • Systems Operator
  • Hydroelectric Station Operator
  • Turbine Operator
  • Instrument and Controls Technician
  • Maintenance Technician

Pay is excellent across this field and there is growing demand for trained professionals. For example:

  • The average median yearly wages for a Linesman-$65,930/$31.70 hourly
  • The field is predicted to grow 13% over the next decade
  • Power Plant Operators-$70,070/$33.69 hourly
  • Power Utility Technicians earn $61,430/$29.53 hourly
  • By 2024 analysts predict the field will grow 6%

Power utility technicians are in high demand in both traditional and existing electrical power infrastructures as well as the increasingly expanding area of “green” energy. This is because power utility technicians oversee, manage and repair the systems and instruments through which electricity flows. Because electrical power is used in virtually every area of life and industry, power utility technicians can work in a variety of settings and conditions with very diverse duties and responsibilities. These can include:

  • Laying down new electrical lines;
  • Controlling and/or maintaining power-generating equipment;
  • Reading charts, meters, and gauges to monitor voltage and electricity flows;
  • Checking equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems;
  • Adjusting controls to regulate the flow of power;
  • Starting or stopping generators, turbines and other equipment as necessary.

The many fields open to those trained in power utility technology normally require years of on-the-job training as well as apprenticeships. Requirements will vary according to the specific career chosen.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Ecotech Institute: Power Utility Technology


Garden and Landscaping Design


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Garden and landscaping design is a professional skill that offers excellent earning potential. Garden and Landscape Designers (Architects) earn on average over $60,000 per year, and the field is growing at a 5% rate, which is as fast as average. With a combined ability in surveying and land management and aesthetic sensitivity, garden and landscape designers create vegetation environments that serve the needs of industrial and recreational as well as residential buildings and complexes among many others.

  • Average income of a Garden and Landscape Designer-$63,810/Hourly Rate-$30.68
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-5%
  • Number of new jobs-1,200

Basic Responsibilities of Garden and Landscape Designers:

  • Prepare site plans, specifications, and cost estimates;
  • Coordinate the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures;
  • Prepare graphic representations of plans using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software;
  • Select appropriate materials for use in landscape designs;
  • Analyze environmental reports on land conditions, such as drainage and energy usage;
  • Inspect landscape project progress to ensure that it adheres to plans.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Garden and Landscape Designers often work out of an office. The rest of the time is spent on location. About 20% percent of designers are self-employed, and the rest work for landscape design firms. Competition is often very high for these jobs. Often a bachelor’s degree is needed, and all but three states require certification. However, several vocational school opportunities are also available.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Ashworth College: Landscape Design Diploma (Online) 

Penn Foster Career School: Landscaping Technology Online Career Diploma Program


Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology


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Although the number of electrical and electronic engineering technicians is in a slight decline (-2% by 2024), there remains a great need and demand for qualified professionals. And, the overall job market remains large and stable with over 139,000 jobs. Pay is excellent with technicians earning on average around $60,000 per year.

  • Average income of an Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technician-$61,130/Hourly Rate-$29.39
  • Expected slight decline over the next ten years-(-2%)
  • Number of new jobs-139,400

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians help engineers design and develop equipment used in computers, medicine, navigation and many other fields. In addition to product and equipment design, electrical and electronic engineering technicians also test and run diagnostics on electrical and electronic equipment. They also repair equipment.

Basic Responsibilities of Electrical Engineering and Electronic Engineering Technicians:

Electrical Engineering Technicians:

  • Assemble electrical systems or prototypes, using hand tools or measuring instruments;
  • Build, calibrate, maintain, troubleshoot, or repair electrical instruments or testing equipment;
  • Inspect electrical project work for quality control and assurance;
  • Identify solutions to on-site technical design problems involving electrical systems equipment;
  • Collaborate with electrical engineers or other personnel to identify, define, or solve developmental problems.

Electronic Engineering Technician:

  • Read blueprints, wiring diagrams, schematic drawings, or engineering instructions for assembling electronics units, applying knowledge of electronic theory and components;
  • Identify and resolve equipment malfunctions, working with manufacturers or field representatives as necessary to procure replacement parts;
  • Test electronics units, using standard test equipment and analyze results to evaluate performance and determine need for adjustment;
  • Adjust or replace defective or improperly functioning circuitry or electronics components, using hand tools or soldering iron;
  • Assemble, test, or maintain circuitry or electronic components, according to engineering instructions, technical manuals, or knowledge of electronics, using hand or power tools.

For more information on the duties of these careers see link and link.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering technicians work very closely with engineers in manufacturing and engineering as well as government settings. Their work can consist in research and development as well as application. Electrical and Electronic Engineering technicians normally need an Associate’s Degree.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Lincoln Tech: Electronic Engineering Technology

Ecotech: Electrical Engineering Technology 


Conservation/Environmental Sciences


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If you love the outdoors and care about maintaining and encouraging the well-being of forests, parks, range lands and other similar areas, a job in conservation and environmental science may be for you. Conservation/environmental science workers make a very good salary of over $60,000 per year. The field is expanding at an average rate of 7%, and by 2024 almost 3,000 new jobs are predicted. Conservation science and forestry is a stable career choice because of the increasing demand for forest products in balance with environmental concerns.

  • Average income of a Conservationist-$60,220 /Hourly Rate-$28.95
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-7%
  • Number of new jobs-2,700

Basic Responsibilities of Conservationists and Workers in Environmental Science:

  • Oversee forestry and conservation activities to ensure compliance with government regulations and habitat protection;
  • Negotiate terms and conditions for forest harvesting and land-use contracts;
  • Establish plans for managing forest lands and resources;
  • Monitor forest-cleared lands to ensure that they are suitable for future use;
  • Work with private landowners, governments, farmers, and others to improve land for forestry purposes, while at the same time protecting the environment.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Although entry level positions often require a bachelor’s degree in forestry or environmental studies or their equivalents, vocational training diplomas can also be earned. A wide variety of online programs are available, making environmental science and forestry attainable for most any lifestyle.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Stratford Career Institute: Conservation/Environmental Sciences (Online) 




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Boilermakers are some of the highest paid tradesmen and women on this list. On average Boilermakers earn just over $60,000 per year. This translates into an impressive hourly wage of just under $29.00. There aren’t many professional boilermakers (17,400 nationwide), however, experts predict a 9% increase over the next decade, which will equal 1,500 new jobs.

  • Average income of a Boilermaker-$60,120/Hourly Rate-$28.90
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-9%
  • Number of new jobs-1,500

Boilermakers assemble, install, maintain and repair boilers as well as closed vats and other large steel containers that are used to hold liquids and gases.

Basic Responsibilities of Boilermakers:

  • Use blueprints to determine locations, positions, or dimensions of parts;
  • Install small premade boilers into buildings and manufacturing facilities;
  • Lay out prefabricated parts of larger boilers before assembling them;
  • Assemble boiler tanks, often using robotic or automatic welders;
  • Test and inspect boiler systems for leaks or defects;
  • Clean vats, using scrapers, wire brushes, and cleaning solvents.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

A career as a boilermaker is dangerous and physically demanding. Working both in factories and on site, boilermakers must often work at great heights in assembling and repairing boilers and vats. Great heat often characterizes work environments as well as pressurized liquids and gases. Boilermakers report a higher number of injuries than many other trades. A high school diploma is needed. Often boilermakers learn their trade through apprenticeships, which take on average four to five years to complete and require a certain number of hours on the job. A background in welding makes a boilermaker candidate more attractive to potential apprenticeship programs.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Boilermaker National Apprenticeship Program 


Aviation Maintenance Technology


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The total number of jobs in the field of aviation technology is not large in comparison to other trades. And, the predicted overall rate of growth in the field is predicted to be not as fast as other trades. However, air travel, military needs and commerce are mainstays of modern society and economics. This means there will always be a need for men and women skilled in aviation maintenance technology. Pay is very good in this trade with an average hourly wage of over $28.00.

  • Average income of a Aviation Maintenance Technician-$58,390/Hourly Rate-$28.07
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-1%
  • Number of new jobs-1,600

Those trained in aviation technology work as aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians. They repair and maintain aircraft. They also may perform aircraft inspections as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Basic Responsibilities of Aviation Technicians and Mechanics:

  • Examine and inspect aircraft components, including landing gear, hydraulic systems, and deicers to locate cracks, breaks, leaks, or other problems;
  • Conduct routine and special inspections as required by regulations. Ignite torches or start power supplies;
  • Test operation of engines and other systems, using test equipment such as ignition analyzers, compression checkers, distributor timers, and ammeters;
  • Locate and mark dimensions and reference lines on defective or replacement parts, using templates, scribes, compasses, and steel rules;
  • Check for corrosion, distortion, and invisible cracks in the fuselage, wings, and tail, using x-ray and magnetic inspection equipment;
  • Disassemble engines and inspect parts, such as turbine blades and cylinders, for corrosion, wear, warping, cracks, and leaks, using precision measuring instruments, x-rays, and magnetic inspection equipment.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians work in hangars, in repair stations, or on airfields. Such tradesmen and women often work under a great deal of stress because they often must meet strict deadlines to maintain flight schedules. Aircraft engines and equipment are quite loud so aviation technicians and mechanics must be able to work in noisy environments. Workers often are required to be in uncomfortable positions, such as bending, stretching, squatting and lying on one’s back or stomach. Workers often must also stand for extended periods on ladders and/or scaffolding. Many aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians learn their trade at an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. Some have only a high school education and receive on-the-job training and instruction.
Although not a requirement, tradesmen and women in the field of aviation technology often also acquire certification.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

National Aviation Academy: Multiple Educational Tracks 

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology: Aviation Electronics Technology and Aviation Maintenance and Repair 


Home Inspection


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Home Inspection is a great career path for people with an eye to detail, a good knowledge of construction and a delight in not being stuck in an office. Home inspectors tend to make very good money ($57,000 annually), and the field is growing rapidly. So, as long as new homes are being constructed and older homes are being bought and sold, need for qualified home inspectors will remain steady.

  • Average income of a Home Inspector-$57,340/Hourly Rate-$27.57
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-8%
  • Number of new jobs-8,100 (total growth of inspectors across all fields)

Basic Responsibilities of Home Inspectors:

  • Use survey instruments, metering devices, and test equipment to perform inspections;
  • Inspect plumbing, electrical, and other systems to ensure that they meet code;
  • Verify alignment, level, and elevation of structures to ensure building meets specifications;
  • Issue violation notices and stop-work orders until building is compliant;
  • Keep daily logs, including photographs taken during inspections;
  • Provide written documentation of findings.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Home inspection is on site, and conditions in which inspections are performed can vary a great deal, depending upon the age and condition of the home. A large percentage of inspectors are self-employed (11%), and most work full time. Home inspection can be physically demanding and require inspectors to climb ladders, enter attics and fit into tight crawl spaces. A high school diploma is needed along with a good knowledge of construction. Vocational training and certification are often required

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Stratford Career Institute: Home Inspection (Online) 

Inspection Certification Associates: Home Inspection Certification 


Rotary Drill Operator for the Oil and Gas Industry


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Rotary Drill Operators are of a small field whose occupation is to extract raw materials from beneath the earth’s surface. Drillers make excellent money ($54,000 per year). The field is expanding at a rate much faster than the national average among all occupations (12%). How this trend will continue long term is difficult to determine. Declines in the field are predicted in the near future.

  • Average income of an Rotary Drill Operator-$54,310 /Hourly Rate-$26.11
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-12%
  • Number of new jobs-Unknown: Some experts predict a coming decline in Drilling jobs

Rotary Drill Operators set and/or operate a variety of drills for the purpose of extracting oil and gas products from beneath the earth’s surface. Drill operators also take samples for further testing in exploration for petroleum products.

Basic Responsibilities of Rotary Drill Operators:

  • Remove core samples during drilling to determine the nature of the strata being drilled;
  • Monitor progress of drilling operations, and select and change drill bits according to the nature of strata, using hand tools;
  • Line drilled holes with pipes, and install all necessary hardware, to prepare new wells;
  • Position and prepare truck-mounted derricks at drilling areas specified on field maps;
  • Plug observation wells, and restore sites;
  • Lower and explode charges in boreholes to start flow of oil from wells;
  • Dig holes, set forms, and mix and pour concrete, for foundations of steel or wooden derricks.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Rotary Drill Operators work on site. Locations vary from inland to inland bodies of water to offshore. Most drillers work full time and often long hour days without days off until the project is completed. Drilling is an occupation that reports a higher than average number of injuries, so safety and safety training is a big concern. Drillers need a high school diploma. Drillers commonly receive on-the-job training as well as formal training through apprenticeships.

Vocational or trade school education is uncommon because drillers receive on-the-job training and apprenticeships.




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A career as an electrician offers great job security and very good top-end wage earning prospects. As buildings require more and more wiring and their components, demand for qualified electricians increases. The field as a whole is predicted to grow 14% over the next decade. And, with some years’ experience, electricians can make up to $40.00 per hour. On average, electricians earn more than $50,000 per year.

  • Average income of an Electrician-$51,880/Hourly Rate-$24.94
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-14%
  • Number of new jobs-85,900

Electricians install electrical wiring as well as maintain repair wiring and other electrical components. This can include power needs for communication, lighting and various control systems in homes, businesses, churches, schools, factories and other buildings.

Basic Responsibilities of Electricians:

  • Plan and install electrical wiring, equipment, or fixtures, according to project specifications within local codes;
  • Connect wires to circuit breakers, transformers, or other components;
  • Test electrical systems or continuity of circuits in electrical wiring, equipment, or fixtures, using testing devices, such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, or oscilloscopes, to ensure compatibility and safety of system;
  • Use a variety of tools or equipment, such as power construction equipment, measuring devices, power tools, and testing equipment, such as oscilloscopes, ammeters, or test lamps;
  • Inspect electrical systems, equipment, or components to identify hazards, defects, or the need for adjustment or repair, and to ensure compliance with codes.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Electricians almost always work full time in a variety of settings and buildings. Their work requires both indoor and outdoor projects. Electricians almost always attend a technical-trade school, and many states require electricians be licensed.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Porter and Chester Institute

Delta Technical College 

Everest Colleges and Universities 



plumber (1)

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Plumbers, though seemingly sunk in a drab, draining and dirty job and often the inspiration of jokes, are in truth extremely important, have great job security and are well paid. An average hourly wage of $26.00 translates into well over $50,000 per year. Existing buildings need repairs, and, with new construction always comes the need for the laying of new pipes. The overall field is predicted to grow at the quick pace of 12% over the next decade.

  • Average income of a Plumber-$50,620/Hourly Rate-$24.34
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-12%
  • Number of new jobs-49,100

Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters are responsible, depending upon their field, for the installation and repair of pipes that convey liquids and/or gas both to and from buildings.

Basic Responsibilities of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters:

  • Cut, thread, or hammer pipes to specifications;
  • Lay out pipe systems, supports, or related equipment, according to blueprints;
  • Assemble or secure pipes, tubes, fittings, or related equipment, according to specifications, by welding, brazing, cementing, soldering, or threading joints;
  • Inspect, examine, or test installed systems or pipe lines, using pressure gauge, hydrostatic testing, observation, or other methods.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters work in every kind of building or structure which contains piping. They often work full time, but hours can be odd. This is because often a plumber is called upon when there is an emergency. Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters are reported to have one of the highest injury and illness rates of any occupation or trade, making this field quite hazardous. Plumbers and the like undergo a great deal of on the job training, and many go to technical-trade school. Most states require plumbers to be licensed.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Stratford Career Institute (Online) 

Everest Colleges and Universities


Commercial Diver


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Commercial Diving is growing at an amazingly fast rate (37%), and within the next ten years 1,600 new jobs are expected to be created. In terms of income, commercial diving is one of the best paying trades on this list (over $50,000 per year). If you like exploration, love the water, and don’t mind working in confined spaces, with a rising demand and excellent pay, commercial diving may be the skilled trade for you.

  • Average income of a Commercial Diver-$50,470/Hourly Rate-$24.26
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-36.9%
  • Number of new jobs-1,600

Commercial Divers work below the surface of water. They use scuba gear to inspect, repair, remove, or install equipment and structures. Commercial divers use a variety of power and hand tools, such as drills, sledgehammers, torches, and welding equipment. They may also conduct tests or experiments, rig explosives, or photograph structures or marine life.

Basic Responsibilities of Commercial Divers:

  • Descend into water with the aid of diver helpers, using scuba gear or diving suits;
  • Obtain information about diving tasks and environmental conditions;
  • Inspect the condition of underwater steel or wood structures;
  • Inspect and test docks, ships, buoyage systems, plant intakes or outflows, or underwater pipelines, cables, or sewers, using closed circuit television, still photography, and testing equipment;
  • Repair ships, bridge foundations, or other structures below the water line, using caulk, bolts, and hand tools;
  • Cut and weld steel, using underwater welding equipment, jigs, and supports;
  • Install, inspect, clean, or repair piping or valves;
  • Perform offshore oil or gas exploration or extraction duties, such as conducting underwater surveys or repairing and maintaining drilling rigs or platforms.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Commercial Divers work in scuba gear in aquatic settings and locations that are not natural to the human being, thus coping with work environment is a key factor in determining whether or not to seek training as a commercial diver. During long periods of underwater activity, divers are required to make continuous use of arms and legs. This places demands upon one’s physical fitness and stamina. Normally a high school diploma, followed by vocational school training in commercial diving, are required for entry level positions.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Divers Academy International: Commercial Diving Training

Divers Institute of Technology: Commercial Diving 

Commercial Diver Academy: Commercial Diver Program 


CNC Machining and Manufacturing


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Manufacturing and machining is pivotal to the smooth running of our economy and society and affects almost every area of life. From the cars we drive, to food service equipment, to commercial transport, to medical technology and building construction and many other fields, the range of import and impact of manufacturing and machining is vast. As computer technology has advanced, this has greatly changed the techniques and technology of manufacturing and machining. More precise, faster and more efficient computers aided and/or guided by methods control modern manufacturing and machining. And, as science and computer technology advances and becomes more universal, the need for qualified tradesmen and women for Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machinists and operators will grow. A trade education in CNC Machining and Manufacturing Technology will open a wide array of high paying careers for which demand should only increase.

Here are some examples of the industries that employ the largest number of CNC Machining and Manufacturing Tradesmen and Women:

  • Machine Shops; Turned Product; and Screw, Nut, and Bolt Manufacturing-$54,200/Hourly Rate-$26.06
  • Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing-$48,980/Hourly Rate-$23.55
  • Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing-$47,250/Hourly Rate-$22.71
  • Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing-$47,280/Hourly Rate-$22.73
  • Architectural and Structural Metals Manufacturing-$54,200/Hourly Rate-$26.06

CNC Machinists produce a wide range of manufactured goods from a variety of raw materials. They work with plastics, wood, metal and many other kinds of materials. As a skilled trade CNC machinists must be good programmers, who can envision the finished product and through CNC technologies, bring their product to fruition.

Basic Responsibilities of CNC Operators:

  • Program and operate CNC machines;
  • Work with a variety of raw materials through such skills as areas of materials, measurement, bench work, milling, CNC Turning and CNC Operator – Turning;
  • Use Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided-Manufacturing (CAM);
  • Read blueprints and precision measurement, and use Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) when calculating tool paths;
  • Use CNC Milling, Set-up and Programming, as well as CAM Mill Design and Tool path.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.
Entry level CNC tradesmen and women normally receive formal, technical training in CNC programming and operation. CNC tradesmen and women work in automotive, aviation, military, aerospace and many other facilities employing highly technical manufacturing methods.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Lincoln Tech: CNC Machining and Manufacturing Technology 


Pile-Driver Operator


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The need for skilled Pile Driver Operators is rapidly growing. Increased demand and excellent wages make pile driver operation a very desirable career path, combining good job prospects with the likelihood of steady employment. The average salary of pile driver operators nationwide is just over $49,000 per year. And, with its rapid expansion, over the next ten years 6,000 new pile driver operator jobs are predicted.

  • Average income of a Pile Driver Operator-$49,430/Hourly Rate-$23.77
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-16.6%
  • Number of new jobs-6,000

Professional Pile Driver Operators run pile driving machines. Such machines are mounted in various ways in a variety of settings and locations. Pile drivers can be mounted on skids, barges, crawler treads, or locomotive cranes. Pile drivers are used to drive pilings for retaining walls, bulkheads, and foundations of structures, such as buildings, bridges, and piers.

Basic Responsibilities of Pile Driver Operators:

  • Move hand and foot levers of hoisting equipment to position piling leads, hoist piling into leads, and position hammers over pilings;
  • Conduct pre-operational checks on equipment to ensure proper functioning;
  • Drive pilings to provide support for buildings or other structures, using heavy equipment with a pile driver head;
  • Move levers and turn valves to activate power hammers, or to raise and lower drophammers that drive piles to required depths;
  • Clean, lubricate, and refill equipment.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Pile Driver Operators work on site in all sorts of weather and conditions both on land and on water. Pile driver operators undergo a four year apprenticeship through local apprenticeship programs. Pile drivers are part of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and this union administers such pile driver apprenticeships. A high school diploma or equivalent is needed to enroll in an apprenticeship as well as a certain number of on the job hours as an apprentice in order to work as a professional pile driver operator.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

United Brotherhood of Carpenters: Pile Drivers Craft 


Industrial Machinery Mechanics


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Skilled tradesmen and women trained in Industrial Machinery Mechanics are likely to have little trouble finding steady, well-paying work. Those trained in this field usually work as machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers and millwrights. The entire field is predicted to have added over 73,000 new jobs by 2024. This translates into a massive 16% rate of growth. Industrial machinery mechanics are well paid as well, earning on average almost $49,000 per year.

  • Average income of an Industrial Machinery Mechanic-$48,410 /Hourly Rate-$23.28
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-16%
  • Number of new jobs-73,400

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers maintain and repair industrial equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, remove and move industrial equipment.

Basic Responsibilities of Industrial Machinery Mechanics:


  • Repair or maintain the operating condition of industrial production or processing machinery or equipment;
  • Repair or replace broken or malfunctioning components of machinery or equipment;
  • Disassemble machinery or equipment to remove parts and make repairs;
  • Observe and test the operation of machinery or equipment to diagnose malfunctions, using voltmeters or other testing devices.


  • Replace defective parts of machine or adjust clearances and alignment of moving parts;
  • Dismantle machines, using hammers, wrenches, crowbars, and other hand tools;
  • Assemble machines, and bolt, weld, rivet, or otherwise fasten them to foundation or other structures, using hand tools and power tools;
  • Conduct preventative maintenance and repair, and lubricate machines and equipment;
  • Weld, repair, and fabricate equipment or machinery;
  • Troubleshoot equipment, electrical components, hydraulics, or other mechanical systems.

For more information on the duties of this career see link and link.

Industrial Machinery Mechanics work in factories, mills and the like. Their occupation can be quite hazardous. Strong emphasis is placed upon safety equipment and protocol. Most industrial machinery mechanics work full-time, and overtime is common. A high school diploma is a standard prerequisite in the field. Machinery mechanics normally have a year of vocational training. Millwrights normally undertake a four-year apprenticeship program.

More information about education in this trade can be found through local Community College websites.


Heavy Equipment Mechanic


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Skilled Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics are needed in every field where heavy equipment is used. This includes construction, farming, rail, industry and many other areas. Although only predicted to grow at a 5% rate over the next decade, heavy equipment mechanics make very good money ($47,000 per year). Since heavy equipment seems to be a fixture, mechanics skilled in the trade of heavy equipment repair will always be in demand.

  • Average income of a Heavy Equipment Mechanic-$47,120/Hourly Rate-$22.65
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-5%
  • Number of new jobs-10,100

Heavy equipment mechanics are responsible for the inspection, repair and servicing of heavy machinery used in transport, farming, construction, mills, rail and the like.

Basic Responsibilities of Heavy Equipment Mechanics:

  • Repair and replace damaged or worn parts;
  • Clean, lubricate, and perform other routine maintenance work on equipment and vehicles;
  • Adjust, maintain, and repair or replace subassemblies, such as transmissions and crawler heads, using hand tools, jacks, and cranes;
  • Weld or solder broken parts and structural members, using electric or gas welders and soldering tools;
  • Assemble gear systems, and align frames and gears;
  • Fabricate needed parts or items from sheet metal.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Heavy Equipment Mechanics usually work in shops. Noise can become a harmful factor, and mechanics are required to deal with objects covered in grease. Factors of this job that necessitate physical demands include the need to maintain uncomfortable positions for extended periods as well as handle heavy items and apply physical force in, for example, breaking bolts free. A high school education is needed. And, with advancing technology and increased computerization, employers are seeking candidates with vocational school training and/or certification.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Lincoln Tech: Heavy Equipment Mechanic Training 

Universal Technical Institute: Diesel Technology and Industrial 


Solar Energy Technology


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Tradesmen and women educated in solar energy technology can seek “green” careers in solar energy technology installation and construction, operations or repair. Precise statistical data is not yet available because the field is still quite young. However, experts predict that demand and number of jobs will rapidly increase in the coming decade and beyond as infrastructures more and more integrate the harnessing and use of solar energy. Based on analogous jobs in other fields salary can vary widely. However, annual pay is quite high across the board.

Examples of skilled trades employed in the field of or related to Solar Energy Technology:

  • Those working as welders or glaziers can expect to make around $40,000 per year
  • Operators can expect about $43,000 per year
  • Electrical repairers can look to earn around $47,000 per year
  • Powerplant operators earn upwards of $67,000 per year

The solar power industry employs a wide range of occupations. Skilled trade positions include construction of solar power plants, operation of solar power plants, and solar power installation and maintenance. Normally, for these skilled positions workers attend training programs as well as undergo a good deal of on-the-job training.

Those employed in Solar Energy will have responsibilities and duties corresponding to a particular field and will roughly correspond to similar occupation in other fields. What will be distinct is the manner in which the solar energy focus is integrated into and affects how these skilled trades are carried out.

For more information on the many possible careers related to solar energy technology see link.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Ecotech Institute: Solar Energy Technology (1st 2 Semesters Online)


Energy Management-Auditing


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Energy management and auditing is a fast-growing “green occupation” that offers a wide variety of careers and income opportunities. According to Payscale.com, the annual income for certified energy auditors is almost $45,000, and energy managers can make on average $74,000 dollars per year. This offers great prospects for earning a high wage without needing to invest the time and money in a four year college or university education.

  • Average income Energy Manager-$74,000/Hourly Rate-$35.88
  • Average income Energy Auditor-$45,000/Hourly Rate-$22.00

Because the field is somewhat new, especially in its emphasis upon energy conservation and environmental concern, accurate statistics about the field’s rate of growth are not yet available. As federal, state and local governments, however, seek ways to improve and preserve resources and cut costs, residential energy management will be a lively and lucrative area of employment.

Energy Management, in the forms of energy manager or auditor, help lower energy and environmental costs by analyzing buildings to determine if there are ways in which the current condition of the building can be improved and result in more efficient and thus lower energy consumption and cost.

Energy managers normally work in an office setting and direct the overall energy use infrastructure of a given site or group of sites. Energy auditors work in the field making inspections to determine wasteful or inefficient energy use practices and recommend improvements.

Basic Responsibilities of Energy Managers/Auditors:

  • Prepare reports and communicate performance to upper management;
  • Develop and implement energy conservation initiatives aimed at reducing overall utility costs;
  • Develop and manage comprehensive energy budgets;
  • Ensure that energy management operations are in line with the overall goals of the company;
  • Develop environmental stewardship plans and implement “green” initiatives within the company to reduce negative environmental impact.

Energy Auditing:

  • Survey mechanical, energy management, and electrical systems, lighting, water and building of sites;
  • Evaluate and interpret energy data;
  • Assist in identifying energy efficiency projects, their estimated cost, estimated energy savings, and estimated return on investment for clients;
  • Conduct energy audits in conformance with recognized industry standards;
  • Prepare schematic design documents and specifications including scopes of work.

For more information on this career see downloadable PDF link.
There are no universal standardized requirements for entry into the field of energy management. However, employers will often require formal training and certification. Trade schools offer programs in energy management. Unfortunately, as with many trades, hands on experience is needed and online educational opportunities are limited. However, online energy management certification instruction and preparation is available.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

AEE Realtime Online Seminar



Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning


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The temperature and air quality in a home, school, church, gym, or business directly affects the comfort and health of those whose lives require them to live, work and recreate in these buildings. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning technicians specialize in seeing that health and comfort standards are reached and maintained in buildings. The field is rapidly growing (14% by 2024), and in the next decade there will be close to 40,000 new jobs created in the industry. Earning on average over $20.00 per hour, heating, ventilation and air conditioning offers a very good salary.

  • Average income of a Heating, Ventilation and Cooling Technician-$45,110/Hourly Rate-$21.69
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-14%
  • Number of new jobs-39,600

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technicians, often abbreviated HVAC technicians, install, service and maintain heating, cooling and air quality systems, instruments and machines.

Basic Responsibilities of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technicians:

  • Test pipe or tubing joints or connections for leaks, using pressure gauge or soap-and-water solution;
  • Test electrical circuits or components for continuity;
  • Repair or replace defective equipment, components, or wiring;
  • Discuss heating or cooling system malfunctions with users to isolate problems or to verify that repairs corrected malfunctions;
  • Repair or service heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to improve efficiency, such as by changing filters, cleaning ducts, or refilling non-toxic refrigerants.

See our Online Schools for HVACR Tech Programs, as well as, our FAQs on the subject:

What does a career as a HVAC-R Technician entail?

What kind of education is required to be a HVAC-R Technician?

What kind of career and salary can I expect with an online certificate in HVAC-R repair?

Should I work an apprenticeship while becoming a HVAC-R Technician?

What types of certifications are needed to work in HVAC?

HVAC technicians work in a wide variety of buildings, including homes, schools, hospitals, offices and factories. Depending upon the needs of their clients, HVAC technicians will work indoors and outdoors, sometimes in either extremely high or low temperatures. Cramped, tight and otherwise uncomfortable work spaces are common because HVAC technicians are called on to address problems located in sections of buildings that have low accessibility.

HVAC systems have become and are continuing to become more complex. This means that employers must hire candidates with requisite training and skills, or take on the burden of training employees on the job. A fair bit of on-the-job training is part and parcel of HVAC work in any case, so employees often look most closely at candidates with some college and/or those having completed an apprenticeship. Some places also require HVAC technicians be licensed.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Lincoln Tech 

Porter and Chester Institute 

All-State Career School


Diesel Technology


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Diesel engines are integral to much commercial and passenger transport in our economy and society. Because we’re so dependent upon diesel engines and technology, malfunctions must be addressed quickly and skillfully. Tradesmen and women with training and expertise in diesel repair and servicing are in high demand and likely to remain in high demand. A career in diesel technology promises a very stable and steady job market as well as good pay.

  • Average income of a Diesel Repairer/Servicer-$44,520/Hourly Rate-$21.40
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-12%
  • Number of new jobs-31,600

Diesel servicers and mechanics repair, service and overhaul diesel engines for commercial trucks, buses and any other diesel engines.

Basic Responsibilities of Diesel Repairer/Servicer:

  • Inspect brake systems, steering mechanisms, transmissions, engines, and other parts of vehicles;
  • Follow checklists to ensure that all critical parts are examined;
  • Read and interpret diagnostic test results to identify mechanical problems;
  • Repair or replace malfunctioning components, parts, and other mechanical or electrical equipment;
  • Perform basic care and maintenance, including changing oil, checking fluid levels, and rotating tires;
  • Test-drive vehicles to ensure that they run smoothly.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Those working in diesel repair and services tend to work in shops as well as answer roadside service calls. Like other fields in engine repair and servicing, injury is always a risk, especially minor injuries like cuts, bruises, abrasions and scratches. Tradesmen and women in this field must be able to meet sometimes high physical demands in terms of both strength and stamina. Often diesel repairers and servicers are required to maintain uncomfortable positions for an extended period as well as exert a good amount of physical force. Often employers seek, in addition to a high school diploma, additional technical training in diesel mechanics and technology. Additional certification is often sought in addition to technical training. Finally, diesel repair personnel possess a commercial driver’s license that permits them to test drive the vehicle they are working on.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Lincoln Tech: Diesel Technology 

Universal Technical Institute: Diesel Technology and Industrial 


Construction Equipment Operator


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Construction equipment operators are key players in virtually every field of modern society. They operate the heavy equipment that is used in road construction, bridges and virtually every other kind of structure. Because construction equipment operators are so pivotal and necessary, skilled operators are always in demand. And, with the diversity of equipment and many different kinds of construction projects, finding work in this field is very likely. Operators make good money ($49,000 per year). The field is growing at a rate faster than the average of all occupations, and by 2024 forty thousand new jobs will be created.

  • Average income of a Construction Equipment Operator-$43,810/Hourly Rate-$21.06
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-12%
  • Number of new jobs-31,600

Construction equipment operators control the heavy machinery used for making and repairing roads, building new structures as well as projects such as bridges.

Basic Responsibilities of Construction Equipment Operators:

  • Clean and maintain equipment, making basic repairs as necessary;
  • Report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors;
  • Move levers, push pedals, or turn valves to control equipment;
  • Drive and maneuver equipment;
  • Coordinate machine actions with crew members using hand or audio signals.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Construction equipment operators work in all types of weather. Construction equipment operating can be a dirty job because operators are required to work in wet and muddy conditions as well as handle greasy and dirty objects. Construction equipment operators possess a high school diploma as well as undergo additional training. This includes on-the-job instruction and vocational training at a trade school or through an apprenticeship.

For more information on this trade degree program see:

Heavy Construction Academy: Heavy Equipment Training 




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Carpenters build or fix wooden structures that are used in virtually every area of life. At times carpentry transcends the merely functional and approaches genuine artistry, in production of furniture, buildings and many other items of great originality and beauty. Carpenters have a vital place in the modern life whether this comes in new construction, frameworks, foundation forms or repair of existing wooden structures. Carpentry is expected to grow 6% over the next decade. Carpenters earn on average a very respectable $20 per hour, which translates into over $40,000 per year.

  • Average income of a Carpenter-$42,090 per year/Hourly Rate-$20.24
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-6%
  • Number of new jobs-60,400

Carpenters build or repair wooden structures. They may also install cabinets, siding and drywall.

Basic Responsibilities of Carpenters:

Construction Carpentry:

  • Study specifications in blueprints, sketches, or building plans to prepare project layout and determine dimensions and materials required;
  • Measure and mark cutting lines on materials, using a ruler, pencil, chalk, and marking gauge;
  • Shape or cut materials to specified measurements, using hand tools, machines, or power saws;
  • Install structures or fixtures, such as windows, frames, flooring, trim, or hardware, using carpenters’ hand or power tools.

Rough Carpentry:

  • Measure materials or distances, using square, measuring tape, or rule to lay out work;
  • Study blueprints and diagrams to determine dimensions of structure or form to be constructed;
  • Cut or saw boards, timbers, or plywood to required size, using handsaw, power saw, or woodworking machine;
  • Anchor and brace forms and other structures in place, using nails, bolts, anchor rods, steel cables, planks, wedges, and timbers.

See our Online Schools for Carpentry Programs, as well as, our popular FAQS regarding the career:

How do I become a carpenter?

What does a career in carpentry entail?

Should I work an apprenticeship while learning the Carpentry trade?

What kind of salary can I expect in the field of Carpentry?

What areas of specialization might I consider in the field of Carpentry?

Carpenters work in many areas and kinds of construction. This means that work will carry them to many places and work conditions. Work can be indoors or outdoors and in a variety of climate conditions. Carpentry is often strenuous, and carpenters report injuries at a rate higher than the national average. Carpenters often have a high school diploma. They learn their trade very often through some form of an apprenticeship. In other situations young carpenters receive their training on the job.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Everest Institute: Carpentry 


Advanced Tractor Trailer Driving


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Everyone has seen trucks on the road and most understand the key role trucking and professional truck drivers play in the transport of goods and supplies that are so important for our economy and society. Because ground tractor trailer transport is so important, truck driving is a very large field, employing almost two million people. The field is seeing a steady, if only average rate of growth, and by 2014 almost 100,000 new trucking jobs are predicted. Truckers make about $40,000 per year on average.

  • Average income of an Advanced Tractor Trailer Driver-$40,260 /Hourly Rate-$19.36
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-5%
  • Number of new jobs-98,900

Truck drivers transport goods. Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity, which is the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo, that exceeds 26,000 pounds. These drivers make deliveries across state lines, between cities and other distances beyond local delivery.

Basic Responsibilities of Tractor Trailer Drivers:

  • Check vehicles to ensure that mechanical, safety, and emergency equipment is in good working order;
  • Inspect loads to ensure that cargo is secure;
  • Maneuver trucks into loading or unloading positions, following signals from loading crew and checking that vehicle and loading equipment are properly positioned;
  • Perform basic vehicle maintenance tasks, such as adding oil, fuel, or radiator fluid or performing minor repairs;
  • Load or unload trucks or help others with loading or unloading, using special loading-related equipment or other equipment as necessary.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Long-haul drivers spend a great deal of their time on the road. Because of the distances they travel, truck drivers are often away from home for long stretches of time. Thus, a career as a professional driver has a powerful effect on one’s lifestyle. Heavy tractor trailer truck drivers normally possess a high school diploma and have successfully completed professional trucking school. Professional drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Fortis Institute: CDL training 

New England Tractor Trailer School: CDL training 


Auto Body Repair


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Driving on a good road system is a great privilege and benefit, and, like with most good things, driving brings risks. Car collision is one of the great risks that driving brings. When car accidents are not so serious as to damage a vehicle beyond repair, auto repair experts come to the rescue. Because of the near universal presence of vehicles on the road, coupled with human error, accidents will be a baneful side effect of driving. This means that persons skilled in auto body repair will always be needed and likely remain in high demand. A career in auto body repair promises steady work with a good income. Moreover, the field is growing at a rate faster than the average for all occupations.

  • Average income of an Auto Body Repairer-$39,880/Hourly Rate-$19.17
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-9%
  • Number of new jobs-15,300

Auto body repairers replace and/or repair auto body parts and frames as well as restore and refinish damaged sections of cars.

Basic Responsibilities of Auto Body Repairer:

  • Review damage reports, prepare cost estimates, and plan work;
  • Inspect cars for structural damage;
  • Remove damaged body parts, including bumpers, fenders, hoods, grilles, and trim;
  • Realign car frames and chassis to repair structural damage;
  • Hammer out or patch dents, dimples, and other minor body damage;
  • Fit, attach, and weld replacement parts into place;
  • Sand, buff, and prime refurbished and repaired surfaces;
  • Apply new finish to restored body parts.

See our Online Schools for Auto Body Repair Technician, as well as, our popular FAQs regarding the career:

What qualities do I need as an Auto Repair Technician?

What kind of education is required to be an Auto Repair Technician?

What kind of career and salary can I expect with an online certificate in Auto Repair?

What areas of specialization can I focus on in Auto Repair?

What sort of certification do I need to be an Auto Repair Technician?

Those in the auto body repair trade normally have a high school diploma as well as additional training in a technical school. Certification is also often pursued. Although neither technical training nor certification is necessary, additional education makes the candidate more desirable and usually results in higher wages. Most auto body repairers work in shops that are well ventilated and well lit. Auto body repair can be strenuous, requiring one to be in awkward and uncomfortable positions, as well as making demands upon physical strength and dexterity. One downside to auto body repair is that the field reports high numbers of injuries such as cuts, abrasions, burns and the like.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Lincoln Tech: Collision Repair and Refinishing

Universal Technical Institute: Collision Repair and Refinish 




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Stone and Brick Masons span the divide between construction and art. Skilled masons are in high demand because of, in part, population growth and the increasing need for their skills in new construction. On average, masons earn almost $40,000 per year, which translates into $19.00 per hour. The field of masonry as a whole–including brick and block, stone, concrete, terrazzo workers and finishers–is growing at a much faster rate than average across all occupations (15%). This suggests that training in masonry would provide good opportunity for a well-paying and steady career.

  • Average income of a Mason-$39,640/Hourly Rate-$19.06
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-15%
  • Number of new jobs-37,300

Masons use bricks, stone, concrete and other natural and man-made materials to build a wide variety of structures. These include roads, walkways, buildings, walls, fences, ornamental structures, fire pits, arches and similar constructions.

Basic Responsibilities of Masons:

  • Lay out patterns, forms, or foundations according to plans;
  • Break or cut materials to required size;
  • Mix mortar or grout and spread it onto a slab or foundation;
  • Clean excess mortar with trowels and other hand tools;
  • Construct corners with a corner pole or by building a corner pyramid;
  • Align structure vertically and horizontally;
  • Clean and polish surfaces with hand or power tools;
  • Fill expansion joints with the appropriate caulking materials.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Masons work full-time onsite, and most work is outdoors. Poor weather, especially rain, may hamper work, because moisture can interfere with the laying and mortaring of materials. Masonry is a very physically demanding job. Heavy materials are used and must be carried and positioned. A great deal of standing and kneeling are required as well, that tests physical strength and stamina. Masons usually possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and undergo a 1-2 year apprenticeship. Many technical schools offer 1-2 year masonry programs as well.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

International Masonry Institute 


Professional Locksmith


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If anyone has need for locks, he or she will likely have need for a locksmith–either for key duplication, replacing a lost or broken key, or opening a locked door–at some point in their lives. Locksmiths, therefore, are key to opening many doors. Professional Locksmiths earn a respectable wage ($39,160) and the field is expected to grow by almost 11,000 new jobs by 2024. Unfortunately, these new jobs do not result from an overall growth in the field. Locksmithing is predicted to decline a staggering 15% over the next decade.

  • Average income of a Locksmith-$39,160/Hourly Rate-$27.57
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-(-8% decline)
  • Number of new jobs-8,100 (total growth of inspectors across all fields)

Basic Responsibilities of Locksmiths:

  • Locksmiths repair and open locks; make keys; change locks and safe combinations; and install and repair safes;
  • Cut new or duplicate keys, using keycutting machines;
  • Cut new or duplicate keys using impressions or code key machines;
  • Insert new or repaired tumblers into locks to change combinations;
  • Install door hardware such as locks and closers;
  • Open safe locks by drilling;
  • Move picklocks in cylinders to open door locks without keys;
  • Unlock cars and other vehicles.

See our Online Schools for Locksmithing Diplomas, as well as, our most popular FAQs on the career:

Is a career as a Locksmith for me?

How can I earn a degree online for locksmithing?

What kind of a career and salary can I have in Locksmithing?

What will I learn in an online certificate program for Locksmithing?

How do I start my own business as a Locksmith?

Locksmiths often work out of a shop, containing locksmithing equipment and supplies, such as keycutting machines and tools and blank keys. They are also employed by security firms. Locksmiths also work on site, repairing locks, opening doors and installing security systems. Most locksmiths have a high school diploma as well as vocation school training, or have progressed through an apprenticeship. Most states require locksmiths have certification.



Marine Mechanic Training


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Motorboat mechanics and technicians are a highly specialized group. Their work focuses upon marine vehicles, making demand for skilled professionals less than many other skilled trades. However, so long as there are large bodies of water and commercial and private boat use, there will remain a basic need for trained mechanics and technicians. So, if you love boats and the waters, you might take to training in Marine Mechanics like a duck to water. Motorboat mechanics and technicians earn on average around $38,000 per year. Although the field is currently experiencing decline, this is expected to turn around, and, by 2018, 6,500 news jobs are expected.

  • Average income of a Marine Mechanic-$38,280 /Hourly Rate-$18.41
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-(-4%, but expected to grow by 4% by 2018)
  • Number of new jobs-6,540

Motor mechanics and technicians repair and adjust mechanical and electrical equipment on either inboard or inboard-out-board engines.

Basic Responsibilities of Motorboat Mechanics and Technicians:

  • Start motors and monitor performance for signs of malfunctioning, such as smoke, excessive vibration, or misfiring;
  • Mount motors to boats and operate boats at various speeds on waterways to conduct operational tests;
  • Repair engine mechanical equipment;
  • Replace parts, such as gears, magneto points, piston rings, or spark plugs, and reassemble engines;
  • Disassemble and inspect motors to locate defective parts, using mechanic’s hand tools and gauges;
  • Repair or rework parts, using machine tools such as lathes, mills, drills, or grinders.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Motorboat mechanics and technicians often work onsite in and around water. Weather and conditions will vary according to location and season. Proximity to large bodies of water is a condition of much marine mechanical work, and this will affect lifestyle. A high school diploma is needed. The majority of motorboat mechanics and technicians have additional vocational training and certification.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Marine Mechanics Institute: Marine Technician Training Program

Wyotech: Marine Specialist Program 




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Welding is an important trade for industry and construction. Although welding is not seeing the rate of growth of other trades, experts still predict that over 14,000 new jobs will be created by 2024. Welders earn on average a respectable $18.00 dollars per hour, and at the top end, welders can make over $29.00 per hour. On average welders earn just over $38,000 per year.

  • Average income of a Welder-$38,150/Hourly Rate-$18.34
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-4%
  • Number of new jobs-14,400

Welders, often with heat, use tools, either hand held or remote, to permanently join or cut metal parts. They also repair and fill holes, seams and indentations in metal.

Basic Responsibilities of Welders:

  • Study specifications and calculate dimensions to be welded;
  • Inspect structures or materials to be welded;
  • Ignite torches or start power supplies;
  • Monitor the welding process to avoid overheating.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Welders work in many and varied settings in industry and construction. This means that the kind of work and the equipment welders use will vary according to the job. Arc welding is currently the common form of welding. This form of welding uses electricity to produce heat that then bonds metals together. However, there are over 100 different ways and processes for bonding metals through welding, and the process used will be determined by the types of metals used. Welders work in virtually every climate situation, both indoors and out of doors and sometimes in confined areas. Normally, a high school diploma is expected as well as some on the job training.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Delta Technical College: Journeyman Welder 

Fortis College: Welding Technology 

Divers Academy International: Underwater Welding Certifications


Wind Energy Technology


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Wind energy technology, like solar energy technology, is a fairly new field of energy production. Although rapidly expanding and developing, concrete and scientific data on rate of growth and salaries and wages is not yet, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, available. However, demand and number of jobs are both predicted to grow rapidly in the coming years. Those possessing trade skills in an area related to solar energy can expect very competitive wages, growing demand for their skills and a high likelihood of job security.

Examples of skilled trades employed in the field of or related to Wind Energy Technology:

  • Engineering technicians can expect to make $50,000 per year
  • Machinists make around $41,000 per year
  • Computer-controlled machine tool operators will earn around $35,000 per year
  • Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers will earn around $36,000 per year
  • Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers can make upwards of $38,000 per year
  • Operators can expect about $43,000 per year
  • Electrical repairers can look to earn around $47,000 per year

The wind power industry employs a wide range of occupations. Skilled trade positions in wind energy have three basic phases: manufacturing, project development and operation and maintenance. Normally, for skilled positions in any of these general areas, workers attend training programs as well as undergo a good deal of on-the-job training.

Those employed in Wind Energy will have responsibilities and duties corresponding to a particular field and will roughly correspond to analogous occupation in other fields. What will be distinct is the manner in which the wind energy focus is integrated into and affects how these skilled trades are carried out.

For more information on the many possible careers related to solar energy technology see link.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Ecotech Institute: Wind Energy Technology (1st 2 Semesters Online) 


Automotive Technology


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Automotive technicians help keep America moving. With the high and growing number of cars and light trucks on American roadways, trained automotive technicians will remain in demand. A 5% expansion is expected over the next decade, which translates into the creation of roughly 39,000 new jobs. Automotive technicians on average earn over $18.00 per hour, making automotive technology a profitable trade to master.

  • Average income of an Automotive Technician-$37,850/Hourly Rate-$18.20
  • Expected growth over the next ten years-5%
  • Number of new jobs-39,100

Those trained in automotive technology often work in auto servicing or as mechanics. They service and/or repair cars and light trucks and/or pickups.

Basic Responsibilities of Automotive Technicians:

Master Mechanics

  • Test drive vehicles and test components and systems, using equipment such as infrared engine analyzers, compression gauges, and computerized diagnostic devices;
  • Examine vehicles to determine extent of damage or malfunctions;
  • Repair, reline, replace, and adjust brakes;
  • Follow checklists to ensure all important parts are examined, including belts, hoses, steering systems, spark plugs, brake and fuel systems, wheel bearings, and other potentially troublesome areas;
  • Perform routine and scheduled maintenance services, such as oil changes, lubrications, and tune-ups;
  • Repair and service air conditioning, heating, engine cooling, and electrical systems;
  • Disassemble units and inspect parts for wear, using micrometers, calipers, and gauges;
  • Repair or replace parts such as pistons, rods, gears, valves, and bearings;
  • Rewire ignition systems, lights, and instrument panels.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Automotive Technicians

  • Inspect vehicles for damage and record findings so that necessary repairs can be made. Test electronic computer components in automobiles to ensure proper operation;
  • Tune automobile engines to ensure proper and efficient functioning;
  • Repair, replace, or adjust defective fuel injectors, carburetor parts, and gasoline filters;
  • Rebuild, repair, or test automotive fuel injection units;
  • Change spark plugs, fuel filters, air filters, and batteries in hybrid electric vehicles.

For more information on the duties of this career see link.

Automotive technicians service and/or repair vehicles in garages that open, have good ventilation and are well lit. Although technicians, in many cases, use computer equipment in their work, they have to handle parts covered in grime and grease and often get into uncomfortable positions in the course of their work. Employers usually expect potential employees in automotive technology to have some post-secondary education and training. Education normally comes in a trade school. Industry certification is also often required.

For more information on trade degree programs see:

Universal Technical Institute: Automotive Technology

Lincoln Tech: Automotive Technology