Have you ever wondered what exciting and lucrative jobs are available to people who don’t want to enroll in traditional colleges? Get into business school trades.
Trade schools provide an alternative route to high-skilled jobs characterized by high demand and job security. For many people, they are a path to a truly rewarding career with a prize that won’t break the bank.
Read our guide to the best trade school jobs and what you can expect in terms of pay, training and career prospects.
10 Best Trade School Jobs in 2022: Our Picks
To select the best trade school jobs for 2022, we kept four main criteria in mind:
- Appeal/applicability to students interested in technology, science, and math
- Appeal/applicability to students with strong critical thinking/analytical skills
- Earnings above average compared to other jobs that do not require a conventional college degree
- Short time (less than two years) between education/training and employment
The following list represents some of the most financially rewarding and rewarding career paths available to trade school graduates.
IT support specialist
Median salary: $57,910
Computer support specialists install, maintain and repair organizations’ computer systems. You can find these technicians employed most often in computer systems design services, telecommunications, and finance.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 9% growth in the employment of IT support specialists from 2020 to 2030.
You usually don’t need more than a two-year associate’s degree in computer science or information technology to work as an IT support specialist.
Other technicians start their careers with a trade school certificate or an information technology certification, such as the CompTIA A+ certification for computer work. Certificates and certifications typically take 6-12 months to earn.
Diagnostic medical sonographer
Median salary: $75,380
Diagnostic medical sonographers use medical imaging equipment to create images of internal organs and tissues. These images help doctors diagnose medical conditions and create treatment plans.
The BLS projects a 14% job growth rate for diagnostic medical sonographers from 2020 to 2030. This occupation requires highly skilled workers with critical thinking skills and basic technical skills.
Most diagnostic medical sonographers hold an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography. You can earn this degree in two years at a traditional business school or university. Students with existing medical training can obtain one-year diagnostic medical ultrasound certificates.
Median salary: $60,040
Electricians install, maintain, test and repair electrical power, communication, lighting and control systems in homes, businesses and factories.
The BLS projects a 9% growth in the employment of electricians from 2020 to 2030. Electricians are in high demand due to the specialized and physically intensive nature of their work.
Most electricians begin their careers by taking an apprenticeship, but many others earn a one- to two-year certificate or associate’s degree from a technical school.
An apprenticeship lasts one to two years and includes 1,000 to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. Typically, a technical school, union, or non-union group runs internships.
Median salary: $63,640
Electronic technicians assemble, install, test, maintain and repair electronic equipment. These technicians typically work in manufacturing, retail, and government positions.
The BLS projects 11,000 electronics engineer positions open per year from 2020 to 2030 (a growth rate of 2%).
You usually need an associate’s degree in electronics engineering, which you can get in about two years at a technical community college, or two years to work as an electronics technician. Most trade schools also offer shorter 9-12 month programs in basic electronics or electronic technology.
Median salary: $50,630
Geology and hydrology technicians operate the equipment scientists and engineers need to extract and study the Earth’s natural resources.
The BLS projects a job growth rate of 9% for geological and hydrological engineers from 2020 to 2030.
The highly specialized and dangerous nature of the work of geology and hydrology technicians means strong job security and high salary expectations.
You can become a geological and hydrological technician by pursuing an associate’s degree in geological and hydrological studies at a technical or community college. The degree typically takes two years to earn and involves one year of training through a supervised internship.
Median salary: $48,630
HVACR technicians install, repair and maintain heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration systems.
The BLS projects an average of 38,500 HVACR job openings per year from 2020-30.
Becoming an HVACR technician involves completing a certification program at a trade school or community college, which typically takes 9-12 months.
Depending on the state, you may then need to complete a one-year apprenticeship through a union or non-union association. In all states, HVACR technicians must pass a brief exam to be cleared to work.
Median salary: $56,230
Legal assistants assist attorneys in researching cases, organizing documents and records, and drafting legal documents.
The BLS projects a 12% job growth rate for legal assistants from 2020 to 2030. Legal assistants are in high demand in law firms because they are a cheaper alternative to entry-level attorneys.
To become a legal assistant, you usually need at least a certificate or associate’s degree in paralegal studies from a trade school or community college. Some paralegals begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then a technical certificate in paralegal studies.
Median salary: $77,360
MRI technologists use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to take diagnostic images for doctors. In addition to operating equipment, MRI technologists must also inject patients with substances that help create readable images.
The BLS projects a 9% growth in MRI technologist positions from 2020 to 2030. The specialized work of these technologists requires a high level of education as well as strong communication, critical thinking and technological literacy skills.
Most MRI technologists earn a science-related associate’s degree before enrolling in an MRI technologist program accredited by the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists.
MRI training programs typically last 9 to 12 months and involve 1,000 to 2,000 hours of clinical training.
Median salary: $77,200
Web developers create and maintain websites and web applications. Web development often calls for workers with strong computer literacy and critical thinking skills.
The BLS reports that web developers can anticipate a job growth rate of 13% from 2020 to 2030. In other words, they are in high demand.
While some web developers have a degree in computer science, others start their career with a diploma from a coding bootcamp or a certificate from a trade school. It usually takes three to six months to earn a coding bootcamp certificate or diploma.
Developers without a degree usually need a strong coding portfolio to be successful.
SEE: How to become a web developer
Wind turbine technician
Median salary: $56,260
Wind turbine technicians install, maintain and repair wind turbines used to convert wind energy into electrical energy.
The BLS projects a 68% growth in the employment of wind turbine technicians from 2020 to 2030 – although this only translates to 6,900 open positions per year.
Wind turbine technicians are in high demand due to the growing adoption of renewable energy sources and the physically demanding and specialized nature of their work.
Most learn their trade by earning a certificate from a trade school or community college. It usually takes two years to earn a certificate or associate’s degree in wind energy technology. Students receive on-site training under the supervision of a certified technician.
How to get a job after graduating from business school
After getting the training you need at an accredited trade school, you can start trying to land a job. Scour job search sites, your school’s career center, or your local union to find job postings.
Use resume templates and craft your application by incorporating relevant keywords. You can stand out in a job interview by using the STAR method, asking relevant questions of your interviewer, and being honest and friendly.
Unless otherwise noted, wage and employment growth data are from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to July 21, 2022.