20 jobs you can get with a high school diploma

Find out what they do, what they need and what they earn.

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.

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, work experience or a combination:

1. Electrical power-line installers and repairers install, maintain or repair the power lines that move electricity. They identify defective devices, voltage regulators, transformers and switches.*

Avg. hourly earnings**: $31.57

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Long-term

2. Reinforcing iron and rebar workers use reinforcing steel (rebar), cables and rods to support concrete components of buildings, bridges, roads and other structures.

Avg. hourly earnings: $25.98

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Apprenticeship

3. Millwrights install, maintain and disassemble industrial machines. They perform repairs that include replacing worn or defective parts of machines.

Avg. hourly earnings: $25.31

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Apprenticeship

4. Industrial machinery mechanics maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery and packaging equipment.

Avg. hourly earnings: $24.75

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Long-term

5. Mechanical insulation workers apply insulation to equipment, pipes or ductwork in businesses, factories and many other types of buildings.

Avg. hourly earnings: $24.02

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Apprenticeship

6. Wellhead pumpers tend, control or operate power-driven, stationary or portable pumps and manifold systems to transfer gases, oil, other liquids, slurries or powdered materials to and from various vessels and processes.

Avg. hourly earnings: $23.17

Work experience required: Less than 5 years

Typical on-the-job-training: Moderate-term

7. Community health workers discuss health concerns with community members, educate people about the importance and availability of healthcare services, such as cancer screenings.

Avg. hourly earnings: $19.30

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Short-term

8. Dispensing opticians help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. They also help customers decide which eyeglass frames or contact lenses to buy.

Avg. hourly earnings: $17.70

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Long-term

9. Bicycle repairers repair and service bicycles.

Avg. hourly earnings: $13.41

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Moderate-term

10. Physical therapist aides clean treatment areas and set up therapy equipment, wash linens, help patients move to or from a therapy area and do clerical tasks.

Avg. hourly earnings: $13.19

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Short-term

11. Residential advisors coordinate activities in resident facilities in secondary and college dormitories, group homes or similar establishments, and order supplies and determine need for maintenance, repairs and furnishings.

Avg. hourly earnings: $13.05

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Short-term

12. Ambulance drivers and attendants (except emergency medical technicians) drive ambulance or assist ambulance driver in transporting sick, injured or convalescent persons.

Avg. hourly earnings: $12.25

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Moderate-term

13. Restaurant cooks prepare a wide selection of dishes and cook most orders individually. Some restaurant cooks may order supplies, set menu prices and plan the daily menu.

Avg. hourly earnings: $11.74

Work experience required: Less than 5 years

Typical on-the-job-training: Moderate-term

14. Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants and other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience.

Avg. hourly earnings: $25.79

Work experience required: Less than 5 years

Typical on-the-job-training: None

15. Lodging managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel or other types of establishments with accommodations.

Avg. hourly earnings: $27.79

Work experience required: Less than 5 years

Typical on-the-job-training: None

16. Property, real estate and community association managers take care of the many aspects of residential, commercial or industrial properties. They make sure the property is well maintained, has a nice appearance, operates smoothly and preserves its resale value.

Avg. hourly earnings: $32.81

Work experience required: Less than 5 years

Typical on-the-job-training: None

17. Social and human service assistants provide client services, including support for families, in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation and social work.

Avg. hourly earnings: $15.96

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Short-term

18. Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals.

Avg. hourly earnings: $15.23

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Moderate-term

19. Orderlies assist patients with moving about the facility, clean equipment and facilities, change linens and stock supplies.

Avg. hourly earnings: $13.26

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Short-term

20. Insurance sales agents contact potential customers and sell one or more types of insurance. Insurance sales agents explain various insurance policies and help clients choose plans that suit them.

Avg. hourly earnings: $31.15

Work experience required: None

Typical on-the-job-training: Moderate-term

If you're considering making a big career move like returning to school or starting down a new career path, it can be helpful to get some outside input. Start with this list of people you should talk to about your career.

*Job descriptions according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

**Average hourly earnings, required work experience and typical on-the-job training provided by Emsi.