Tricks of the Trade (School): Six Well-Paying Skilled Labor Jobs

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  • As today’s world becomes one where specialized skills are needed in the workplace, the demand for specific training in certain areas is greater than ever before. For students who choose not to attend a traditional college, there are many skilled labor positions offering high salaries and huge demand. Some may think that the only way to make a nice paycheck is to attend a traditional college, however, we must not underestimate the value of a specialized skill. Read ahead to learn about some skilled labor jobs that can make you a decent living.

    Wind Turbine Technician

    With an average salary of $67,500 this is a growing career. These technicians install, repair and maintain the huge turbines seen in fields and other places. Training can be completed within one year at community colleges, and duties can involve replacing circuit boards or changing lights. With several years experience, technicians can earn up to $84,000 annually.


    Whenever there’s a water leak, it’s time to call a plumber. Training can be gained by attending trade school or through an apprenticeship, which can last several years. However, Master Plumbers can earn almost $100,000 annually, making the training well worth it. Needing skills in blueprint reading and the ability to work quickly and efficiently with various hand tools, plumbers fix leaks and also help design plumbing systems for both residential and commercial properties.

    Elevator Mechanic

    Completing a four-year apprenticeship through a local union can lead to a career as an elevator mechanic. Responsible for installing and maintaining elevators, escalators and chairlifts these jobs can pay an average salary of $50,000 per year.

    Building Inspector

    Training for this job can be completed in 1-2 years at a trade school. Duties involve inspecting bridges and other structures to ensure they meet building codes and contract specifications. A growing part of the job is doing home inspections for those buying and selling homes. Annual salaries approach $48,000.


    Perhaps the most physically demanding of these jobs, they are compensated well for their efforts. Apprenticeships last 3-4 years, and involve learning how to mix mortar, installing exteriors on high-rise buildings and constructing walkways. Salaries average $46,000 per year, and demand is growing due to the number of masons retiring.

    Medical Equipment Technician

    An Associate’s degree in electrical engineering can land you a job repairing and maintaining medical equipment in hospitals and other facilities. X-ray machines, eye testing equipment and vital signs monitors are just some of the equipment serviced. Annual salaries average $45,000, and training is ongoing as new technology is put into place.

    While these jobs require ample amounts of manual labor, their salaries and high employment rates make them very smart choices in today’s workplace. If you are a hands on learner, possess reputable skills, or want an alternative to the traditional college experience, you can still make a nice living with any of these professions. In a world of growing technology, we still need people who can work with their hands and posses the skills necessary to keep machinery and systems working.

    AUTOHR BIO: This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, and technology. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Information for this article was provided by the professionals of Laser Shape, who specialize in laser and waterjet cutting to create parts for machinery and architecture.

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