The Trades Career Tier List


In this blog, we will be discussing the trades career tier list. Trades are often underrated, but they are making a huge comeback. In this list, we will rank various trade careers based on factors such as salary, job growth, and job satisfaction. We will also consider other factors like automation potential and transferable skills. So, let’s dive right into the list!

Welder – C Tier

Welding is a trade career with a decent demand. While the pay may not be the best, there is a high ceiling for skill development. Specializing in underwater welding, for example, can lead to great financial success. Starting your own business in welding can also be lucrative. Overall, it’s a decent career option, but not amazing.

Heavy Equipment Operator – B Tier

Being a heavy equipment operator requires a license and apprenticeship. The job involves operating machinery like tractors and cranes. Pay varies depending on specialization, with certain crane operators earning a lot. However, the job can be high-stress and mistakes can have severe consequences.

Plumber – A Tier

Plumbers are in high demand and make a decent income. They install and repair pipes for liquids and gases. One advantage of being a plumber is that you can find work almost anywhere in the United States. Starting your own plumbing business can lead to earning a six-figure income. It’s a career with great potential for growth and stability.

HVAC Technician – B Tier

HVAC technicians work with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. The job pays around $47,000 a year and is growing at a rate of 13%. While it can be seasonal, the business nature allows for busy and slower periods. Scaling a business in this field can be challenging, but overall, it’s a decent trade career option.

Dental Hygienist – A Tier

Surprisingly, dental hygienists fall under the category of trade careers. They assist dentists in tasks like cleaning and educating patients on dental health. While it takes around three years to get into this profession, it is less physically demanding than other trades. Dental hygienists can earn six-figure salaries, especially if they work full-time.

Elevator Installer or Repairer – A Tier

Installing and repairing elevators and escalators is the task of elevator technicians. This career requires an apprenticeship and licensure. It pays around $79,000 a year and has a growth rate of 10%. While the job may involve being on call, it is less physically taxing compared to other trade careers.

Electrician – A Tier

Electricians are responsible for dealing with electrical systems. While it poses certain risks, such as working with electricity, it is one of the less physically demanding trade careers. Electricians can continue working well into their 60s and 70s. With apprenticeship and licensure, this career offers stability and growth opportunities.

Geological and Petroleum Technician – C Tier

Working in the natural gas industry, geological and petroleum technicians support scientists and engineers in extracting resources. While the pay is decent, around $53,000 a year, it may require relocating to certain areas with relevant companies. It’s a trade career with growth potential, but not as much as others on the list.

Sonographer – S Tier

Sonographers operate special imaging equipment, primarily performing ultrasounds. This trade career has a growth rate of 14% and does not require an apprenticeship or licensure. Sonographers enjoy the benefits of a trade career without as many physical demands. It’s a rewarding profession with a good income potential.

Radiation Therapist – S Tier

Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases using radiation therapy. While emotionally challenging, this career is highly rewarding as it involves helping individuals in need. With licensure and a growth rate of 9%, it offers stability and a decent income of around $82,000 a year.

Logger – F Tier

Loggers face one of the most physically demanding and dangerous trade careers. With a projected growth rate of negative 12%, it’s not a promising option. The pay is relatively low, making it an unfavorable choice compared to other trades.

Dock Worker – F Tier

Also known as longshoremen, dock workers unload cargo ships. The job is physically strenuous, dangerous, and pays around $28,000 a year. It’s a low-tier trade career that needs better compensation considering the risks involved.

Roofer – D Tier

Roofers install, repair, and replace roofs. The job is physically demanding and can be hazardous. While the pay is not the best, it has an 11% growth rate. It’s a trade career with limited growth potential but offers some opportunities.

Construction Laborer – D Tier

Construction laborers face physically demanding work with high rates of injuries and deaths. Despite the risks, the pay is relatively average, around $35,000 a year. The trade career offers stability with over a million job opportunities but needs better compensation.

Automobile Mechanic – C Tier

Automobile mechanics work on repairing and maintaining vehicles. It’s a popular trade career choice, with a decent number of job opportunities. While it’s not as physically demanding as other trades, the pay is average, around $40,000 a year.


Trades careers offer various opportunities, from high-income potential to stability and growth. While some trades require physical labor and come with risks, others are less demanding. It’s important to consider personal interests, skills, and long-term goals when choosing a trade career. Remember, starting your own business can significantly increase your income in the trades industry. If you want more details on factors like salary, job growth, and job satisfaction, check out related videos and leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback!


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