Best Paying Labor Jobs

Updated on February 26, 2024

The labor market is vast and varied, offering numerous opportunities for high-paying jobs that don’t necessarily require a four-year college degree. Many of these positions are in trades or technical fields and can provide lucrative careers for those willing to pursue specialized training or apprenticeships. Here, we explore the top ten high-paying labor jobs, their responsibilities, required education, and job outlooks.

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers play a crucial role in the aviation industry, ensuring the safe movement of aircraft in the skies and on the ground. This high-stress job requires precision and excellent decision-making skills.

  • Average Salary: $129,750
  • Responsibilities: Monitoring and directing the movement of aircraft, managing flight data, and ensuring safety and efficiency in air traffic.
  • Required Education: An associate degree from an Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program and additional FAA certification.

Commercial Pilot

Commercial pilots fly aircraft for various purposes, including charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, and aerial photography, among others.

  • Average Salary: $99,640
  • Responsibilities: Navigating aircraft, conducting pre-flight inspections, and ensuring passenger safety.
  • Required Education: Requirements vary, but commercial pilots must have a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Nuclear Technician

Nuclear technicians assist in the operation of nuclear facilities, playing a critical role in the production of nuclear energy and research.

  • Average Salary: $99,340
  • Responsibilities: Monitoring radiation levels, assisting in nuclear research, and ensuring the safe operation of nuclear reactors.
  • Required Education: An associate degree in nuclear science or a related field, along with on-the-job training.

Elevator and Escalator Mechanic

Specialists in this field work on the installation, maintenance, and repair of elevators, escalators, and other lift systems.

  • Average Salary: $97,860
  • Responsibilities: Maintaining and repairing lift systems, ensuring compliance with safety standards.
  • Required Education: A high school diploma or equivalent, followed by an apprenticeship program.

Radiation Therapist

Radiation therapists are part of oncology teams and specialize in administering radiation treatments to cancer patients.

  • Average Salary: $82,790
  • Responsibilities: Preparing and administering radiation treatments, monitoring patient reactions, and maintaining treatment records.
  • Required Education: An associate degree in radiation therapy.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists work in dental offices, providing preventive oral care and educating patients on how to maintain good oral health.

  • Average Salary: $77,810
  • Responsibilities: Cleaning teeth, examining patients for signs of oral diseases, and providing other preventive dental care.
  • Required Education: An associate degree in dental hygiene.


Also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, ultrasonographers operate specialized equipment to create images or conduct tests.

  • Average Salary: Varies, but the median is around $78,000 for various specializations.
  • Responsibilities: Operating ultrasound equipment, analyzing images, and assisting physicians with diagnoses.
  • Required Education: Postsecondary education, such as an associate degree or a postsecondary certificate.


Boilermakers assemble, install, and repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels that hold liquids and gases.

  • Average Salary: $66,900
  • Responsibilities: Installing boilers and other large containers, performing maintenance and repair work.
  • Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent, along with apprenticeship training.


Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.

  • Average Salary: $60,000
  • Responsibilities: Reading blueprints, installing and maintaining wiring and lighting systems, inspecting electrical components.
  • Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent, plus apprenticeship or vocational training.


Plumbers install and repair water supply lines, waste disposal systems, and related appliances and fixtures to keep homes and businesses flowing smoothly.

  • Average Salary: $60,000
  • Responsibilities: Installing and repairing pipes and fixtures, inspecting plumbing systems, and ensuring compliance with building codes.
  • Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent, followed by vocational training or apprenticeship.

Final Thoughts

The demand for skilled labor is on the rise, presenting numerous opportunities for high-paying jobs across various industries. These roles not only offer competitive salaries but also provide job security and satisfaction. For those considering a career in the trades, the key is to focus on areas with growing demand and to invest in the necessary training and education.

Other Jobs in Industrial and Manufacturing Sectors


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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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