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The 20 Highest-Paying Jobs for High School Grads

The 20 Highest-Paying Jobs for High School Grads
Credit: Idel Design/Shutterstock

While employers may place a premium on a college degree, that doesn't mean those without a bachelor's can't have a successful and lucrative career.

As of this year, there are 115 occupations that don't require a college diploma but that pay $20 per hour or more on average, according to new analysis from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI).

"While the pursuit of higher education is the best bet for gainful employment, it is a myth that good jobs go only to college graduatesand that workers with high school degrees are destined to low-wage careers," Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, said in a statement. "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."  

The research found that 70 percent of those 115 jobs typically require moderate to long-term on-the-job training or apprenticeships. 

As part of its analysis, Career Builder and EMSI uncovered the highest-paying jobs for non-college-graduates. The 10 highest-paying, nonfarm jobs that only require a high school diploma and either short-term or no on-the-job training are:

  1. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers ­­– $39.27 per hour
  2. First-line supervisors of nonretail sales workers – $34.27 per hour
  3. Gaming managers – $31.99 per hour
  4. Real estate brokers – $29.48 per hour
  5. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers – $29.20 per hour
  6. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers and repairers – $29.13 per hour
  7. Legal support workers – $26.97 per hour
  8. Postal service mail carriers – $26.75 per hour
  9. Transit and railroad police – $26.71 per hour
  10. Property, real estate and community association managers – $26.00 per hour

Researchers said occupations that require longer periods of on-the-job training typically pay more than jobs with shorter ramp-up times. The 10 highest-paying, nonfarm jobs that require a high school diploma for minimum entry and an apprenticeship or moderate to long-term training, are:

  1. First-line supervisors of police and detectives – $39.16 per hour
  2. Elevator installers and repairers – $36.51 per hour
  3. Detectives and criminal investigators – $36.33 per hour
  4. Nuclear power reactor operators – $36.18 per hour
  5. Commercial pilots – $35.73 per hour
  6. Power distributors and dispatchers – $34.57 per hour
  7. Power plant operators – $32.13 per hour
  8. Electrical-power-line installers and repairers – $30.92 per hour
  9. Transportation inspectors – $30.21 per hour
  10. Postmasters and mail superintendents – $30.17 per hour

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.