Best paying jobs for workers with high school diplomas

Logistician

Whether you're looking for a position that provides on-the-job training or something you can get into right away, check out these high-paying jobs for high school grads.

When you graduate high school and are handed that diploma, there are a number of different paths you can take. Some choose to enter the workforce immediately, while others opt to pursue higher education or training. In many cases, continuing education isn’t a financially viable option. And while U.S. workers with only a high school diploma face an unemployment rate nearly twice that of college educated workers (4.5 to 2.4) and earn significantly less on average*, this doesn’t mean workers without college degrees can’t still land lucrative careers.

As of this year, there are 125 occupations that require a high school diploma and pay $20 per hour or more on average. Of those, 74 percent typically require moderate to long-term on-the-job training or apprenticeships; 26 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 with 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:


Occupation

Med. hourly earnings


2012 jobs

2012 - 2017 growth


On-the-job training

Transportation, storage and distribution managers

$42.56

110,811

10%

None

Media and communication equipment workers, all other

$35.87

21,407

7%

Short-term

Gaming managers

$33.26

4,432

3%

None

First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers

$30.48

434,771

9%

None

First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers

$29.56

348,043

6%

None

First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

$28.20

602,345

6%

None

Postal service mail carriers

$27.89

314,559

-3%

Short-term

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

$27.58

598,224

5%

None

First-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators

$27.50

191,142

11%

None

Postal service clerks

$27.30

78,459

-5%

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 require 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, three of the 10 highest paying occupations for high school graduates in these categories have lost jobs since 2012. Elevator installers and repairers, commercial pilots and electrical power-line installers and repairers have all seen healthy growth.


Occupation

Med. hourly earnings


2012 jobs

2012 - 2017 growth


On-the-job training

Nuclear power reactor operators

$43.83

7,459

-5%

Long-term

First-line supervisors of police and detectives

$40.79

99,776

2%

Moderate-term

Power distributors and dispatchers

$39.37

11,394

2%

Long-term

Elevator installers and repairers

$37.93

20,503

12%

Apprenticeship

Detectives and criminal investigators

$37.56

109,219

1%

Moderate-term

Commercial pilots

$36.83

39,692

7%

Moderate-term

Power plant operators

$35.91

35,557

-1%

Long-term

Transportation inspectors

$34.72

29,165

7%

Moderate-term

Postmasters and mail superintendents

$34.44

14,309

-5%

Moderate-term

Electrical power-line installers and repairers

$32.58

112,378

10%

Long-term

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation, July 2017; workers 25 and older.
**Minimum entry-level education retirements are defined by the BLS.

Hoping to earn more by making your way up the ladder? Be sure to brush up on these 4 skills to take you from overtime to 9 to 5.