Top-Paying Jobs for Community College, Trade School Students

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Best Community College and Trade School Jobs

Community college, trade and technical schools are a great way to get an education and a career that you'll love in 2022 and beyond. While many students pursue careers that require four years or more of college, we see tremendous salary growth and future demand in careers that do not require a bachelor’s degree. In fact, some of the jobs available after attending community college and trade school pay better than jobs that require a 4-year degree and take a lot less time!

Workforce shortages have created amazing high-paying career opportunities in these high-growth industries:

  • Information Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • Public Service
  • Communications

Dreading the mundane 9-5? Each of these industries offer well-paying jobs where you can learn and grow in a variety of fields. Even better, they continue to challenge you to keep your work environment exciting.

If you're interested in exploring other skilled career opportunities, head over to SkillPointe's Explore Careers page or take our super quick Career Match Quiz to see which careers best fit your unique personality. It’s fun and takes less than two minutes!

Below are some of our favorite career options listed by industry category.

Best Information Technology Jobs

1. Software Developers

With a median salary of $110,155, software developers are well-paid and highly in-demand. In fact, this job is one of the highest paid in the industry! Whether they create software for internal use or apps that could get millions of downloads, software developers can make a lot of money for companies and get paid accordingly. Experience helps, so the sooner you start, the better.

Learn more about becoming a software developer.

2. Systems Analysts

Systems analysts are problem-solvers who look for issues with software and hardware and resolve them. Being able to spot issues in programming can save clients a ton of money in the long-run, which is why systems analysts earn a robust salary of $93,536. This job is sure to offer stability.

Learn more about becoming a systems analyst.

3. IT Support Specialists

IT support specialists help other people resolve complex technical problems. They are not simply customer service agents, IT support specialists usually work with corporate professionals to solve issues quickly and efficiently. That has a significant impact on a company’s ability to meet deadlines, so this is a popular role with a solid salary of $52,940.

Learn more about becoming an IT support specialist

4. Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Earning an impressive $85,095, Network and computer systems administrators have the awesome job of keeping modern companies running at their best. Most people in this role manage different equipment, including desktop computers, laptops and server systems. Some administrators also have supervisory roles and manage other technical support staff.

Learn more about becoming a network and computer systems administrator.

5. Data Security Management Analysts

Information is money, especially for those who help keep it safe. Data security management analysts can pull in an impressive $103,622 a year for helping companies monitor and secure their networks against unwanted intrusions. Think of yourself as a sort of secret ninja fighting cybercrimes. Keeping things safe gets more important as companies become more valuable, so this role won't vanish anytime soon.

Learn more about becoming a data security management analyst.

6. Database Administrators

Database administrators earn about $98,793 by helping manage the systems that store company information. Thanks to the work of database administrators, we can enjoy things like saved addresses when we make an online purchase or fast and efficient customer service databases.

Learn more about becoming a database administrator.

Best Healthcare Jobs

7. Certified Nursing Assistants

Certified nursing assistants (CNA) provide essential care to patients in healthcare settings. Their important, hands-on work frees up doctors and other senior medical personnel to focus on the more complex aspects of care. They earn about $30,827.

Learn more about becoming a certified nursing assistant.

8. Medical Assistants

Medical assistants earn about $35,792 for doing clerical work in medical facilities. This can include processing paperwork, getting information from patients, making sure the office meets regulatory obligations and otherwise keeping the place running. This is a heavily in-demand role, with the potential to move into further administrative positions later in life.

Learn more about becoming a medical assistant.

9. Licensed Practical Nurses

A typical licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) earns about $48,784, and this salary can go up significantly over time. LPNs provide a wide variety of medical services, operating as the front-line staff and helping patients through all manner of ailments. About one year of education can get you started for this heavily in-demand role, and with more education, you can move up to other roles, including registered nurse.

Learn more about becoming a licensed practical nurse.

10. Physical Therapy Assistants

Physical therapy assistants earn about $59,744 for helping patients recover from injuries and illnesses. They also help people learn how to manage ongoing ailments. Although this role can seem simple at first glance, the need to adapt to each patient’s unique situation demands a lot of skill.

Learn more about becoming a physical therapy assistant.

11. Laboratory Technicians

Laboratory technicians earn about $54,153. They collect samples and operate machinery to run tests on the samples. Most technicians work in medical facilities, but in rare cases, they work non-medical research laboratories. Experience helps here, so the more years a technician spends in a lab, the better.

Learn more about becoming a laboratory technician.

12. Dental Assistants

Dental assistants help dentists and dental hygienists with various tasks. Dental assistants earn about $41,287. They handle paperwork, help with dental procedures and perform other tasks as necessary to keep a dental office running.

Learn more about becoming a dental assistant.

13. Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists earn about $77,309, and they clean patients’ teeth, participate in surgeries and assist with some dental procedures. Hygienists are often the first person to interact with patients. This role has excellent pay while often being part-time, making it a strong contender for people who want a flexible work-life balance.

Learn more about becoming a dental hygienist.

14. Radiology Techs

Radiology techs earn about $61,911 a year. They operate special types of medical imaging equipment, such as those that take X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. Get a glimpse inside the human body and how it functions through this profession.

Learn more about becoming a radiology tech.

15. Medical Records Technicians

Medical records technicians, also called health information technicians, earn about $43,932. They process patient information and records. They also work on processing insurance claims, aiding patients in payment plans and determining what is covered by health insurance.

Learn more about becoming a medical records technician.

Best Construction Jobs

16. Electricians

Earning a solid $56,764, electricians are a must-have member for construction and maintenance teams. From wiring new homes to ascending skyscrapers to find and fix faults, electricians are specialists with outstanding job security. Many electricians join unions, which provides additional benefits and guarantees.

Learn more about becoming an electrician.

17. Carpenters

Earning around $49,461, carpenters specialize in building things from wood. The carpenter's role in construction gets most of the attention, but carpenters also produce furniture, cabinets or specialty products. This job has steady demand around the country, making it mobile enough that you can find work almost anywhere you go.

Learn more about becoming a carpenter.

18. Plumbers

Plumbers pull in a solid $56,115 installing and repairing pipe systems. This is one of the most  iconic skilled trades. The classic image of a plumber is one who travels to homes to fix them, but that’s only one option for this role. Plumbers also work in commercial or industrial environments. There’s always more work for plumbers, which means a busy schedule and job stability.

Learn more about becoming a plumber.

19. Construction Equipment Operators

Construction equipment operators earn about $49,809 to control some of the biggest machines around. How cool is that? They operate excavators, lifts, bulldozers, graders and other equipment built for a specific tasks.

Learn more about becoming a construction equipment operator.

20. Welders

Welders earn about $44,093 a year. They join metal together in various ways. Aside from having a lot of fun using tools and creating aesthetically pleasing work, welders also may travel to different locations. The earning potential in this role goes up significantly if you can weld in unusual environments, such as underwater. 

Learn more about becoming a welder.

21. HVAC Technicians

HVAC technicians earn about $50,629 to install and repair heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems commonly known as HVAC. Many technicians focus on residential and commercial properties, but a few specialize in the needs of industrial customers. There's good money to be made to keep those systems running smoothly.

Learn more about becoming an HVAC technician.

22. Heavy Equipment Mechanics

Heavy equipment mechanics earn about $55,450. They maintain large equipment like construction vehicles and some industrial machines. This is a hands-on job that requires problem-solving skills and getting your hands dirty. If you enjoy working on big machines and figuring how they function, this could be the job for you.

Learn more about becoming a heavy equipment mechanic.

Best Transportation Jobs

23. Truck Drivers

With a salary of about $47,051, truck drivers remain in demand. They move goods wherever they need to go. If you enjoy long drives while listening to your favorite tunes, or seeing different parts of the country, this could be for you. This field is likely to see significant changes in the future, making it far more comfortable and fun to drive over long distances.

Learn more about becoming a truck driver.

24. Auto Mechanics

Imagine never having to take your car into a shop again. Auto mechanics earn about $43,936 a year for learning the ins and outs of fixing vehicles. This can be a specialty position, such as working exclusively on vehicles for one manufacturer. Auto mechanics also work for independent repair shops and handle different vehicles. Regardless of the type of shop, the work is challenging and interesting.

Learn more about becoming an auto mechanic.

25. Diesel Mechanics

Diesel mechanics can earn about $50,338 working on diesel-based engines. Though different types of diesel systems exist, most of these mechanics work on trucks and other large vehicles or machinery. If you find tractors, cranes and other heavy machinery intriguing, this is a career to explore.

Learn more about becoming a diesel mechanic.

26. Aircraft Mechanics

Aircraft mechanics can earn about $66,702 a year to maintain and repair aviation equipment. Many mechanics work in civilian roles, and many have learned the trade through their military service. This career is a way to understand the power of different aircraft and how they work.

Learn more about becoming an aircraft mechanic.

Best Manufacturing Jobs

27. Machinists

Earning $45,785, machinists operate equipment to produce precision-made parts and tools, often for other companies. Most companies try to run production machines as frequently as possible, so this is an excellent job for those who want to earn overtime.

Learn more about becoming a machinist.

28. Industrial Machinery Mechanics

Industrial machinery mechanics earn about $55,413 a year fixing industrial and other factory equipment. Most machines need regular tune-ups to keep working at capacity, and for company owners, every hour of downtime is lost profit. This job is heavily in-demand and will remain that way for some time.

Learn more about becoming an industrial machinery mechanic.

29. Metal Fabricator

Metal fabricators earn about $33,615. This is a relatively easy role to learn as long as you’re good with your hands and can follow step-by-step directions. Metal fabricators often gain skills in this position before eventually moving into a more complex and higher-paid role, such as machinist.

Learn more about becoming a metal fabricator.

30. Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

Electrical and electronics engineering technicians can make around $67,441 a year. In this job, technicians help design, develop, test, manufacture and repair electrical and electronic components. Techs are constantly learning how to improve products through their hands-on experience.

Learn more about becoming an electrical or electronics engineering technician.

Best Public Service Jobs

31. Police Officers

Police officers pull in around $65,644 for keeping the peace. Officers are in demand in cities large and small. Strong union support helps ensure job security, too, and police forces are especially keen on hiring those with other applicable skills. If you stay cool in high-pressure situations, this is a career to consider.

Learn more about becoming a police officer.

32. Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants earn about $28,740 helping other teachers manage classrooms. This can include providing additional information, helping with coursework and other areas where the teacher needs assistance. Demand for this job is steady, so it offers good security and great practice for anyone aiming to become a full-time teacher.

Learn more about becoming a teacher assistant

33. Paralegals

Law is an impressive profession, but did you know that paralegals pull in $52,891 a year? If you have incredible research and organizational skills, this may be your path! It's also a great way to gain experience if you’re thinking about becoming a lawyer later on. Many law firms need paralegals and legal assistants, so you can take your skills practically anywhere you want to live.

Learn more about becoming a paralegal

34. Training and Development Specialists

Companies love training people, and specialists in this role can earn about $62,854 doing just that. If you've always been great at teaching, you're in the right place. Essentially a kind of corporate teacher, training and development specialists often create instruction materials, visit offices to lead classes and coordinate with companies to uncover what instruction company employees need.

Learn more about becoming a training and development specialist.

35. Social Services Assistants

Social services assistants earn about $35,863 helping clients solve various problems, ranging from overcoming addiction to getting help with modern technology and information systems. This is one of the skilled trade jobs that’s especially people-focused, so if you like helping others, it’s definitely worth considering.

Learn more about becoming a social services assistant.

36. Correctional Officers

Correctional officers earn about $47,313 annually helping manage people in prisons, jails and similar facilities. If you want a challenging job in an exciting environment, this could be the one. Some correctional officers work night shifts, making this another good role to consider if you’re a night owl.

Learn more about becoming a correctional officer.

37. Firefighters

Firefighters earn a solid $52,268 and it's not just for saving cats stuck in trees. Firefighters are real life heroes, extinguishing burning buildings, rescuing people from life-threatening danger, helping people hurt in vehicle collisions and otherwise keeping the public safe. Experienced firefighters can eventually move into other roles, such as a fire marshal, who determines the causes of fires and makes sure buildings are meeting fire safety guidelines.

Learn more about becoming a firefighter.

38. Preschool Teachers

Do you love kids? Preschool teachers earn about $32,171 teaching children who are between 3 and 5 years old. Aside from encouraging the vivid imagination of these young minds, preschool teachers manage teaching programs, provide individual attention and let parents know about any special needs or circumstances their children may have.

Learn more about becoming a preschool teacher.

Best Communications Jobs

39. Fiber Optics Technicians & Cable Technicians

Fiber optics technicians and cable technicians earn about $61,364 installing new wires and lines as part of telecommunications infrastructure. This could include burying lines underground, stringing them along the air or putting them through buildings. The push to expand networks remains a priority in this country, so work is steady.

Learn more about becoming a fiber optics technician or cable technician.

40. Graphic Designers

Graphic designers get paid around $53,573 to create artwork, logos and other visual media for companies. Here's an opportunity to utilize your artistic skills to help companies define their brands in an ever-growing industry.

Learn more about becoming a graphic designer.

About SkillPointe's Career Rankings

SkillPointe's career rankings are based on a proprietary analysis of multiple data sources, including SkillPointe user behavior, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Employment Matrix, Occupational Employment Statistics, The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey and Emsi Burning Glass.

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