Although many people grow up believing they must go to college and do a four-year degree course, this isn’t the only option. In fact, plenty of other options are open to those who don’t feel that college is right for them, and many of the possible trades available can be highly lucrative. Let’s look at some of the best careers open to those who attend trade school instead of college.

Construction Managers

A construction manager takes charge of projects of all kinds, from residential and commercial to federal, working with engineers and architects to achieve completion on time and on budget. Construction managers plan timelines, analyze blueprints for time and cost estimates, hire workers, monitor progress, and obtain all permits. Construction managers can command salaries of over $100,000 per year.

Electronic Engineers

Working on developing and designing electronic equipment, electronic engineers do maintenance, devise testing procedures, investigate systems, and repair hardware components. Many opportunities are open to people who have trained in this discipline, from working for government organizations to working for computer companies. Engineering is always a lucrative career path, commanding salaries of around $70,000 annually.

Construction Equipment Operator

A heavy machine operator can earn over $60,000 annually and enjoy controlling such diverse equipment as cranes, excavators, and bulldozers. Depending on which kind of equipment you’re responsible for, you may have responsibility for leveling areas for construction purposes, plowing snow from roads, or using an asphalt spreader. There is always a lot of demand for these skills.


Plumbers are always in high demand and can work for a plumbing company or independent contractor. Many businesses hire plumbers for maintenance and construction, and residential plumbing is also lucrative. Installing fixtures and pipes and working with HVAC systems are part of a plumber’s remit, and salaries can cost over $50,000 annually.


Welding is an exciting job and can command a high salary. There are many welding types, which raises the opportunity to work with various organizations, from construction companies to the offshore gas industry. Welding is a handy skill to learn, and you can go online for more details about welding equipment and its many benefits.


Carpentry is an excellent choice of vocational qualification, and you can even find an entry-level post with no experience or training. If you go to trade school, you can have even more opportunities to choose from and an even higher pay rate. Carpenters install, shape, and cut building materials and can do everything from installing windows to remodeling kitchens. Rates come in at around $35 per hour, which is impressive.

Landscape Gardener

Landscape gardening is another trade career path that is in a lot of demand. As a trained landscape gardener, you can command salaries of over $40,000 and work for a company or set up as an independent contractor. You can complete all kinds of exciting projects working for either business, public, or residential clients and learn valuable skills that will stand you in good stead for improving your home!


Auto mechanics are in strong demand and will always be able to find work. Many different opportunities are open to those who take a course in auto mechanic vocational training. You can even train on the job if you want an entry-level position that requires no training. Mechanics can tackle everything from repairing a broken engine to replacing a tire and everything in between, and salaries can rise exponentially depending on skills and experience. You can command impressively large hourly rates if you are an independent mechanic.

These possible careers are open to you if you decide to forego college, attend a trade school, or move into a vocational career instead. You’ll find many exciting opportunities you may never have thought of – it’s time to explore them!