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Highest Paying Hourly and Trade Jobs By State

We're all trying to survive, especially in these tough economic times. Each passing day, it's becoming increasingly important to find a job that actually pays the bills. Depending on the job you're looking for, this could mean moving out of state. The good thing is that you don't need a bachelor's degree to get a high-paying job. And if you're wondering what jobs are high-paying, you've come to the right place. 

This article will discuss some of the highest-paying hourly and trade jobs by state. We'll also cover what the future holds for each job as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, allowing you to plan your career well in advance. 

So what jobs pay the most? Let's find out. 

Alabama

Highest paid trade job: Industrial machinery mechanic

Estimated hourly salary: $26 

BLS job growth through 2030: +19% 

An industrial machinery mechanic is responsible for maintaining, installing, and repairing industrial and processing machinery. All you need to become an industrial machinery mechanic is a high school diploma or an equivalent and at least a year of on-the-job training.  

Alaska

Highest paid trade job:  Plumbing, HVAC technicians, and electricians 

Estimated hourly salary:  $28 

BLS job growth through 2030: +5% 

A recent study named Alaska the highest-paying state for plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians in the US. With an estimated hourly salary of $28, choosing this career path means you'll earn at least $18 more than the minimum wage in Alaska, which currently stands at $10.34 per hour.  

Arizona

Highest paid trade job: Maintenance technician  

Estimated hourly salary: $35

BLS job growth through 2030: +5% 

A maintenance technician inspects buildings, equipment, and systems to identify and fix any issues. Most companies will hire you with a high school diploma and provide on-the-job training. 

Arkansas

Highest paid trade job:  Truck driver 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030: +6%

Median annual salary:  $60,000 

In Arkansas, you must be at least 18 years old to drive a truck within the state and at least 21 years old to drive outside of the state. You must also have a valid driver's license and a Conditional Learner's Permit (CPL).

California

Highest paid trade job:  Firefighter 

Estimated hourly salary: $40

BLS job growth through 2030: +8%

Median annual salary:  $84,000 

You must be at least 18 years old and have a postsecondary nondegree award to become a firefighter in California. You'll also need an Emergency Medical Training and California's Firefighter 1 Certificate or a certificate from a California State Fire Marshal's Accredited Regional Fire Academy. 

Colorado

Highest paid trade job:  Steelworkers 

Estimated hourly salary: $33

BLS job growth through 2030: +6%

Median annual salary: $65,000

Steelworkers install and reinforce iron and steel to support bridges, roads, buildings, and other infrastructure. Most of these workers learn their trade through apprenticeship or on-the-job training. 

Connecticut

Highest paid trade job:  Real estate agent

Estimated hourly salary: $41

BLS job growth through 2030: +4%

Median annual salary: $80,000

To become a real estate agent in Connecticut, you must be at least 18 years old have a high school diploma or GED. You must also complete a pre-licensing course before applying for your Connecticut Real Estate license through the state's eLicense website

Delaware

Highest paid trade job: Truck driver 

Estimated hourly salary: $42 

BLS job growth through 2030: +6%

Median annual salary: $82,000

You must be at least 18 years old to drive a truck within Delaware and at least 21 years old to drive out of state. You must also live in Delaware, have at least a one-year driving experience, and obtain a Commercial Driver's License.

Florida

Highest paid trade job:  Motorboat mechanics 

Estimated hourly salary: $28

BLS job growth through 2030:  +6%

Median annual salary: $55000

Motorboat mechanics service and repair mechanical and electrical equipment on marine vessels. They can either work as independent contractors or as employees of boat servicing and maintenance companies. 

Georgia

Highest paid trade job:  Transportation manager 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030:  30%  

Median annual salary:  $60000 

A transportation manager oversees and coordinates the transport of raw materials, products, or even people in a company. Most transportation managers rise through the ranks from other positions such as truck driving. 

Hawaii

Highest paid trade job: Motorboat mechanic and service technician 

Estimated hourly salary: $28

BLS job growth through 2030:  +6% 

Median annual salary:  $59,000

You can earn a decent income as a motorboat mechanic in Hawaii with only a high school diploma or an equivalent. Apart from that, most employers will require that you have a valid drivers' license of any state, basic computer skills, and knowledge of United States Coast Guard policies. 

Idaho

Highest paid trade job: Retail manager 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030:  -1%

Median annual salary:  $60000 

The primary role of a retail manager is to oversee the daily operations of retail stores. Most retail managers rise from junior positions such as sales associates, warehouse clerks, customer service representatives, etc. 

Illinois

Highest paid trade job:  Elevator mechanic 

Estimated hourly salary: $40

BLS job growth through 2030:  +6%

Median annual salary:   $78,000 

Elevator mechanics install, repair, and maintain elevators. They also work with moving walkways, escalators, and other lifts. To become an elevator mechanic, you'll need a minimum of a high school diploma and training through an apprenticeship. 

Indiana

Highest paid trade job:  Mechanical insulator 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030: +5% 

Median annual salary:   $58,000 

An entry-level mechanical insulator can easily make $30 an hour in Indiana. Most jobs provide training, but you'll need to have a valid driver's license and some OSHA certifications such as OSHA 10 and OSHA 30.

Iowa

Highest paid trade job:  Construction program instructor 

Estimated hourly salary: $ 28

BLS job growth through 2030:  11%

Median annual salary: $55,000  

A construction program instructor teaches courses and evaluates learning outcomes in Construction Technology. Although a college degree is not required, you'll need at least 6,000 hours of experience working in Construction Technology to be eligible for this role.

Kansas

Highest paid trade job:  Journeyman apprentice 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030:  +8% 

Median annual salary:   

The exact duties and responsibilities vary from one job to another. In Kansas, top manufacturing companies such as General Motors, Spirit AeroSystems, Textron, Koch Industries, and Goodyear Tire are always looking for skilled workers to fill different positions. 

Kentucky

Highest paid trade job: HVAC technicians   

Estimated hourly salary: $ $41

BLS job growth through 2030:  +5% 

Median annual salary:   $80000 

All you need to become an HVAC technician in Kentucky is a high school diploma and HVAC apprenticeship training. Most employees also prefer candidates with strong communication and interpersonal skills for this role. 

Louisiana

Highest paid trade job:  Maintenance foreman 

Estimated hourly salary: $33

BLS job growth through 2030: +5% 

Median annual salary:   $64000

A maintenance foreman supervises and provides guidance and logistical support to a group of maintenance workers. Most employers prefer candidates with experience and certification in construction management, technologies, and engineering. 

Maine

Highest paid trade job:  Railway conductor 

Estimated hourly salary: $27

BLS job growth through 2030:  +5% 

Median annual salary:   $52,000

A railroad conductor coordinates the daily activities of the train and crew. They also ensure the train's timely operation and passenger's safety. Classroom Rules training, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, First Aid and CPR, Railway Medical Assessment are some of the training courses you need for this role. 

Maryland

Highest paid trade job: Welder 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030: +8%

Median annual salary:  $60000

A high school diploma and on-the-job training are all you need to become a welder in Maryland. However, you'll have a higher chance of getting hired if you have at least two years of experience in this field. 

Massachusetts

Highest paid trade job:  Carpenters 

Estimated hourly salary: $33 

BLS job growth through 2030:  +6% 

Median annual salary:   $65,000 

As a carpenter, you will be responsible for repairing, installing, and maintaining all types of wood structures. Most employers prefer candidates with vocational training or carpentry apprenticeship. 

Michigan

Highest paid trade job:  Mechanical inspector 

Estimated hourly salary: $40

BLS job growth through 2030:  -3% 

Median annual salary:  $78,000

A mechanical inspector is responsible for enforcing the state's mechanical codes in a particular field. Some of the key requirements for this role include a state-issued Mechanical Contractor's license, a valid driver's license, experience in mechanical, construction, or installation work. 

Minnesota

Highest paid trade job:  Production associate 

Estimated hourly salary: $45

BLS job growth through 2030:  Little or no change 

Median annual salary:   $87,750

A production associate ensures correct quality control of end products and materials in a production line. If you're considering a position as a production associate, you'll need some experience in manufacturing, including knowledge of equipment and the state's manufacturing codes. 

Mississippi

Highest paid trade job:  Field service technician 

Estimated hourly salary: $32

BLS job growth through 2030:  Little or no change 

Median annual salary:  $58,500 

Also known as a field service engineer, this individual performs everyday services such as repair, installation, and maintenance of various equipment. You'll most likely land this job faster if you have at least one year of experience in a related field and a valid driver's license. 

Missouri

Highest paid trade job:  Sales consultant 

Estimated hourly salary: $41

BLS job growth through 2030: Little or no change 

Median annual salary:  $80,000

Sales consultants can earn more than $100,000 a year through salaries and commissions working in retail or manufacturing industries. The exact salary depends on the employer, candidate's experience, and qualifications. 

Montana

Highest paid trade job:  Drivers 

Estimated hourly salary: $30 

BLS job growth through 2030: +13%   

Median annual salary:  $60,000

The exact salary you'll earn as a driver depends on the specific driving job. For example, railroad drivers make $30 an hour on average, working full-time. In most cases, all they need is a high school diploma or GED. 

Nebraska

Highest paid trade job:  Heavy truck and trailer drivers 

Estimated hourly salary: $51 

BLS job growth through 2030:  +6% 

Median annual salary:   $100,000

To become a heavy truck and trailer driver in Montana, you need a valid Commercial Driver's License, preferably with hazmat and tanker endorsements. You'll also need to be at least 21 years old and pass a drug test. Some employers provide training, while others require that you have at least two years experience. 

Nevada

Highest paid trade job:  Cable technician 

Estimated hourly salary: $42 

BLS job growth through 2030:  -1%

Median annual salary:   $83,000 

A cable technician installs data and voice cable systems in commercial and residential settings. Apart from having a high school diploma, you must also pass a drug test, be able to lift at least 75 pounds, and have a clean driving record. 

New Hampshire

Highest paid trade job:  Heavy equipment operator 

Estimated hourly salary: $34

BLS job growth through 2030:  +5% 

Median annual salary:   $68,000

You need a minimum of a high school diploma and apprenticeship or vocational training to become a heavy equipment operator in New Hampshire. You must also have an OSHA 10 certificate and a good driving record. Previous experience operating is a plus for most employers but not a must. 

New Jersey

Highest paid trade job:  Head of security 

Estimated hourly salary: $56 

BLS job growth through 2030:  +15% 

Median annual salary:  $111000 

As the head of security, your job is to oversee the security of an organization's employees, clients, facilities, and assets. Most companies in New Jersey should be willing to hire you if you have a previous background in security roles. 

New Mexico

Highest paid trade job:  Solar sales specialist 

Estimated hourly salary: $51 

BLS job growth through 2030:  +10% 

Median annual salary:  $100,000   

Like other sales careers, a solar sales specialist can earn up to $300,000 a year in salaries and commissions. To be eligible for this role, you must have a minimum of a high school diploma, excellent communication skills, and the ability to pass pre-employment drug tests. 

New York

Highest paid trade job:  Construction site supervisor 

Estimated hourly salary: $61 

BLS job growth through 2030: +11%

Median annual salary:   $120,000 

In New York, most employers will require a high school diploma, US work authorization, a valid driver's license, as the bare minimum to be considered for the role of a construction site manager. It is also a major advantage if you have previous experience in the construction industry. 

North Carolina

Highest paid trade job:  Class A hotshot driver 

Estimated hourly salary: $40

BLS job growth through 2030: +6%  

Median annual salary:   $97,500 

A hotshot driver hauls equipment and special deliveries for clients. The salary varies depending on the materials being hauled. For example, hauling materials from oil fields pay more. 

North Dakota

Highest paid trade job: Locomotive engineers 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030: +5%

Median annual salary:  $60,000

A locomotive engineer drives electric, steam, gas-turbine-electric locomotives to transport freight or passengers. You must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass the e-RAILSAFE pre-employment background check to work as a locomotive engineer in North Dakota. 

Ohio

Highest paid trade job:  Real estate broker 

Estimated hourly salary: $51

BLS job growth through 2030: +4% 

Median annual salary:   $100,000

Real estate agents can earn even more through commissions. To become 

A real estate broker in Ohio, you must be a licensed real estate agent for at least two years, complete at least 20 real estate transactions, and four broker-specific prerequisite courses. 

Oklahoma

Highest paid trade job:  Medical secretaries 

Estimated hourly salary: $24

BLS job growth through 2030: +6% 

Median annual salary:   $48,000

A medical secretary performs secretarial roles using their knowledge of medical terminology, including clinic, laboratory, and hospital procedures. These individuals may be responsible for scheduling appointments, billing, compiling medical reports, and so on. 

Oregon

Highest paid trade job:  Firefighter supervisor 

Estimated hourly salary: $40

BLS job growth through 2030:  +5%

Median annual salary: $79,000

The main responsibility of a firefighter supervisor is to coordinate the activities of firefighters and other workers during fire control or prevention. You'll need previous firefighting experience to land this role. 

Pennsylvania

Highest paid trade job:  Service technician 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030:  Little or no change 

Median annual salary: $60,000 

Service technicians repair, install, and maintain a wide range of equipment. You don't need a college degree to become a service technician, but certification is a must. 

Rhode Island

Highest paid trade job:  Construction foreman 

Estimated hourly salary: $30

BLS job growth through 2030: +7%

Median annual salary:  $60,000  

The main duty of a construction foreman is to coordinate construction work while ensuring compliance with federal and state codes. Therefore, you must have an OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 card or be able to acquire one. 

South Carolina

Highest paid trade job:  Pipefitter 

Estimated hourly salary: $27 

BLS job growth through 2030:  +5%

Median annual salary:  $54,000

A pipefitter builds pipe systems used for heating, cooling, steam, hot water, and more. As their job title suggests, they ensure that pipes are cut and installed as per specifications. 

South Dakota

Highest paid trade job:  Mechanic 

Estimated hourly salary: $21

BLS job growth through 2030:  Little or no change 

Median annual salary:  $40,000

Also known as service technicians in some parts of the country, mechanics inspect and repair vehicles and machinery. Most employers prefer mechanics with Automobile Service Excellence Certifications. 

Tennessee

Highest paid trade job:  Crane operator 

Estimated hourly salary: $27

BLS job growth through 2030:  +5%

Median annual salary:   $53,000

Crane operators lift construction equipment using levers, buttons, and pedals. As of March 2022, there is no state licensing requirement to operate cranes in Tennessee, but most employers prefer candidates with previous experience in construction work. 

Texas

Highest paid trade job:  Boilermakers 

Estimated hourly salary: $32

BLS job growth through 2030:  -1%

Median annual salary: $63,000

A boilermaker is responsible for assembling, repairing, and maintaining boilers and other large containers in ships, buildings, and factories. In Texas, some employers may require that you obtain a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certification to work as a boilermaker. 

Utah

Highest paid trade job:  Insurance appraiser 

Estimated hourly salary: $43

BLS job growth through 2030:  -3%

Median annual salary:   $85000

Also known as a claims adjuster, investigator, or examiner, an insurance appraiser evaluates insurance claims. They usually spend most of their time outside the office inspecting properties on which claims have been filed, such as buildings, automobiles, etc. 

Vermont

Highest paid trade job:  Food and beverage service manager 

Estimated hourly salary: $38

BLS job growth through 2030:  +15%

Median annual salary:   $75,000

Food and beverage managers oversee the operations of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. Although you don't need a college degree for this role, previous experience in the food and beverage industry is preferred. You must also have a food handlers permit and other employer-specific certifications. 

Virginia

Highest paid trade job:  Lodging manager 

Estimated hourly salary: $36

BLS job growth through 2030: +5%

Median annual salary:    $72000

A lodging manager plans, coordinates, or directs the activities of an organization or department that offers accommodation and lodging services. Most employers prefer candidates with previous experience in the hotel and hospitality industry. 

Washington

Highest paid trade job:  Graphic designer 

Estimated hourly salary: $24

BLS job growth through 2030:  +3%

Median annual salary:   $46,800

A graphic designer uses computer software to create visual concepts to communicate with their clients. While most employers prefer candidates with a college degree, it is not required. Instead, many clients will hire you based on your portfolio. 

West Virginia

Highest paid trade job:  Payroll and timekeeping clerk

Estimated hourly salary: $23

BLS job growth through 2030:  Little or no change 

Median annual salary:   $45,000 

A payroll clerk processes employees' timesheets, calculates wages, prepares paychecks, and creates payroll data. You don't need an accounting degree to become a payroll clerk, but you'll need some basic understanding of payroll software such as QuickBooks, Gusto, Workful, etc. 

Wisconsin

Highest paid trade job:  Pharmacy technician 

Estimated hourly salary: $17

BLS job growth through 2030:  +9%

Median annual salary:   $33,000

A pharmacy technician helps a pharmacist distribute prescription and OTC medication to customers. To become a pharmacy technician in Wisconsin, you must be at least 18 years old, be registered with the Board of Pharmacy, and take pharmacy technician training. 

Wyoming 

Highest paid trade job:  Merchandizer 

Estimated hourly salary: $35

BLS job growth through 2030:  Little or no change 

Median annual salary:   $68,250

A merchandizer cultivates relationships with in-store management, executes merchandising resets, and builds retail displays. The exact job responsibilities vary from one employer to the other. In addition, you don't need a college degree to become a merchandiser, but most employers prefer candidates with previous experience in retail. 

Key Takeaways

You don't necessarily need a college degree to get a high-paying job. Many employers are more interested in your skills than your academic qualifications. And if you don't have the required skills, some employers provide on-the-job training.

Jobs in the transport industry seem to pay quite decently. With a good driving record, you can easily earn at least $30 an hour driving locally and even more for out-of-state deliveries.

Medical trade jobs are also high-paying in all U.S. states. The best thing about these jobs is that they always have room for growth. For instance, pharmacist technicians can become orthodontists, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, or anything in between.

Lastly, if you're wondering what jobs have the highest pay, it is important to note that the salaries discussed above are based on gross income. For this reason, the net salary varies depending on deductions such as taxes, Social Security, insurance, and more. 


Katy Boyles |
Katy is our Social Media Manager at Snagajob, where she loves talking to hourly workers and employers all day long. Her first hourly job was as a hostess.