If you’re a high school senior, college student, or one of the many young adults who would rather jump into a technical position without a degree, you’ve no doubt already found out that the job market is ultra-competitive. But there are industries that need you, and your tech skills, just not in the ways you might imagine.
So if you’re looking for a high-pay gig and don’t mind stepping away from the desk, read on for the top four careers that you may have overlooked.
Electricians bring in more than $22 per hour without a college degree. Those focusing on power generation and other specialties can expect to earn 25% to 50% higher wages than general residential or commercial electrical contractors. It takes around four years and a supervised apprenticeship to earn the title but there are a number of career paths for electricians, making it one of the most versatile careers out there. With a global push toward green power, electrical jobs continue to expand in the alternative energy industry. The US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy reports that there are career opportunities for qualified electricians in manufacturing, government energy management, and sustainable transportation.
The construction industry, which doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon, is ripe with positions boasting entry-level salaries worthy of a second look. Carpentry, which consists of framing and finishing structures, and solar panel installation are two of the lowest-paid construction jobs with average starting salaries of $41,000 and $40,000 per year respectively. While you’ve likely never heard of either career, boilermakers and elevator installation and repair techs are some of the highest-earning workers in the industry. A boilermaker is someone who can install and repair a building’s internal gas and liquid handling systems. It is a technical position that pays nearly $60,000 and requires an advanced mechanical aptitude and ability to adhere to strict safety standards. How much can you expect to earn as an elevator repairman? If $78,000 sounds good, this may be a job you should elevate to the top of your career considerations.
Welding is a labor-intensive job that requires strength and stamina. You must be willing and able to consistently lift and carry at least 50 pounds, work in confined spaces, and get hot and sweaty each and every shift. However, welders typically start out at around $18 per hour with numerous opportunities for advancement and even travel. If you’re not aquaphobic, feel at home in a wetsuit, and don’t mind jumping from one project to the next, working as an underwater welder could net you a hefty $300,000 per year.
Wrench jockey, machine head, rod rat…whatever you choose to call them, automotive repair professionals are quickly moving from mechanics into the technology industry. As vehicles become more and more reliant on computers, auto techs are spending less time under the hood and more time in front of a screen. A career in auto mechanics allows you to utilize technical skills, work with your hands, and sit safely in an industry that actually gets busier during a recession. If that’s not enough, consider that today’s mechanics can earn more than $100,000 a year; this CNN Money video explains why there is such high earning potential in what many mistakenly believe to be a dying vocation.
Each of these jobs are linked by a common purpose: build America and keep it moving. Companies across the nation desperately need full and part-time employees in these and other trade-positions. They are not glorified jobs and probably won’t make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, but they do offer long-term security, a respectable salary, and plenty of opportunities for advancement and entrepreneurship.