Trade Jobs that Can Pay More than What You Expect

Working as a tradie isn’t quite popular in Australia. Young people would rather spend their days in the office, thinking that was the way to success and fortune. However, trade jobs are providing better wages, oftentimes doubling the earnings of an average office worker.


The average plumber earns $160,000 a year, almost 4 times the wages of an office worker. Plumbers work with water systems, gas lines, heating systems, air conditioning, or almost any system that incorporates piping. Most plumbers will specialise in one or two systems such as HVAC systems or water/irrigation systems. Most plumbers have partnerships with construction companies or building contractors, working on a project basis instead of being employed by a company.

To learn the trade, you can opt to start an apprenticeship or take a plumbing course. The apprenticeship will make you a registered plumber. You’ll work and train under a licensed plumber, learning the various skills over your work period. After four to five years, you can take a licensing exam to qualify as a licensed plumber. Taking a plumbing course is a less popular path, but it is easier. A plumbing course will cover the basics, including gas fitting, fire protection: irrigation, drainage, mechanical service, and roofing.

Most courses extend over 10 to 12 months, but you’ll end up as a licensed plumber once you finish. Most states will have different standards and requirements for plumbers, so you might need to take a trade recognition course if you’re moving from Sydney to Brisbane or crossing any state or territory.

Concrete Finishing

The hardest working concrete finishers or concreter earn more than $110,000 a year, although average ones still earn a generous $80,000. Tho country’s constant urban expansion and road developments ensure there is no lack of work for even the newest workers, and the high demand ensures constantly rising wages. Mixing and pouring concrete are some of the most basic jobs. Concreters must ensure a level surface and work with power tools to minimise or eliminate air bubbles.

Meticulous measurements are taken with the weather taken into consideration to ensure perfect curing and eliminate defects. They must also know how to apply to harden and seal compounds into the concrete to make it waterproof. A concreting course requires two years of study. If you are open to working at heights (where wages get higher), you’ll also need an additional course on safety.

Building Contractor

Builders are more managers than workers, earning more than $100,000 a year. Although a few will have some experience as a tradie, most would have gone to study courses on building and construction. Builders are in charge of most of the construction process, including getting the necessary permits and working with building inspectors. They are in charge of the construction operations, whether it be purchasing materials, supervising crew, bringing in specialists (electricians, plumbers, etc.), and correcting any problems during construction.

A building and construction course requires two years of study. Certification is recognised nationally, so you don’t need a recognition course every time you move out of state. There are no apprenticeship programs, but two years of experience (paid work) as a sub-contractor or as an employee directly under a licensed builder qualifies you for certification.

building contractor

Flooring Installation

Flooring installers can earn more than $100,000 a year, particularly in Sydney. They are in charge of laying out flooring projects, as well as repairing or replacing them. Installers will work with various materials, including tile, wood, carpeting, or more complex materials. The job is done upon installation, with maintenance left to the client. Flooring installers require no specific certifications, but most employers will require a high school diploma or GED. Most installers will increase their expertise by training with specific manufacturers regarding installing their products, thereby commanding higher wages.


Carpenters or “chippies” earn $120,000 a year. Carpentry covers wide fields, including construction work, shipbuilding, residential work, cabinetry, and furniture crafting. Construction work usually involves laying down the framework for steel or concrete beams and working on windows and doors. Shipbuilders build, maintain, and repair boats, with higher wages going to carpenters involved with larger projects like cruise ships and ocean liners. More artistic carpenters use their skills to make cabinets and furniture. The more intricate the detailing and craftsmanship, the higher they can charge for their work. Carpentry programs require 3 years of study; an apprenticeship can take longer.

Learning a trade might be your path to success and fortune, especially since tradies are out-earning office workers by extensive margins.

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