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20 Jobs You Can Get With a High School Diploma

Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com editor

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For many, the road to success cuts through college and often graduate school. But the skyrocketing cost of education coupled with the widespread squeeze on people's bank accounts and time, makes pursuing a traditional four-year or graduate degree a pipe dream.

For others, like IT professional Chris Moyer, success isn't contingent on a bachelor's or master's degree. Moyer's career path began in high school, where she was able to take two weeks of technical training per month. After high school, she moved into data entry and computer operations.  While she raised her small children, she did temporary computer work and then went to technical school for computer programming.

"I found a job at a small company, which had purchased a computer and some business software and needed someone to get it up and running," Moyer says. "I took the job at minimum wage and earned the experience I needed to move on. There were similar jobs after that and I increased my salary along the way."

She eventually worked her way into consulting and today, Moyer is an assistant vice president of IT working for a major bank.

Moyer's situation is not unique. There are millions of people who find themselves in this situation including those who:

·         Have a high school diploma or GED

·         Have some work experience but no college degree

·         Want to try a new career but don't want to go through years of schooling

·         Can't afford the money or time to go back to school

So how do you land a job or change careers when your educational options are limited? Here are 20 jobs that require a high school degree, on-the-job training, vocational training, certification or a combination:

1.       Automotive service technicians
What they do: Also called mechanics, automotive service technicians inspect, maintain and repair automobiles and light trucks using traditional equipment and computerized tools
What they need:* Postsecondary vocational award; certification from National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is highly regarded

What they earn:** $37,662

2.       Accounting clerks
What they do: Also known as accounts payable clerks or accounts receivable clerks, duties may include posting details of transactions, computing interest charges, making sure loans and accounts are up-to-date, and ensuring account accuracy
What they need:* A high school diploma and some accounting coursework or relevant work experience
What they earn:** $29,991

3.       Carpenters

What they do: From highways and bridges to kitchen cabinets, carpenters construct, erect, install and repair structures and fixtures made from wood and other materials
What they need:*
About three to four years of both on-the-job training and classroom instruction

What they earn:** $36,889

4.       Customer service representatives
What they do:
Serve as the direct point of contact for customers of all types of businesses by answering questions and concerns, providing information and addressing complaints
What they need:* Moderate-term on-the-job training

What they earn:** $31,685

5.       Dental assistants

What they do: Not to be confused with dental hygienists, dental assistants work closely with dentists and perform a variety of duties including instrument sterilization, obtaining records and preparing patients for treatment
What they need:*
Many skills are learned on the job, but there are also dental-assisting programs, which often take one year or less to complete

What they earn:** $32,246

6.       Electricians
What they do: Install and maintain wiring, fuses, circuits, outlets, load centers, panel boards and electrical machines in homes and businesses
What they need:*
Long-term on-the-job training, often in the form of an apprenticeship program lasting four to five years

What they earn:** $47,869

7.       Fitness trainers
What they do: Lead and instruct people in exercise activities, either individually or in a group setting , in fitness centers, gyms, hospitals, universities and clients' homes
What they need:* Postsecondary vocational award or certification is critical and depends on the employer and specific type of fitness work.

What they earn:** $24,890

8.       Gaming managers and supervisors
What they do:
Oversee the operations and personnel in an assigned area of a casino or gaming facility and ensure workers and gamblers are aware of and adhering to the rules of the games
What they need:*
Related work experience and a license from a regulatory agency

What they earn:** $47,429

9.       General maintenance and repair workers
What they do:
Troubleshoot, inspect and diagnose problems in many different crafts (like carpentry, plumbing, air conditioning and heating, and painting) and decide the best way to correct them
What they need:*
Moderate-term on-the-job training

What they earn:** $27,890

10.   Home health aides
What they do: Assist elderly, ill or disabled people at home instead of health-care facilities. They provide  services like administering medications and checking temperatures, and may also do housework and assist with personal care
What they need:*
Short-term on-the-job training by registered nurses or experienced aides

What they earn:** $22,163

11.   Interpreters and translators
What they do:
Interpreters convert one spoken language into another and must express thoughts and ideas clearly; translators convert written materials from one language into another and should have excellent writing and editing skills
What they need:* Fluency in two or more languages and long-term on-the-job training

What they earn:** Interpreters -- $37,700; Translators -- $42,229

12.   Manicurists and pedicurists
What they do:
Also called nail technicians, they groom and polish fingernails and toenails and provide manicures and pedicures
What they need:*
Postsecondary vocational award; license may be required

What they earn:** $19,978

13.   Medical assistants
What they do:
Perform administrative and clinical tasks (depending on what's allowed by the state) in doctor and other health practitioner offices
What they need:*
Some may be trained on the job but others complete one- to two-year programs

What they earn:** $30,136

14.   Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants
What they do:
Provide a variety of hands-on and routine tasks in many aspects of a patient's care, including but not limited to: helping patients eat and groom, escorting them to exam and operating rooms, and taking temperature or blood pressure
What they need:* Postsecondary vocational award

What they earn:** $25,133

15.   Office clerk
What they do:
Specific duties vary depending on type of office but can include administrative duties, data entry and using office equipment
What they need:*
Short-term on-the-job training

What they earn:** $29,410

16.   Pharmacy technicians
What they do:
Work in retail and mail-order pharmacies assisting pharmacists by preparing medication, stocking shelves and performing administrative duties; state rules regulate specific duties

What they need:* Moderate-term on-the-job training or certification

What they earn:** $28,624

17.   Restaurant cooks
What they do:
Measure and cook ingredients according to recipes, use kitchen equipment and order food supplies
What they need:*
Long-term on-the-job training or vocational training

What they earn:** $21,774

18.   Retail salesperson
What they do:
Assist customers in choosing merchandise, maintain the look and feel of store to set standards, and operate the cash register
What they need:*
Short-term on-the-job training

What they earn:** $24,223

19.   Skin care specialists and estheticians
What they do:
Cleanse and beautify the skin by giving facials, full-body treatments, head and neck massages, as well as apply makeup
What they need:* Postsecondary vocational award and license

What they earn:** $28,259

20.   Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer
What they do: Drive and operate large capacity trucks and vans and transport goods including cars, livestock and other materials city to city or over long distances
What they need:*
Moderate-term on-the-job training, good driving record and commercial driver's license

What they earn:** $34,618

 

*Minimum requirements according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. Requirements may vary by employer, job level and state requirements.

**U.S. national average salary according to CBsalary.com, powered by SalaryExpert.com.

Kate Lorenz is the editor for CareerBuilder.com and its job-seeker blog, www.TheWorkBuzz.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/katelorenz.



Last Updated: 14/05/2009 - 4:14 PM


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