18 Highest Paying Trades in Australia (Plus Primary Duties)

Updated 23 April 2023

A trade job can be a great option if you enjoy challenging, hands-on work. Jobs in this field require vocational schooling or training and often pay well for the specialised skill set they require. Whether you are applying to trade schools or researching trade jobs in your area, learning about the wide variety of high-paying trade careers available can help you choose a career that best suits your interests. In this article, we discuss the salaries and job responsibilities of the 18 highest paying trades in Australia.

Related: Vocational Training: Definition and Different Types

18 highest paying trades in Australia

Here are the 18 highest paying trades in Australia:

1. HVAC technician

National average salary: $127,390 per year

Primary duties: One of the highest paying trades in Australia is that of an HVAC technician. HVAC technicians install, repair and maintain heating, ventilation, refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. An HVAC technician can perform repairs on larger industrial units and smaller residential units. HVAC technicians can make a positive impact on the environment by installing equipment that saves both energy and their clients' money. Their services improve the air quality and thermal comfort of their client's homes. Other duties include changing old filters, installing heat pumps that reduce carbon emissions and upgrading equipment.


  • 12 HVAC Careers (With Typical Duties and Average Salaries)

  • How To Become a Refrigeration Mechanic (With Skills)

2. Painter

National average salary: $97,471 per year

Primary duties: Painters apply paints, stains, enamels, varnishes and lacquers to buildings. A painter might paint the interiors or exteriors of walls, facades, fixtures and trimmings on both residential and commercial buildings. In addition to applying coats of paints and other materials, a painter's duties include preparing surfaces to be painted such as by sanding, mixing paints or stains and setting up ventilation systems to prevent inhaling harmful fumes.


  • What Does a Vehicle Painter Do? (With Environment and Skills)

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3. Landscaper

National average salary: $96,783 per year

Primary duties: Landscapers design, construct and maintain outdoor spaces like parks or gardens. When beginning a new project, landscapers plan and discuss their design with their clients before implementing the design. A landscaper's duties vary depending on the needs of their client and the designated outdoor space but may include planting flowers, trimming bushes, repairing outside equipment or mowing lawns. Landscapers might also work to eliminate pests from an outdoor space.

4. Carpenter

National average salary: $86,328 per year

Primary duties: Carpenters construct a variety of structures with materials like wood, plastic and steel. A carpenter might create structures integral to a building, such as foundations and walls. They may also build smaller components within a building, like cabinets and window frames. Other responsibilities include helping their supervisors with structural plans, evaluating the quality of woodwork or other building materials and creating scaffolding.

Read more: What Is a Carpenter? (Including a Guide To Help You Start Your Career)

5. Electrician

National average salary: $85,283 per year

Primary duties: An electrician inspects, repairs, installs, evaluates and maintains electrical systems and appliances. Electricians can work on buildings under construction or on existing buildings. An electrician must be able to interpret technical drawings of electrical systems, install electric controls and wiring, adhere to internal or governmental electrical regulations and troubleshoot electrical problems.

6. Handyman

National average salary: $85,232 per year

Primary duties: Handymen perform maintenance tasks on a variety of appliances and equipment. Also known as handypersons or maintenance workers, handymen may evaluate and repair plumbing or heating systems, machinery, appliances like laundry machines, floors and other systems or equipment. A handyperson might specialize in fixing and maintaining specific systems and appliances or know how to repair a range of them.

7. Dental hygienist

National average salary: $84,469 per year

Primary duties: Dental hygienists clean teeth and provide patients with preventative dental care. They also help educate patients on good oral hygiene, including how to properly brush and floss to prevent dental problems, such as cavities. A dental hygienist's duties include cleaning and polishing their patients' teeth, taking X-rays as needed to diagnose dental issues and updating patient medical records.

8. Concreter

National average salary: $84,389 per year

Primary duties: Concreters help ensure that concrete pours and sets in the correct places. Concrete is a highly durable construction material but also one that requires expertise to pour, mould, reinforce, apply a sealant to or decorate. Duties include calculating curing time based on temperature and other relevant factors, creating the forms into which the concrete gets poured and smoothing the concrete with tools like trowels.

Related: What Does a Concreter Do? (With Responsibilities And Salary)

9. Inspector

National average salary: $83,191 per year

Primary duties: Inspectors do a thorough inspection of the exterior and interior of a newly built or previously owned building to make sure it is safe for people to be inside. They train to become familiar with heating, plumbing, electrical and structural systems in the home. They also need to be familiar with different construction methods and know the strengths and weaknesses of various types of homes. Inspectors need to be physically fit to climb ladders and move through crawlspace areas. Duties include finding and assessing cracks in foundation walls, leaking gas lines, structural issues and rotten wood.

10. Builder

National average salary: $81,318 per year

Primary duties: Builders help construct a variety of structures, including roads, houses, industrial facilities and schools. They might build these structures from start to finish or they may assist with smaller components or repairs. Their responsibilities vary depending on the type of building project but may include making scaffolding, reporting or fixing safety hazards, using a variety of tools and equipment and creating careful documentation of their work.

11. Boilermaker

National average salary: $81,052 per year

Primary duties: Boilermakers assemble and install boilers, tanks and vats that contain liquids or gases, such as oil and other chemicals. They may also operate machines, such as robotic welders. Boilermakers' work is physically demanding, and they may work outside in a variety of weather. A boilermaker's duties include reading blueprints that indicate how the parts of the boiler fit together, assembling boilers through processes such as welding and riveting, ensuring that boilers are free of defects and performing maintenance tasks on boilers.

12. Roofer

National average salary: $79,863 per year

Primary duties: Roofers construct, maintain and repair roofs of houses, public facilities and other buildings. A roofer needs to understand how to use a variety of roofing materials, such as shingles or asphalt, to build a solid roof that can help protect the rest of the building from damage. Roofers may perform tasks such as inspecting roofs for damage, using sealants to reduce the risk of leaks, fitting insulation or vapour barriers and cutting materials into the correct shape or angle.

Related: How to Write a Roofer Resume (With Tips and Example)

13. Lighting consultant

National average salary: $72,615 per year

Primary duties: Lighting consultants offer advice to construction crews, architects, interior designers or clients about the best type of lighting for a given space. Also called a lighting designer, a lighting consultant must consider both the aesthetics of a place and technical concerns, such as how the lighting might fit in with the building's existing wiring. Lighting consultants plan, design, install or upgrade the lighting fixtures and system in various types of buildings.

14. Plumber

National average salary: $69,146 per year

Primary duties: Plumbers install and repair water and gas supply lines. They also install appliances that connect to water supply lines, including bathtubs, sinks, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines. Plumbers need critical-thinking skills to weigh the pros and cons of different solutions available. They also need to be physically strong to lift equipment and tools. Besides installing and maintaining pipes and appliances, plumbers also clear obstructions from sinks or drains, test water pressure and estimate repair costs.

Related: How To Become a Roof Plumber in 3 Simple Steps

15. Bricklayer

National average salary: $66,426 per year

Primary duties: A bricklayer places bricks, concrete blocks or stones in mortar. Bricklayers understand proper techniques for layering different types of materials, such as the kind of mortar to use. A bricklayer must be able to interpret building plans, perform basic calculations such as the angle to lay their bricks and adhere to all safety standards.

16. Exterminator

National average salary: $63,511 per year

Primary duties: Exterminators eliminate or prevent pests like bugs and mice from occupying buildings. Also known as pest control technicians or pest control workers, exterminators use a variety of tools to eradicate and deter pests, including chemical solutions, mechanical traps and pesticides. Other responsibilities include identifying the type of pests present within a building, evaluating the best method for removing or deterring that type of pest and giving clients information about safety hazards related to their pest treatments.

17. Plasterer

National average salary: $53,539 per year

Primary duties: A plasterer puts layers of plaster, stucco, mortar or cement on walls, floors and ceilings. These materials help strengthen building surfaces and prepare them for decorations. Plasterers determine the best materials to use on a particular building, mix their own plaster or another type of material and then apply them to the interiors or exteriors of a building.

18. Removalist

National average salary: $50,073 per year

Primary duties: Removalists help people move furniture and belongings from one building to another. Also known as a removals worker or mover, a removalist helps customers pack up their belongings in a way that minimises potential damage during the move, such as by separating furniture into smaller pieces or wrapping delicate items in packing materials. A removalist also loads and unloads these belongings from their vehicles into the building, keeps track of the customers' belongings and removes doors or doorframes to make it easier to carry belongings in and out.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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