17 Highest Paying Tech Degrees for Trade Jobs [2024 Guide]

Find your perfect value college

ValueColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

In today’s rapidly evolving job market, having a technical degree can be a major asset that leads to high-paying career opportunities. From cutting-edge fields like computer science and engineering to essential vocations like healthcare and skilled trades, pursuing the right technical program can set you up for a lucrative future. 

If maximizing your earning potential is a top priority, see which technical degrees offer the most promising pathways to financial success.

Featured Programs

17 Technical Degrees That Pay Well

Among the various technical degrees that offer lucrative career prospects, radiation therapy, information technology, elevator technician, computer science, and dental hygiene stand out as promising options. These fields combine specialized skills with high demand, resulting in competitive salaries and ample job opportunities.

Choosing a technical degree that offers promising career prospects and earning potential is worthwhile. By pursuing high-paying technical fields, individuals can enjoy competitive salaries, job security, and the potential for upward mobility. 

Technical DegreeAverage SalaryPotential Jobs
Radiation Therapy$89,530Radiation Therapist, Dosimetrist, Medical Physicist
Information Technology$100,530IT Specialist, Network Administrator, Computer Systems Analyst
Elevator Technician$99,000Elevator Constructor, Repair Technician, Elevator Inspector
Computer Science$136,620Software Developer, Computer Systems Analyst, Web Developer
Dental Hygiene$81,400Dental Hygienist, Dental Assistant, Educator
Computer Networking$126,900Network Administrator, Network Architect, Network Support Specialist
Web Developing$80,730Web Developer, Front-End Developer, Back-End Developer
System Administration$90,520System Administrator, Network Administrator, IT Manager
Diagnostic Medical Sonography$81,350Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Ultrasound Technician
Database Management$112,120Database Administrator, Data Analyst, Data Scientist
Respiratory Therapy$70,540Respiratory Therapist, Pulmonary Function Technologist
Electrical Technology$66,390Electrician, Electrical Technician, Electrical Engineer
Cybersecurity$112,000Cybersecurity Analyst, Information Security Specialist, Penetration Tester
Plumbing $60,090Plumber, Pipefitter, Plumbing Inspector
Software Development$124,200Software Developer, Software Engineer, Mobile App Developer
Wind Turbine Technology$57,320Wind Turbine Technician, Field Service Technician
Legal Assistant$59,200Paralegal, Legal Assistant, Legal Secretary

The following tech school degrees offer a glimpse of the best technical degrees with the highest salaries. Note that the salary data is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and represents the median pay for 2022 unless specifically noted.

1. Radiation Therapy

X-ray of a human head

Students interested in working as radiation therapists will find that this career offers one of the highest-paying jobs from tech schools in the market (as well as being one of the highest paying community college degrees). Those seeking an associate degree program will likely need two years to complete the degree (the certificate program will take less time).

This includes significant hands-on training to allow students to gain first-hand knowledge as they prepare for a seamless entry into the healthcare profession. Fortunately, many radiation therapy or certificate programs offer hybrid learning options that offer flexibility in scheduling. Radiation therapists are typically required to be certified or licensed by a state authority. 

While state requirements vary, most radiation therapists must pass a certification examination at the national level. Radiation therapists provide vital services in the healthcare industry, primarily to those who are under treatment for cancer. Professionals generally work under the supervision of medical doctors (i.e., oncologists) and radiologists. 

Graduates of a radiation therapy program can enter the workforce as a radiation therapist technologist, consultant, or radiation therapist, among others. The median salary for radiation therapists in 2022 was $89,530 per year, which translates to $43.04 per hour. 

Additionally, job growth for radiation therapists is expected to be nearly twice the average of all occupations – at 7% through 2029, as the demand for these services rises due to an aging population as well as the many significant technological advances in available radiation therapies. 

  • Career Options: Radiation therapists typically are full-time workers employed by physicians, outpatient medical facilities, or hospitals, among other settings.
  • Average Salary: $89,530
  • Degree Level: Certificate or Associate’s

2. Information Technology

Laptop showing the code scripts

Information Technology (IT) is a field that offers promising career prospects and lucrative earning potential, making it one of the best technological degrees to pursue. At its core, IT involves the study of how people utilize technology and computing systems to manage data and information effectively.

An IT degree equips students with a comprehensive understanding of computer systems, software, networks, and data storage and retrieval mechanisms. This knowledge is vital in today’s digital era, where technology plays a pivotal role across virtually every industry sector. 

IT professionals possess a unique blend of technical skills, including proficiency in databases, networks, hardware, software development, information security, coding, and operating systems. Additionally, they cultivate beneficial soft skills such as communication, organization, analytical thinking, creativity, and project management.

The demand for IT professionals is consistently high, and the earning potential is substantial. For instance, IT analysts, who analyze an organization’s IT operations and provide recommendations, earn an average national salary of $76,990 per year. 

IT technicians responsible for providing basic technical support for hardware and software can expect an average national salary of $100,530 per year. With its versatility, relevance across industries, and lucrative career paths, an IT degree emerges as a compelling choice for individuals seeking a financially rewarding and future-proof career in the technological industry.

  • Career Options: Some high-paying careers in this field include data architects, network administrators, web developers, IT analysts, and IT technicians. 
  • Average Salary: $100,530
  • Degree Level: Bachelor’s or certificate

3. Elevator Technician

Person pressing the buttons on an elevator

Students interested in a career as an elevator or escalator technician will be required to typically complete an apprenticeship, vocational school training, or on-the-job program (which varies but is generally four to five years). The apprenticeship program is organized where a student completes a certain number of hours of technical education (similar to a certificate program) plus paid job training. 

Applicants for elevator apprenticeship programs must hold a high school diploma or equivalent. While state regulations vary, most states will require elevator technicians to be licensed.

Elevator technicians are considered a highly technical job requiring the skill to interpret blueprints, assemble components, know electrical work, and troubleshoot elevator or escalator malfunctions 24 hours per day. While not typically required, many elevator technicians choose to become certified to demonstrate their proficiency and competency as professionals. 

Available certifications include Certified Accessibility & Private Resident Lift Tech, Certified Elevator Tech, or Qualified Elevator Inspector. Elevator technicians should consider that the work is often done at great heights or within small, cramped spaces.

This degree offers an impressive median salary in 2022 of $99,000 per year, which is $47.60 hourly, among the highest-paying tech degrees. The job growth for elevator technicians in the next decade is anticipated to be 7% and outpace the average of all occupations by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.

  • Career Options: An elevator technician is often responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing elevators, lifts, and moving walkways.
  • Average Salary: $99,000
  • Degree Level: Certificate 

4. Computer Science

Woman working on a desk with two monitors and a laptop

Computer science is widely regarded as one of the best technological degrees that pays well, offering many lucrative career opportunities nowadays. A computer science degree equips students with valuable technical skills that employers across various industries highly seek after.

In this program, students develop coding, algorithm design and analysis, and software development skills. They learn to think critically, solve complex problems, and spearhead the creation of new technologies.

Unlike the more general information technology degree, a computer science curriculum emphasizes the theoretical foundations of information technology and digital development.

Students explore the intricacies of design, development, and software analysis to gain a deeper understanding of system functions and behaviors. The program covers topics such as why certain designs are more effective than others and how different data processes can impact program performance.

  • Career Options: Some high-paying career options available to computer science graduates include data scientists, systems analysts, computer programmers, web optimization specialists, and IT security administrators.
  • Average Salary: $136,620
  • Degree Level: Bachelor’s, Certificate, or Master’s

5. Dental Hygiene

Dentist chair and equipment

Dental hygienists are mandated to complete an associate’s degree that typically can be completed in approximately two to three years, depending on a student’s time commitment. Dental hygiene programs offer some of the highest-paying tech school jobs and are available in tech schools.

Applicants should meet the dental hygiene prerequisite classes before applying to the program. While specific requirements vary by school, some associate degrees offer certain classes through hybrid-delivered degree programs. 

Dental hygienists typically find rewarding careers working in dental offices or facilities. Dental hygienists provide preventive dental care, take and develop x-rays, and examine patients for symptoms of oral diseases like gingivitis. A dental hygienist works with various technical dental tools to remove stains, tartar, and plaque from teeth. 

Hygiene also includes educating patients regarding oral care and oral care devices, always under the supervision of a dentist. The median salary for dental hygienists during 2022 was $81,400 annually, which translates to $39.14 per hour. That’s one of the highest-paying associate degrees out there. 

We connected with Jerome L. Rekart, Ph.D., who has over 15 years of experience in educational research, and he recommends getting a dental hygiene degree if you’re looking for a career with stability:

“A degree in dental hygiene leads to a solid career that has almost no possibility of being replaced by artificial intelligence or robots, typically has good benefits, and provides an opportunity to work in a professional setting that doesn’t experience periods of downturn or mass layoffs.”

Job growth for the dental hygienist profession is anticipated to be 6% over the next ten years, faster than the expected growth of US occupations over the same time period. There were more than 225,000 dental hygiene professionals working in the United States in 2019.

  • Career Options: Dental treatment coordinator, health educator, researcher, dental office manager, medical sales representative.
  • Average Salary: $81,400
  • Degree Level: Associate’s

6. Computer Networking

Woman monitoring multiple monitors and information

Computer networking is a highly specialized and sought-after technological field, making it one of the best degrees that pay well in today’s interconnected industries. This discipline focuses on the intricate processes and technologies that enable computer networks to function effectively.

A degree in computer networking equips students with a comprehensive understanding of how computers connect and interact. This includes both physical connections, such as wires and cables, as well as wireless options like Wi-Fi and cloud-based computing. 

Students gain hands-on experience in areas like device installation, repairs, and troubleshooting, ensuring they are well-prepared to tackle real-life networking challenges.

In a computer networking program, students study various aspects of network management, including server configurations, local area networking (LAN), router management, and cloud technology. 

These courses give them the necessary skills to design, implement, and maintain robust and secure network infrastructures. With a degree in computer networking, graduates can pursue a variety of lucrative career paths.

With a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills, a degree in computer networking opens doors to a wide range of career options with excellent earning potential and opportunities for professional growth.

  • Career Options: Computer networking graduates may find opportunities as network engineers, network security specialists, cloud architects, and system administrators, among others.
  • Average Salary: $126,900
  • Degree Level: Associate’s, Bachelor’s

7. Web Developing

Two monitors on a table

Web development is a technical career that requires at least a certificate program (which can be secured from a coding bootcamp) or associate degree program to meet most entry-level job requirements and offers students one of the high-paying tech school jobs. Web development includes the study of computer science programming languages like SQL or JavaScript. 

Additionally, web developers often excel in computer programs and publishing tools, including Flash. Web development also requires professionals to interact with clients regularly, which requires excellent communication skills in addition to the required technical skills.

Web developers and digital designers take programming classes and integrate audio, graphics, and video into a website. Web developers are creative types who create the reality of a client’s vision depending on the type of website, for example, e-commerce or gaming. 

Of the approximately 175,000 web developers in the United States in 2019, about 17% worked in computer systems design, with 10% in publishing, 10% self-employed, 5% in consulting/management, and another 4% in advertising or public relations. 

The median annual salary in 2022 for web developers and digital designers was $80,730 per year, which translates to $38.81 hourly. Statisticians anticipate job growth through 2029 of 8%, which is considered much faster than the average of all United States occupations.

  • Career Options:  You may also get into software development, digital marketing, computer hardware, management information systems, computer networks, data analytics, and cloud computing.
  • Average Salary: $80,730
  • Degree Level: Certificate or Associate’s

8. System Administration

Software engineer standing beside server racks

System administration is a critical field within the broader domain of information technology, and a degree in this area can pave the way for a lucrative and rewarding career. A degree in system administration will equip you with a deep understanding of how hardware and software interact and function together.

Working as a system administrator often involves designing comprehensive plans for a company’s IT operations and troubleshooting and resolving issues as they arise. You’ll also gain experience installing and updating software and overseeing various tasks related to the organization’s computer systems.

The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including team management, program oversight, risk assessment, network administration, testing methodologies, operating system management, and device management. This multifaceted approach helps graduates possess the diverse skill set necessary to thrive in this dynamic field.

Many educational institutions offer associate degree programs in system administration, providing students with a solid foundation in the theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline. With the ever-increasing reliance on technology across industries, the demand for skilled system administrators and IT professionals continues to grow.

The median annual salary in 2022 for system admins was $90,520 per year, which translates to $43.52 hourly.

  • Career Options: Upon graduating, you can explore various high-paying career opportunities, such as system administrator, IT manager, and cybersecurity professional.
  • Average Salary: $90,520
  • Degree Level: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Certificate

9. Diagnostic Medical Sonography  

Woman looking at an ultrasound

Diagnostic medical sonographers are required to complete formal education to work professionally. Programs are available with associate degrees, with employers preferring graduates of CAAHEP-accredited degree programs. 

Students studying to become a diagnostic medical sonographer complete coursework in applied science, anatomy, and medical terminology, typically over one to two years. Additionally, diagnostic medical sonographers complete clinical components during training, working alongside seasoned sonographers. 

Diagnostic medical sonographers often choose to earn certification to highlight their skills. The profession requires an exam from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). 

In May 2022, more than 81,000 diagnostic medical sonographers worked in the country, with a median annual salary of $81,350 or $39.11 per hour. The federal government’s statisticians anticipate the job growth for the field of diagnostic medical sonography to be about 17%, which is significantly faster than average. 

With about 75,000 working diagnostic medical sonographers in 2019, the expected job growth translates to more than 12,000 new jobs in the field through the next decade.

  • Career Options: They find rewarding careers working in hospitals, physician’s offices, diagnostic labs, universities, or outpatient facilities, to name a few. 
  • Average Salary: $81,350
  • Degree Level: Associate’s

10. Database Management

Coding system scripting language

A bachelor’s program often consists of 120 semester credits, which you can finish in four years of full-time study. You’ll study subjects related to the fundamental concepts of computer science, metadata analysis, information security, database and application programming, structured query language (SQL), and web development.

Database management is an area of information technology that teaches you how to understand database structures and develop systems for storing information.

With a diploma, you can use your technical and practical skills to apply for jobs as a database manager, computer network architect, chief technology officer, information security analyst, and SQL administrator.

  • Career Options: A technical degree specializing in database management can secure a job as a database developer, business intelligence officer, support specialist, data modeler, and software administrator.
  • Average Salary: $112,120
  • Degree Level: Associate’s, Bachelor’s 

11. Respiratory Therapy

Oxygen tank

Students interested in a career as respiratory therapists must complete their associate degrees, although some students choose to earn a baccalaureate degree in respiratory therapy instead. Every state except Alaska requires respiratory therapists to be licensed. Each state determines the requirements for professionals working within its jurisdiction, most of which require a comprehensive exam. 

Students can enroll in a vocational/tech school, college/university, or the armed forces to receive training. Many states require respiratory therapists to complete an academic degree program that is CARC-accredited.

Respiratory therapists can also choose to become certified by the National Board for Respiratory Care, which offers two levels of respiratory therapy – CRT and RRT. Classes for this degree include CPR, pharmacology, chemistry, and anatomy, plus a comprehensive clinical component.

In 2022, respiratory therapists earned an annual salary of $70,540, or $33.91 per hour. That makes it one of the highest-paying associate degrees. However, those earning at the top of the scale pull in nearly $90,000 per year. 

There were about 135,000 respiratory therapists working in the country in 2019. It is anticipated that the job growth for respiratory therapy professionals will be 19% – significantly faster than all other occupations combined (4%). 

  • Career options: Respiratory therapist professionals are typically employed on a full-time basis in hospitals or other medical facilities, helping patients who have breathing issues that may stem from emphysema, asthma, or other chronic respiratory diseases. 
  • Average Salary: $70,540
  • Degree Level: Associate’s 

12. Electrical Technology

Electrician fixing a line

Professionals who wish to work in electrical technology should complete an associate degree program to become eligible for entry-level work in the field. Electrical technologists and technicians assist electrical engineers as they develop electrical equipment and troubleshoot equipment malfunctions. 

Associate degree programs are typically available from a tech or vocational school, or a community college that offers electrical tech. Students enrolled in electrical technology programs will complete coursework in chemistry, physics, circuitry, and programming, to name a few. 

Electrical technologists can earn certifications administered by the International Society of Automation, the NICET – the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, or ETA International. Electrical technicians also possess technical skills like reading schematics and blueprints and testing lab equipment to determine if it meets the required specifications.

During 2022, the median pay for electrical technologists and technicians was $66,390 per year, or $31.92/hour. Additionally, approximately 125,000 electrical technology professionals were working in the nation in 2019. At the top of the scale, electrical technicians can earn about $100,000 per year. 

The top-paying industries for electrical technology professionals include natural gas, the government, publishing, and specialized design services, among others. Depending on the exact job description, electrical technicians may be required to work at night or day, contingent upon production scheduling. Work environments include labs, offices, and factories, to name a few.

  • Career options: Electrical technologists and technicians assist engineers who design equipment with regard to communication equipment, computers, GIS equipment, and medical monitoring equipment, to name a few. 
  • Average Salary: $66,390
  • Degree Level: Associate’s

13. Cybersecurity

Screen capture of the word Security on a PC monitor

A degree in cybersecurity teaches you how to apply security principles to different systems. In addition, you’ll develop critical-thinking skills in analyzing and evaluating systems to prevent threats or respond to risks. Another advantage of this program is that you’ll understand how legal and ethical principles apply in cybersecurity.

It’s best to choose an area to specialize in. For instance, you can concentrate on networks, data, or information systems. Regardless, you’ll encounter subjects like computer science theory, hacking, cryptography, engineering techniques, and advanced research.

Once you finish this program, you can excel in the industry as a cybersecurity analyst, IT security auditor, systems integration engineer, incident manager, and cloud security consultant.

  • Career Options: An information security officer, penetration tester, forensic investigator, cloud security specialist, and incident response investigator are among some of the best careers you can take on with a cybersecurity diploma.
  • Average Salary: $112,000
  • Degree Level: Associate’s, Certificate, Bachelor’s 

14. Plumbing 

A line of faucet outdoors

Students with a serious interest in a plumbing career can enter the profession as an apprentice or earn a diploma from a vocational tech school. Most states and even local authorities require professional plumbers to be licensed and meet district requirements. They generally mandate applicants to have three to five years of professional plumbing experience.

The coursework offered to plumbing students includes classes in the proper use of tools, safety issues, knowledge of local plumbing codes, and pipe system design, to name a few. A more advanced plumber, a journey-level plumber, is allowed to work independently, with most states requiring plumbing contractors to reach the master’s level. 

Professional plumbers must have physical strength, dexterity, and mechanical skills, to name a few. Plumbers possess a plethora of skills that allow them to install pipes/fittings that safely carry gas, water, or other substances. 

Depending on the nature of the project, plumbers may use a variety of construction techniques and materials, like plastic or copper. Additionally, plumbers maintain septic systems that connect to large sewer systems.

In 2022, the median annual pay for plumbers was $60,090 or $28.89 per hour. Job growth for plumbers over the next decade is anticipated to be 4%, which is about average. With nearly 500,000 plumbing and pipe fitting professionals, there should be more than 20,000 new jobs created by 2029.

  • Career Options: Plumbers work across industries, installing and repairing pipes in businesses, factories, and residential properties.
  • Average Salary: $60,090
  • Degree Level: Diploma

15. Software Development

Group of people sitting on a table during a work meeting

Software development refers to the process of designing, creating, deploying, and supporting software. You’ll often use programming, web frameworks, and computing platforms. You can make computer and other tech systems programmable with software architecture knowledge.

With this degree, you’ll learn to conduct exploratory research, develop a process and data flow design, and use flow charts. More than that, you’ll hone skills in working on technical records, discovering and removing bugs, and software testing.

Quite like a web development degree, getting a software development diploma will teach you how to code and interpret programming languages. You can specialize as a software engineer, mobile development specialist, cloud engineer, full-stack developer, or DevOps engineer.

  • Career Options: With a software development degree, you can jumpstart your career as a game developer, code developer, applications engineer, backend developer, and software architect. 
  • Average Salary: $124,200
  • Degree Level: Diploma, Associate’s, Certificate, Bachelor’s

16. Wind Turbine Technology

Windmills installed on a vast field

Students who want to pursue a career in the field of wind turbine technology will need to complete a non-degree certificate program or associate degree in wind turbine energy technology after they complete high school. 

Coursework for a wind turbine certificate or associate degree program will include electrical/hydraulic maintenance, mechanical systems, computers, braking and rescue/safety, and first aid. In addition, professional organizations offer wind turbine technology certifications that demonstrate the professional’s competence and proficiency.

Wind Turbine Technology technicians perform routine tasks such as the installation and maintenance of wind turbines, mechanical devices that create electricity from wind energy. They also collect data that is used to improve services through extensive analysis. A wind turbine technician may work in an office and travel to work sites when needed. 

In 2019, the number of wind turbine technologists working in the country was approximately 7,000. However, statisticians anticipate the job market for wind turbine technology to explode with 61% growth over the next ten years. 

The median pay for wind turbine energy technicians in 2022 was $57,320 per year or $27.56 hourly. It’s one of the highest-paying associate degree jobs

  • Career options: Most wind turbine technicians are employed by electrical power transmission companies or industrial machinery maintenance, among others.
  • Average Salary: $57,320
  • Degree Level: Certificate or Associate’s 

17. Legal Assistant

Person signing a document

Legal assistants, like paralegal roles, work alongside attorneys, performing various tasks and supporting legal professionals. Students with a strong interest in a legal assistant career will be required to earn a certificate or, more preferably, an associate degree in legal studies.

Employers tend to prefer paralegal studies programs that are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Additionally, legal assistants may choose to earn a voluntary certification offered by a number of professional organizations in the field. 

Legal assistants possess great interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills. They are often tasked with meeting strict deadlines on a variety of projects going on simultaneously. Many need to work overtime to meet tight deadlines.

Legal assistants assist attorneys as they prepare for trials, meetings, and hearings. A legal assistant’s professional duties will be contingent on the size of the firm or if the legal assistant has a legal specialty, like intellectual property, family law, real estate, or employee benefits, among others. 

There were nearly 340,000 legal assistants and paralegals working in 2019. The industry expects a 10% job growth rate over the next decade, 2.5 times the national job growth average of 4%. In 2022, the annual median pay for legal assistants was $59,200 or $28.46 per hour. 

  • Career Options: Most legal assistants work in legal services, the government, or management, among others.
  • Average Salary: $59,200
  • Degree Level: Certificate or Associate’s 

Why Should I Study Trade-Related Degrees?

Many students find that, upon graduating from high school, college may not be the right path to reach their career objectives. Some students conclude that they can reach their career goals by enrolling in a more trade-oriented career preparation program, which may require:

Woman wearing a hard hat while holding a tool
  • Less education
  • Fewer time commitments
  • Significantly less financial investment than a more traditional four-year academic program.

Trade or tech schools offer post-secondary education focused on a specific trade or skill, offering the preparation necessary to possess the minimum qualifications to enter high-paying jobs in the trade field.

Is It Worth Getting a Tech Degree Diploma?

Earning a tech degree may be worth it if you can use it to get well-paying career paths with promising job outlooks. For instance, computer and information systems degrees expect a 15% growth from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for any other occupation. With this growth, you can expect high earning potential.

It pays to have a tech degree diploma, as its coursework can give you an edge in the competitive job market. You can use your practical skills, technical knowledge, and problem-solving abilities to compete with other applicants.

Why Do Trade Jobs Pay So High?

Trade jobs pay so much because of supply and demand.

“Almost everyone will require the services of a plumber at some point in their life, so that increases the demand for those jobs,” shares Dr. Jerome Rekart. “Similarly, the technical skills and rarity of some positions, like those that work on wind turbines, are still developing, so finding an expert is hard to do, which can drive up the wages (and demand) for those who are skilled in this.”

As another example, according to the National Electrical Contractors Association, more than 10,000 electricians are retiring every year, yet only 7,000 new ones are replacing them.

High demand and a shortage of experts mean skilled laborers in the trades can charge more. Generations of young people being told to get a bachelor’s degree and go into professional work also create a shortage. You can get into almost any trade with just an associate degree, resulting in a much higher return on investment.

What Kinds of Degrees Do Tech Schools Offer?

You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to get a high-paying job; an associate degree in the right field is all you need. Tech schools offer several types of tech degrees that pay well. These are detailed below.

Windmills lined up on a vast seaside area

Tech School Diploma or Certificate Program

Tech and vocational schools offer students the option to earn a diploma or certificate in a specific area of study, which is often completed in a year or less. 

A registered nurse program is a great example of a diploma program offering students entry into one of the highest-paying jobs with a tech school degree available.

Tech School Associate Degree Program

Some of the best tech school degrees, like those of a respiratory therapist, require a more comprehensive program. The next level of a post-secondary program available from a technical or vocational school is an associate degree, which is offered, most often, in these degrees:

  • AS degree: Associate of Science Degree Program
  • AA degree: Associate of Arts Degree Program
  • AAS degree: Associate of Applied Science Degree Program

Associate degree programs typically require approximately 60 credit units to graduate, which is completed traditionally in two years. Plus, earning an associate degree is a smart starting place for students wanting to earn their bachelor’s degree. Community college is another place for these high-paying careers.

Non-Credit Programs

Some of the best tech school jobs require no formal degree. In these instances, students can prepare for that career by completing a non-credit program. Some tech school jobs that pay well without a degree include laboratory techs and commercial divers.

These are by no means all the options. Others include:

  • Occupational therapy assistants
  • Nuclear technicians
  • Mechanical engineering technicians
  • Air traffic controllers
  • Radiologic and MRI technologists
  • Medical equipment repairers
  • Computer support specialists
Person fixing the plumbing system

What Are Tips for Choosing the Best Tech Degree?

It helps to consider your interests, skill sets, and strengths. Also, consider your long-term goals and the job market as you make your pick.

  • Think about potential career paths: Choose a program that offers a broad range of career opportunities if you’re still unsure about the job you want to do after graduation.
  • Follow your passions: It pays to consider your passion as it can help you produce better work output, helping you achieve higher compensation and better employment benefits.
  • Examine the course requirements: Before enrolling, you can check a school’s website or consult a counselor about the courses you’ll most likely study in your program.

How to Pick the Right Trade Career

Ultimately, the decision about what career to pursue is your decision. Consider these factors when making this important decision.

  • Your interests: What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
  • Your skill set: What areas are you most skilled in? Which life experience will help you in your career choice?
  • Your passions and dreams: What are your life goals? What dreams do you have?

Review the highest-paying jobs from tech schools. These high-paying tech school jobs offer students a comprehensive cross-section of a variety of industries that offer the highest-paying tech school jobs.

Related Questions

Which Tech Degree Pays the Most?

According to various sources, a degree in computer science or cybersecurity tends to offer some of the highest-paying prospects among technology-related fields. However, earning potential can vary significantly based on factors such as location, industry, and experience.

What Tech Skill Pays the Most?

In the technology field, skills related to artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data science are currently in high demand and command some of the highest salaries. Proficiency in cutting-edge technologies like cloud computing, cybersecurity, and DevOps can lead to lucrative career opportunities.

What Two-Year Degrees Pay the Most?

Among two-year degree programs, some of the highest-paying options include radiation therapy, air traffic control, diagnostic medical sonography, and nuclear technology. These fields often involve specialized training and certifications, leading to competitive salaries upon graduation.

Can I Use a Trade School Degree in Healthcare?

Medical professionals are in high demand. There are many healthcare associate degree jobs you can get from a trade school, including occupational therapy assistants, radiologic and MRI technologists, medical equipment repairers, and more. These are just a few ways medical professionals can start their careers.

Is It Challenging to Earn a Technical Degree?

A tech degree may seem difficult, especially at first, because the coursework requires a great deal of technical knowledge, and some concepts have a high learning curve. Another challenge is staying up to date on constant developments in the tech industry.


Ultimately, knowing the tech degrees that pay well can open doors to financial stability and career advancement. Whether through a four-year degree program or a specialized two-year certification, investing in the right technical education can lead to a rewarding and financially secure future in a constantly evolving job market.

Related Ranking:

Featured Programs

Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

Find your perfect value college

ValueColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Enter a search word or phrase