Best Paying Jobs for Workers With High School Degrees
With a high school degree, you face a number of different paths ahead of you. You may choose to enter the workforce immediately or to pursue higher education or training. While U.S. workers with only a high school diploma face an unemployment rate nearly twice that of college educated workers (6.1 to 3.1) and earn significantly less on average*, workers without college degrees do have options for lucrative careers. A new analysis from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. details the best paying occupations for workers with high school degrees and the type of training it takes to get the job.As of this year, there are 115 occupations that require a high school diploma and pay $20 per hour or more on average. Of those, 70 percent typically require moderate to long-term on-the-job training or apprenticeships; 30 percent typically require short-term or no on-the-job training. In several of these jobs, workers may need to attend vocational school or other non-college-level training programs to achieve licensure or certification. Additionally, entry-level requirements will vary by state, locality and employer.**
A successful career path will always require the worker to pursue additional skills and training in order to obtain better pay and positions. That being said, check out these 10 high-paying positions with short-term or no training, followed by 10 jobs requiring moderate or long-term training.
The 10 highest paying jobs for high school graduates: short-term or no training
High-paying occupations for high school graduates aren't necessarily entry-level jobs. For instance, first-line supervisors, regardless of discipline, typically require one to five years of prior work experience. The following are the 10 highest-paying, non-farm jobs that require a high school diploma for minimum entry and require short-term or no on-the-job training:
|Med. hourly earnings||
|2010 - 2014 growth||
|Transportation, storage and distribution managers||$39.27||104,095||7%||None|
|First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers||$34.27||252,593||6%||None|
|Real estate brokers||$29.48||51,154||6%||None|
|First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers||$29.20||496,262||9%||None|
|First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers and repairers||$29.13||442,191||6%||None|
|Legal support workers, all other***||$26.97||52,754||-1%||Short-term|
|Postal service mail carriers||$26.75||283,715||-10%||Short-term|
|Transit and railroad police||$26.71||4,439||1%||Short-term|
|Property, real estate and community association managers||$26.00||170,463||7%||None|
The 10 highest paying jobs for high school graduates: moderate or long-term training
The following table shows the 10 highest paying, non-farm jobs that require a high school diploma for minimum entry and necessitate an apprenticeship or moderate-to-long-term training. Occupations that require longer periods of on-the-job training typically pay more than jobs with shorter ramp-up times. However, five of the 10 highest paying occupations for high school graduates in these categories have lost jobs since 2010. Nuclear power reactor operators, elevator installers and repairers and transportation inspectors have all seen healthy growth.
|Med. hourly earnings||
|2010 - 2014 growth||
|First-line supervisors of police and detectives||$39.16||100,913||-2%||Moderate-term|
|Elevator installers and repairers||$36.51||21,300||4%||Apprenticeship|
|Detectives and criminal investigators||$36.33||113,897||-3%||Moderate-term|
|Nuclear power reactor operators||$36.18||7,209||4%||Long-term|
|Power distributors and dispatchers||$34.57||11,467||1%||Long-term|
|Power plant operators||$32.13||40,024||-3%||Long-term|
|Electrical power-line installers and repairers||$30.92||116,184||6%||Long-term|
|Postmasters and mail superintendents||$30.17||22,285||-9%||Moderate-term|
"While the pursuit of higher education is the best bet for gainful employment, it is a myth that only good jobs go to college graduates and that workers with high school degrees are destined to low-wage careers," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "It's important to note, however, that most high-paying jobs available to high school grads involve skill sets that require extensive post-secondary training or several-years' worth of prior experience and are often in fields that have seen declining employment in recent years."
Haefner adds that the slack labor market following the recession caused many employers to recruit college-educated workers for jobs previously performed by high school grads, as detailed in a recent CareerBuilder survey.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation, July 2014; workers 25 and older.
**Minimum entry-level education retirements are defined by the BLS.
***All legal support workers not listed separately; does not include paralegals, court reporters, title examiners or legal assistants.