21 Skilled Trade Jobs In Demand

Updated June 30, 2023

As the world changes, the need for extra employees serving in specific jobs may increase. Skilled trade workers who have received proper certifications and qualifications can fill many of these in-demand positions. High school graduates, college-educated students and highly trained employees can gain the necessary skills to pursue these positions with high job outlooks.

In this article, we list various skilled trade jobs in demand and why they may remain in demand in the future.

What are skilled trade jobs?

A skilled trade job is a position pursued by an employee who either receives schooling to learn a specific skill set for their desired position or they gain these needed skills during on-the-job training. After finishing vocational courses, college classes or training, they may obtain a certificate. This makes them qualified for the job they wish to pursue. Some training or schooling for skilled trade jobs can last approximately three months to four years.

How are these jobs considered in demand?

Throughout the next few years, the need for employees with a strong set of specific skills will continue to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated the job outlook for various positions and has determined which job titles will either remain or increase in demand over the next ten years. Some of these positions have remained in demand in the past and are projected to remain steadily in demand.

Others will grow rapidly as the need for workers in these positions will increase due to more people requiring the services these positions provide. Since the demand of these skilled trade workers ranges from steady to increasing quicker than others, the demand for these positions will range from 4% to 30% over the next decade, according to the BLS.

21 Skilled trade jobs in demand

Below are the different skilled trade jobs currently in demand.

1. Custodian

National average salary: $11.88 per hour

Primary duties: Custodians consistently clean designated areas in a building or event area. These cleaning tasks can include taking out the garbage, mopping or vacuuming floors, cleaning bathroom sinks or toilets and keeping important items stocked. If any unexpected messes are made, custodians will tend to the mess as soon as possible.

Read more: Learn About Being a Custodian

2. Refuse collector

National average salary: $13.95 per hour

Primary duties: A refuse collector travels throughout various towns and cities to collect garbage and recyclables. They will often follow a designated route to efficiently retrieve items. Some refuse collectors have a lift attached to their truck that can pick up the trash and dump it. Other times, if the items are smaller or the lift isn't available, the refuse collector will lift and dump the trash on their own.

3. Legal assistant

National average salary: $15.67 per hour

Primary duties: Legal assistants work alongside attorneys to file different case documents, assist with trial proceedings and act as the assistant to the attorney. This includes scheduling meetings, contacting different case members and providing summaries to best prepare for upcoming trials. They may travel with the attorney to trials and hearings to take notes of the events.

Read more: Learn About Being a Legal Assistant

4. Bus driver

National average salary: $16.16 per hour

Primary duties: Bus drivers drive a large bus and transport it back and forth from various locations. They can work as school bus drivers to transport children to and from classes or they can drive for public bus systems. Not only will they drive the bus, but they also ensure it's operating smoothly. They keep the bus clean and may need to repair small maintenance problems on the bus if necessary. Bus drivers keep everyone safe while riding and must obey all traffic laws.

Read more: Learn About Being a School Bus Driver

5. Welder

National average salary: $17.89 per hour

Primary duties: A welder works primarily with metal and its components to fix or build certain equipment pieces. Welders are skilled in combining metals using heat. They will work with heavy tools and machinery to repair various metal structures. Welders often repair various equipment found within the construction and automotive fields.

Read more: Learn About Being a Welder

6. Brick mason

National average salary: $20.26 per hour

Primary duties: Brick masons work closely with bricks to repair or build various building structures. They will lay each brick out and bind them together to build a strong structure. Brick masons are given blueprints or building plans to determine how to lie each brick. They may use different measuring tools and equipment to build these surfaces.

7. Construction equipment operator

National average salary: $20.38 per hour

Primary duties: Construction equipment operators handle large machinery and equipment. They often know all safety rules and regulations and ensure everyone on a construction site is following them before and during equipment operation. Construction equipment operators will also determine lower spots of the site where more dirt or other material should be added. They may also clean the equipment if needed.

8. Tractor-trailer driver

National average salary: $20.74 per hour

Primary duties: A tractor-trailer driver travels to various businesses to deliver packages with various goods inside. The trucks they drive are larger than most, so they are often trained and licensed to drive them. Not only will they be driving the trucks, but they will deliver the packages straight to the customer as well. This means they will often use heavy-lifting to load and unload the goods from their truck.

9. Crane operator

National average salary: $20.86 per hour

Primary duties: Crane operators use cranes to move various items and loads. They will need knowledge of how a crane works and will need to maneuver the various pedals and handles on the machine. Crane operators will smoothly move around on rough terrain. They often arrive at the site and determine where everything should be placed per safety regulations before they operate the crane.

10. Carpenter

National average salary: $21.46 per hour

Primary duties: Carpenters use manual labor to build different structures of a house. They will either create or follow guidelines for pre-made blueprints. This job may involve cutting, measuring and shaping. They often build or restore floors, windows, ceilings and walls. Carpenters also give inspections to ensure different surfaces are meeting codes and safety regulations.

Read more: Learn About Being a Carpenter

11. Wind turbine technician

National average salary: $22.63 per hour

Primary duties: Wind turbine technicians identify issues with wind turbines and will work to fix these problems. This position involves climbing to high areas and repairing different sections of the wind turbine. Inspection of the turbines is often needed, so wind turbine technicians are responsible for regularly inspecting and replacing any malfunctioning wind turbine pieces.

12. HVAC technician

National average salary: $23.34 per hour

Primary duties: HVAC technicians will install, repair and inspect heating and air conditioning systems. They can locate problems occurring in a heating and air conditioning system. Many HVAC technicians can conduct emergency repairs, installation or cleaning of different units when needed.

13. Licensed practical nurse

National average salary: $23.81 per hour

Primary duties: Licensed practical nurses work within the healthcare industry to provide proper care for patients. Many LPNs will work within a hospital or clinic setting to help patients and assist doctors. Others may assist patients in their homes or will work as an on-staff nurse for a business to keep staff members healthy and to provide checkups whenever needed.

14. Diesel technician

National average salary: $25.22 per hour

Primary duties: Diesel technicians repair and maintain diesel-powered vehicles. They inspect the vehicles thoroughly to ensure everything works correctly and repair any damages they locate. This includes checking and repairing lights, fluids and replacing the engine. Diesel technicians may also work in the mechanic shop to take stock and inventory of each automotive part they collect.

15. Home inspector

National average salary: $51,064 per year

Primary duties: Home inspectors visit homes to ensure codes and regulations are being followed. Home inspectors are often sent by banks, real estate companies or construction companies. They will test certain sections of a home to see if any items are dysfunctional, harmful or damaged. They will often tour the entire home examining every necessary section. Home inspectors will also interview homeowners or neighbors and will take notes and photographs to record the results they find.

16. Plumber

National average salary: $25.28 per hour

Primary duties: Plumbers work in both commercial and residential areas to either install or fix various plumbing issues. They may repair sinks, dishwashers, toilets, washers and any other malfunctioning appliance. Not only will they fix plumbing issues, but they will provide regular checks and inspections to ensure appliances are remaining up to code. This means they are usually well-informed of regularly updated safety regulations.

17. Electrician

National average salary: $25.93 per hour

Primary duties: Electricians work with power units to either install or repair them in houses or businesses. They often ensure wiring and electrical systems are functioning correctly and will need patience and knowledge to repair any of the electrical issues they find. Working as an electrician often involves knowledge of various safety regulations and power tool operations.

18. Boilermaker

National average salary: $26.58 per hour

Primary duties: Boilermakers will create boilers that hold oils or other gasses and liquids. Once they build the boilers, they will often install them on their own. To build the boilers, they will need knowledge on welding or other equipment to shape and build a boiler. They will also handle the maintenance of boilers and ensure that each boiler meets regulations, environmental procedures and safety standards.

19. Aircraft mechanic

National average salary: $26.58 per hour

Primary duties: An aircraft mechanic will repair any parts of an airplane to ensure it operates smoothly. Aircraft mechanics can often fix numerous sections of an aircraft including the landing gear and the engine. They will also work closely with the breaks on the aircraft to ensure it stops properly. Aircraft mechanics may also perform inspections and tests on each airplane to make sure everything is working and following proper safety regulations.

20. Landscape designer

National average salary: $54,354 per year

Primary duties: Landscape designers handle the upkeep and overall design of outdoor spaces. They can build these designs for various businesses, houses or schools. Landscape designers may draft their own exterior plans or are given plans to follow. From there, they may select and retrieve plants, then add them to the overall design to create the desired outcome. They will continue maintaining an attractive outside area by clipping and cleaning bushes, trees, plants and grass.

21. Construction manager

National average salary: $77,333 per year

Primary duties: Construction managers will often serve in a leadership role as they oversee and direct construction employees in the completion of various construction projects. They will also review safety regulations listed for each site to ensure that employees are meeting each stated regulation. Construction managers are often in charge of selecting the tools or equipment to use as well as establishing the budget for each job.

Frequently asked questions

What's the difference between a trade school and a four-year college?

Trade schools are specific to the role you want to pursue and teach you the skills you require to be successful in your trade. Training at a trade school can take between eight weeks and two years to complete. During this time, you can earn certification or an associate degree.

Four-year college usually teaches you general education topics before improving your knowledge in your major. These programs take around four years to complete, after which you earn a bachelor's degree. This can help you prepare for more advanced degrees, such as a master's degree or doctorate degree program.

What are the easiest trades to learn?

This depends on your interests and skills. Different trades require different skills, knowledge and abilities, so choosing one that interests you can make it easier to learn and grow in your chosen field. For example, if you're good at building things with your hands, you might consider a trade like carpentry that can involve intricate handwork.

Do I provide my own tools when I start a trade job?

Depending on the company you work with, you may have a requirement to bring your own tools. If you don't have tools, searching for a company that provides them can help you start your career. If you already have tools, then you can start at any company that interests you.


Related Articles

141 Construction Terms To Know (With Definitions for 70)

Explore more articles

  • What Can You Do With a Graphic Design Degree? 14 Careers
  • 38 Companies That Hire Work-From-Home Employees
  • 9 Marketing Career Paths You Can Pursue (With Degree Levels)
  • 15 Construction Companies in California To Consider
  • 15 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a J.D./MBA Degree
  • 17 Jobs You Can Do With a Nursing Degree but No License
  • What Is Visual Merchandising? Definition, Types and How To Use It
  • FAQ: What Is a Surgeon's Schedule Like?
  • 14 Counseling Careers That Don't Require a Degree
  • Medical Assistant vs. Nurse: Differences and Similarities
  • 25 Job Ideas for Future Entrepreneurs
  • 15 Careers in Construction (With Salaries and Duties)