5 Trades That Pay as Well as College Degrees

With rising costs of tuition and student loan debt, many people are considering a career in the trades. Many trade careers are in high demand and offer excellent job security. The threat of automation isn't as a rampant in the trades as it is in the services and retail industries.

If you're interested in a career in the trades but still want to earn a great living, here are five trades that pay just as well as college degrees.

1. Power Utility Technician

Power utility technicians may work as:

  • Turbine operators
  • Power plant operators
  • Hydroelectric station operators
  • Systems operators
  • Maintenance technicians
  • Instrument and controls technician

Linesman earn, on average, $69,930 per year, or about $30 per hour. But some positions pay even more. Power plant operators, for example, earn about $70,000 per year.

The field is expected to see growth of 13% over the next decade.

Work as a power utility technician may include:

  • Controlling and managing power-generating equipment
  • Laying down electrical lines
  • Adjusting controls to regulate power
  • Checking equipment to find signs of operating problems
  • Reading meters, charts and gauges to monitor electricity flow
  • Starting and stopping turbines, generators and other equipment

2. Brickmasons

A career as a brickmason only requires a high school diploma, but workers earn about $50,000 a year.

As the job title suggests, brickmasons are responsible for laying and binding building materials, such as tile, brick, cinder block, concrete block, terra-cotta block and glass block. They must also know how to read blueprints and drawings in order to calculate material requirements for the structure.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to see job growth of 34% between 2012 and 2022.

3. Plumbing and Sewer Careers

A career in the plumbing and/or sewer industry will provide job security and an excellent salary. These skilled technicians are always in demand.

A licensed, experienced plumber can earn $70,000 or more, depending on location. A technician who specializes in sewer line repair or utilities installation may earn $40,000 or more.

A career in this field can be a messy one, but it can also be rewarding. Our plumbing and sewer systems play vital roles in our daily lives.

4. Railroad Operators

Trains are still a vital form of transportation both for commuters and for cargo transporting. Railroad operators operate track switches, ensuring that trains get to their desired destination.

They may couple or uncouple rolling stock to break or make up trains. They may also inspect the trains vital components to ensure that everything is working properly.

According to Glass Door, train operators earn, on average, $64,760 per year. The starting salary is still impressive – around $56,000.

5. Earth Drillers and Explosive Workers

Explosive and earth driller workers use explosives to demolish structures and loosen or displace earth and rock. They operate a wide range of drills, including churn, rotary and pneumatic. These drills help workers obtain salt deposits and sub-surface water for core samples during soil testing and mineral exploration.

On average, these workers earn about $52,000 a year.

Filed under: Entrepeneur

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