Highest Paying Jobs in the Trades That Don’t Require a Four-Year Degree

If you were anything like most kids during their adolescent years, you probably said you wanted to be a fireman, police officer, doctor, or princess, when the teacher asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. Kids tend to say those particular career paths because they’re what’s considered as prestigious careers. But as kids grow older, they start to develop their own opinion and idea of what they want to do with their adult life through their own personal experiences.

After a student graduates high school, the expectation is that they go to a four-year college or go to the military… But what if that student is uninterested in either of those career choices? Does that mean that they won’t have a successful career or forever work a dead-end job?

Absolutely not. True enough, “college isn’t for everyone,” but that doesn’t mean that a person can’t learn or find interest in something that goes against the traditional college curriculum… That reason alone is why so many people have found an interest in trade schools.

Jobs in trades require training or education that’s beyond high school level but also don’t require a bachelor’s degree. But the best part of a trade school is that you get hands-on experience while in school so that when you complete your training, you’ll have all the beneficial training and experience needed to get any job in your trade.

Ironically enough, there are several trade jobs that actually pay more than jobs that require a four-year degree! Did you know that only 27% of college graduates work in jobs related to their field of study from college? That’s student loan debt that the majority of Americans didn’t even have to acquire… That being said, obtaining a career in the trades is looking a lot more feasible and attractive now, right?

If you’re interested in learning more about careers in trades, here are some of the most lucrative careers that will definitely give you the biggest bang for your investment.

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Highest Paying Jobs in the Trades


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When the teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up, it’s a pretty safe bet that there’s wasn’t one kind that hollered out “I want to be a plumber!” And that’s okay because plumbers are one of the highest-paid trade workers out there.

Despite TV and media portraying plumbers as overweight guys with their “backside crack” showing, most plumbers are actually quite physically fit. But the main thing to take note of is the fact that plumbers bring home around $86,000 to well into the six-figures.

And the best part is that if you wanted to start your own plumbing contracting business, you would just need the proper licensing to get started in your state (no four-year degree). For example, if you lived in Virginia, you would simply need to undergo the proper licensing requirements to run a business there and meet the Virginia contractor’s license requirements & guide. RocketCert will provide you with the necessary tools you’ll need to pass the exam from start to finish.


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As an electrician, you’re stepping way beyond the bounds of changing a light bulb for sure… Get ready for hands-on training in installing, repairing, and maintaining all kinds of electrical components in the residential and commercial sectors. Now, the thing to understand about your journey to becoming an electrician is that it may be a long one, (potentially four years long of training), BUT you will get paid the entire time.

If you really think about it, training to be an electrician for that long is actually quite necessary, especially if you think about the risks and safety hazards involved. As an electrician, you can expect a median income of around over $56,000.

Construction Manager/Specialist

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As a construction manager, you’ll be doing exactly what the title says… managing construction sites. But your responsibilities will include overseeing projects, supervising your construction crew, and ensuring deadlines are met, among other things. But in order to settle into this role, it will require on-the-job experience and training in construction, and it may also require special licensing as well.


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A carpenter earns quite a lot of money without even having a bachelor’s degree. This age-old career isn’t increasing much, but it’s still a reliable way for people to use their hands to make beautiful and useful objects. Carpenters practice by completing a formal or casual apprenticeship with a master of the craft.

Licensed Vocational Nurse

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These practitioners are known as registered practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses, depending on what state. They normally hold a postsecondary degree or credential and are responsible for providing routine medical care.

To help in health care, licensed clinical nurses (LPNs) collaborate with physicians and registered nurses (RNs). They take vital signs, provide medications, and fill out paperwork. LPNs, unlike RNs, do not need a college diploma. To obtain the requisite qualifications, you may enroll in an approved program at a technical college.

Real Estate Agent

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Real estate agents (or brokers) assist customers with the purchase and sale of properties. Real estate is unique in that it is commission-based, meaning you eat what you kill. You can work long hours and put in a lot of opportunities to increase the business, or you can work on a more versatile and portion basis. You would love sales and interacting with clients to be a successful real estate agent.


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When it comes to deciding what to do with their life when they grow up, many children dream of being firefighters. Firefighters, after all, are warriors! Trying to extinguish unhealthy flames saves lives, wildlife, homes, and the atmosphere. Being a firefighter is a competitive process and would almost certainly necessitate becoming an EMT (EMT).

There are many more jobs in the trades that are very lucrative. You just have to determine which one you’re most interested in and which one you think you’d feel most comfortable doing. Once you’ve determined that, you can start working towards building your career in that trade.