AT A GLANCE

  • U.S. workers with only a high school diploma face an unemployment rate nearly double that of a college educated worker at 6.1%
  • There are 115 occupations that require only a high school degree and pay an average of $20 or more per hour
  • Occupations that require an apprenticeship or moderate-to-long-term training typically command higher wages

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Sep 01, 2015

Best Paying Jobs for Workers with High School Degrees

At the completion of a high school degree in the United States, people face a number of different path options. They may choose to enter the workforce immediately, or to pursue higher education or training in a variety of fields. According to employment figures, U.S. workers with only a high school diploma face an unemployment rate nearly double that of a college educated worker at 6.1 percent. A new study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) reveals the best paying occupations for workers with high school degrees.

As of 2015, there are 115 occupations that require only a high school degree and pay an average of $20 or more per hour. Of these, 70 percent require moderate to long-term on-the-job training or apprenticeships. In many of these jobs, workers may need to attend vocational school or other non-college-level training programs to obtain licensure or certification. Entry-level requirements vary based on state, locality, and employer.

The top ten highest paying, non-farm jobs for high school graduates are not all entry-level positions. For example, first-line supervisors generally require one to five years of prior work experience.

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs for High School Graduates with Short-Term or No Training

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs for High School Graduates with Short-Term or No Training

Source: CareerBuilder & EMSI

Occupations that require an apprenticeship or moderate-to-long-term training typically command higher wages. However, five of the ten highest paying occupations in this category have lost jobs since 2010.

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs for High School Graduates with Moderate or Long-Term Training

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs for High School Graduates with Moderate or Long-Term Training

Source: CareerBuilder & EMSI

“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. 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.” ~Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder

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