Highest paying trade jobs in 2024

What trades are making the most money?

Trade jobs are in various industries—construction, manufacturing, transportation, maintenance, as well as lesser-known careers, such as medical, cosmetic, and technical trades. With that variety comes different pay levels for each job. Salaries can vary depending on specific skills or craft, along with other factors like location, demand, and experience. Several trade jobs are also union jobs, where workers are represented by a labor union with fair benefits and working conditions. This can make for some of the highest-paying jobs.

Looking into trades? Here are the highest paying trade jobs out there today and what you can expect.

Highest paying trades of 2024

1. Construction manager

A construction manager supervises construction projects from planning to coordinating and budgeting.

Minimum education required: Bachelor’s degree

Median salaryfootnote 1: $101,480

2. Elevator and escalator installer and repairer

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers install, maintain, and repair elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.

Minimum education required: High school diploma or equivalent

Median salaryfootnote 1: $99,000 

3. Dental hygienist

A dental hygienist examines patients for signs of oral diseases and provides preventive care, like oral hygiene.

Minimum education required: Associate’s degree

Median salaryfootnote 1: $81,400 

4. Sonographer

A sonographer uses imaging equipment and soundwaves to produce images of the body, known as ultrasounds.

Minimum education required: Associate’s degree

Median salaryfootnote 1: $78,210 

5. Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanic and technician

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform regular maintenance on aircrafts.

Minimum education required: Postsecondary nondegree award or Associate’s degree

Median salaryfootnote 1: $70,740 

6. Respiratory therapist

A respiratory therapist works under the direction of a doctor to treat patients with trouble breathing by giving them oxygen, managing ventilators, and administering drugs to the lungs.

Minimum education required: Associate’s degree

Median salaryfootnote 1: $70,540 

7. Property appraisers and assessors

Property appraisers and assessors estimate real estate value on personal and business properties.

Education required: Bachelor’s degree (or Associate’s degree depending on location)

Median salaryfootnote 1: $61,560

8. Electrician 

An electrician installs, maintains, and repairs electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems.

Education required: High school diploma or equivalent

Median salaryfootnote 1: $60,240

9. Wind turbine technician

A wind turbine technician maintains and repairs wind turbines.

Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Median salaryfootnote 1: $57,320 

10. Licensed practical nurse

A licensed practical nurse provides basic medical care to patients.

Education required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Median salaryfootnote 1: $54,620 

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Keep up with the market

Salaries vary with geographic location, experience, demand, and skill. Job demand can also be impacted by economic factors and technological advances. So, before you make any career decision—make sure to stay updated through current job market data and industry reports.

footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances.

footnote External links and third-party references are provided for informational purposes only. Sallie Mae cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by any third parties and assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions contained therein. Any copyrights, trademarks, and/or service marks used in these materials are the property of their respective owners.

footnote Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae logo, and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank. All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners. 

footnote 1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

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