20 Best Jobs For People With A High School Diploma

By Elsie Boskamp
Jun. 16, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

Attending college and pursuing a postsecondary degree is certainly not the only avenue to securing a top-paying, rewarding, and enjoyable career. There are plenty of jobs in America for those with a high school diploma.

If you hold only a high school degree, you’ll want to first find an entry-level job for high school graduates. After gaining work experience and professional growth, you’ll be able to secure one of the best work-from-home or high-paying careers for people with a high school diploma.

Key Takeaways:

  • Be prepared to find an entry-level job and work your way up through on-the-job training.

  • Incomes can often be capped for occupations that require a high school diploma or less, but training and certification courses may lead to raises and promotions.

  • A higher degree doesn’t automatically translate to a better, higher-paid career. High school graduates who are dedicated to their career path and work to grow their skill-sets can find lucrative jobs across many professional industries.

20 best jobs for people with a high school diploma.

6 Best Entry-Level Jobs for People With a High School Diploma

If you are trying to choose a career path after graduating high school, there are many entry-level jobs that you can search for that would be great for someone whose highest level of schooling is a high school diploma.

Here are a few jobs that are a perfect match for someone just out of high school:

  1. Postal service worker
    Average Annual Salary: $40,152

    Mail carrier and postal service jobs provide job security, an above-average salary, and an impressive federal benefits package. Postal service workers must have a high school diploma and typically receive short-term on-the-job training.

    Postal service workers deliver mail, sell postal products, and collect and sort mailed parcels. Labor statistics pin the median annual wage for postal service workers at $52,060.

    Job requirements: To work as a postal service worker, you need to be 18 years old, or 16 years old with a high school diploma. Being a US citizen or having a permanent resident alien status is also a requirement. Males must also register with the Selective Service at the age of 18.

    Find Postal service worker jobs near me

  2. Retail sales associate cashier
    Average Annual Salary: $31,000

    Retail sales associates work in retail stores, like clothing shops or grocery stores, where they process payments, stock shelves, and assist customers.

    Since no formal education is required, retail sales associate positions are perfect for people just out of high school, or those with little to no work experience or formal education.

    Retail sales associates typically make $13-$16 per hour and receive on-the-job training. This is also a great opportunity for job growth, as retail store managers earn higher wages and typically start as sales associates.

    Job requirements: None, for most retail jobs. Familiarity with POS (point of sale) systems can help earn a higher starting salary, and a friendly attitude is a must for most retailers.

    Find Retail sales associate cashier jobs near me

  3. Home health aide
    Average Annual Salary: $24,000

    Home health aides have the best job outlook and opportunities for professional growth among the most common careers for non-college graduates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the industry will see a 41% growth between 2016 and 2026.

    This high-demand industry is also great for entry-level applicants with a high school diploma. Home health aides usually work at private residences, group homes, or day programs, and provide personal care to people with disabilities and illnesses.

    Job requirements: Reliable transportation and the ability to pass a criminal background check are requirements for most home health aide jobs. Many employers also like to see professional and/or character references.

    Find Home health aide jobs near me

  4. Driver
    Average Annual Salary: $29,000

    Drivers are in high demand and, except for a clean license and specialty driving certifications, require no formal schooling. The job market for taxi or Uber drivers and delivery truck drivers looks especially promising, as more people are relying on rideshare and home delivery services.

    Since no professional degree is required, the market is growing faster than average, and there’s ample opportunity to earn a competitive hourly wage. Becoming a driver is a great entry-level occupation for job-seekers whose highest education is a high school diploma.

    Job requirements: A valid driver’s license. Many employers, like Uber, also require you to have at least one year of licensed driving experience.

    Depending on who you work for, you may also need your own car that must meet certain age requirements (no older than 10 years old) and cosmetic requirements (no visible dents, bad scratches, etc.).

    Find Driver jobs near me

  5. Waiter or waitress
    Average Annual Salary: $20,000

    Becoming a waiter or waitress is a fun career path with lots of perks. There’s no formal education requirement, so it’s a great entry-level gig for high school grads.

    Although the job comes with some pressure and an untraditional work schedule, serving customers is a great way to meet new people, network, and work your way up in the foodservice industry.

    Job requirements: None, for many restaurants and establishments. Depending on your state and whether the establishment serves alcohol, there may be certain age requirements ranging from 18-21.

    Find Waiter or waitress jobs near me

  6. Janitor
    Average Annual Salary: $23,000

    Maybe not the most glamorous of jobs, but janitors are always in demand, don’t need any formal education, and can have the opportunity to earn some real money. It’s also a great entry-level job for people looking for evening hours.

    Job requirements: Depending on the specific job, you may need some basic maintenance skills. You’ll also need to be comfortable lifting somewhat heavy loads.

    Find Janitor jobs near me

10 High Earning Jobs for High School Grads

If you don’t have a college degree but still want to make the big bucks, there are lots of lucrative career paths you can choose from. Earning a high, above-average annual wage is entirely possible without a college degree.

Some positions may require on-site job training or successful completion of various certification courses, but the additional schooling will be well worth it. Several of these top-paying jobs for people with a high school diploma can potentially earn employees six-figure salaries.

Here are some high paying jobs for people with a high school diploma:

  1. Flight attendant
    Average Annual Salary: $37,000

    Flight attendants are usually only required to hold a high school diploma or GED. Flight attendants are responsible for keeping passengers comfortable and safe while flying in an airplane. Before hitting the skies, flight attendants are required to complete certification and training courses.

    Flight attendants rank among some of the highest-paying jobs for women and have the opportunity to earn $50,000-$77,000 per year.

    Job requirements: A valid passport and the ability to pass a background check and drug test. Customer service experience can also help land a first-time flight attendant job.

    Find Flight attendant jobs near me

  2. Maintenance or repair worker
    Average Annual Salary: $33,000

    Maintenance and repair workers earn big paychecks and only need a high school diploma to lead a successful career. Instead of a college or professional degree, maintenance and repair workers advance in their field through learning skills on-the-job or securing an apprenticeship.

    Plumbers are among the best paying trade jobs in the maintenance and repair industry. Plumbers are responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repairs of water and gas systems, and are often certified by trade or vocational institutions. On average, plumbers earn between $67,000 and $97,000 per year.

    Job requirements: The ability to repair whatever machinery your particular job calls for. Many trades also require the completion of an apprenticeship before going independent.

    Find Maintenance or repair worker jobs near me

  3. Chef
    Average Annual Salary: $44,000

    If you have a knack for cooking up tasty treats, becoming a restaurant chef may be a perfect and profitable career. Most chefs learn and advance in their careers through on-the-job training.

    Although some restaurant chefs do attend culinary school to refine their skills, that is certainly not a requirement for becoming a successful chef.

    According to labor statistics, cooks earn an average median pay of more than $26,300 annually, but renowned, high-end chefs can expect to make much more than that.

    Job requirements: While some fancy restaurants may want to see a degree from a culinary school, most places just require that you’re able to cook whatever type of food the restaurant serves. Having a portfolio of creative recipes of your own is also helpful.

    Find Chef jobs near me

  4. Real estate agent
    Average Annual Salary: $99,000

    To become a real estate agent you’ll need a high school degree and a real estate licensure. As a real estate agent, you’ll help clients buy, sell, and rent properties.

    The pay scale for real estate agents is largely dependent on the housing market, but, on average, successful real estate agents earn more than $50,000 annually.

    Working as a real estate agent allows non-college graduates to earn some serious cash. Real estate agents often also find success in many alternative jobs, including home staging, real estate investing, and property management.

    Job requirements: Licensing in your state. To get your license, you’ll need to take real estate courses and exams that vary from state to state. Fees can vary radically between courses, but the state licensing exam itself is typically under $200.

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  5. Police officer
    Average Annual Salary: $47,000

    Believe it or not, police officers don’t need a college degree. In addition to a high school diploma, you’ll need to pass a police entrance exam, and graduate from a local police academy to become a working law enforcement officer.

    For the right applicant, a career as a police officer is good-paying and highly rewarding. On average, an officer earns $65,000 per year and is expected to grow in the coming years.

    Job requirements: Requirements to become a police officer vary from state to state, but every state requires a background check and a valid driver’s license. Some individual agencies may require a bachelor’s degree or certain class credits.

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  6. Pharmacy technician
    Average Annual Salary: $34,000

    Pharmacy technicians are among some of the highest paying medical jobs you can get with the least amount of schooling. To become a high-paid pharmacy technician, you’ll need a traditional high school diploma and, typically, a pharmacy technician certification.

    Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in all duties, including distributing medications to patients, and must maintain patient confidentiality at all times. On average, pharmacy technicians are paid an annual salary of $40,000.

    Job requirements: To become a certified pharmacy technician, you’ll need a PTCB CPhT certification. You can choose to complete one of over 1,400 recognized programs or get equivalent work experience as a pharmacy technician (minimum 500 hours).

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  7. Optician
    Average Annual Salary: $33,000

    Working as an optician is one of the highest-paying jobs a high school graduate can get. Opticians work in eyeglass stores of physician offices and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses according to prescriptions from optometrists.

    With just a high school diploma and long-term on-the-job training, an optician can earn, on average, nearly $40,000 annually.

    Job requirements: Opticians must be licensed in about half of the states. This involves an approved program or an apprenticeship, followed by one or more exams. Almost every state uses the ABO and NCLE exams for state licensing, as well as other state-specific practical tests.

    Find Optician jobs near me

  8. Personal trainer
    Average Annual Salary: $38,000

    If you’re a health and fitness nut, a career in personal training may be right up your alley. Good personal trainers usually make between $40,000 and $60,000 per year, making them one of the easiest and best-paid careers on the job market.

    To excel in a career as a personal trainer you’ll need a high school diploma, excellent physical fitness abilities, and likely a personal trainer certification.

    Job requirements: Being in good shape, the ability to motivate others, and a flexible schedule. Some jobs may also require CPR and basic first aid certification.

    Find Personal trainer jobs near me

  9. Hotel manager
    Average Annual Salary: $58,000

    Hotel managers earn a national average salary of more than $50,000 per year. This can be an exciting and well-paid job for people without a college education.

    Hotel managers supervise all activities in a hotel, resolve issues, communicate with guests, and manage staff. They typically work their way up, starting as hotel office managers or similar positions, or pursue apprenticeships to gain experience.

    Job requirements: Experience in the field of hospitality. Taking courses in business, management, marketing, and hotel administration will also help advance your career.

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  10. Landscaper
    Average Annual Salary: $26,000

    For outdoorsy people whose highest degree of education is at most a high school diploma, pursuing a career as a landscaper may be the perfect job for you.

    According to the Bureau of Labor, landscapers make about $30,000 per year, but many seasoned landscapers earn a much higher annual wage.

    Landscapers are tasked with caring for grounds and gardens at private houses, businesses, and parks. Landscaping jobs are expected to grow faster than expected between 2019 and 2029, so the job market looks promising.

    Job requirements: Being comfortable operating groundskeeping equipment like lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, etc.

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4 Work-From-Home Jobs for People With a High School Diploma

There are dozens of jobs available to high school graduates that can be performed entirely at home. If you’re looking for a remote job with tons of career flexibility, a work-from-home job could be a great option.

Here are a few work-from-home jobs for people with a high school diploma:

  1. Virtual assistant
    Average Annual Salary: $24,000

    Not only is a job as a virtual assistant a great choice for high school graduates, but it’s also an attractive low-stress career for people with anxiety.

    To find a high-paying job as a virtual assistant you’ll need at least a high school diploma, or equivalent experience, and high-level organization, communication, and computer skills.

    Virtual assistants with a high school diploma work from home to complete basic office tasks, including scheduling appointments, answering phone calls, drafting emails, filing records, and distributing documents.

    Job requirements: Basic computer skills like email, scheduling, and the Microsoft and Google software suites.

    Find Virtual assistant jobs near me

  2. Insurance sales agent
    Average Annual Salary: $49,000

    Insurance sales agents are often able to work from home, or at the very least have highly flexible work schedules, as a majority of their work involves contacting potential customers.

    Insurance sales agents are in high demand as more and more American’s are seeking professionals to help understand their insurance options.

    Although a high school degree is the only schooling required, agents must be licensed in the state in which they work, and many also hold a bachelor’s degree. On average, insurance sales agents earn more than $50,000 per year.

    Job requirements: Sales experience is helpful, but entry-level roles in insurance sales exist.

    Find Insurance sales agent jobs near me

  3. Customer service representative
    Average Annual Salary: $29,000

    Customer service representatives work from home and are among the most common remote jobs in America. Working as a customer service representative is also a great way for high school students to gain work experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Customer service representatives communicate with customers, resolve issues, answer questions, and process orders. On average, customer services representatives earn nearly $35,000 per year.

    Job requirements: Retail, sales, and customer service experience is a plus, but not a requirement.

    Find Customer service representative jobs near me

  4. Web designer and developer
    Average Annual Salary: $61,000

    An occupation in web design and development is one of the best-paid and most flexible work-from-home career options for people with only a high school diploma. Web developers and digital designers earn an average annual wage of more than $73,500.

    Web designers and developers are in high demand, and the industry is expected to grow much faster than average in the coming years.

    Although a high school diploma and necessary job-specific skills are the basic requirements for landing a job as a web developer or designer, completing a certification course will make you more desirable to hiring managers.

    Job requirements: Knowledge of HTML/CSS and other web programming languages that depend on the preferences of your team and on your specific role.

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What to Look for in Jobs With a High School Diploma

Many of the common careers do not require a college degree; however, certification and training courses are often required or recommended. In many cases, additional schooling translates to a higher income and more attractive employee benefits.

Today, more jobs than ever are available to high school graduates entering the workforce without any additional schooling or degrees. With college enrollments declining, more young people are saying no to high student loans, and, instead, opting to find a job right after their high school graduation.

While average income still does rise with higher education, a high school degree can land job-seekers a gratifying career and a big paycheck. But, finding a job with only a high school diploma, which also meets your career and financial needs, can be difficult if you don’t know where to look.

  • Consider your skill-sets and interests. Even without a college degree, if you have strong interpersonal and job-specific skills, and life experiences, you’ll have a leg up among the competition — even if that competition includes college grads.

  • Consider the degree level required for the position. Read over the job roles and responsibilities to determine if you qualify for the new job. Don’t waste your time applying for job openings that require associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, or graduate degrees.

    Keep in mind that having a college degree can help you advance your career, earn extra cash, and give you more job security. However, some jobs, like trades and customer service roles, don’t require that level of schooling. If college just isn’t in the cards for you right now, there are still plenty of high-paying jobs available to you.

  • Gauge your competition during the job-search. Even if a position doesn’t require job-seekers to hold a four-year degree, certain training courses or career certificates may be an important prerequisite. Some of the most in-demand and sought-after professional certificates are in Google, Help Desk, human resources, networking, project management, sales, Salesforce, and other specific software.

  • Take note of an employer’s requirements and recommendations. Use them to your advantage by appropriately tailoring your resume and cover letter to match the job description.

  • Look for jobs you will enjoy. Be mindful of your career goals when looking for your dream job. There are countless career options for people with a high school diploma, so don’t settle for an occupation you hate just because you check all the boxes in the job application.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of rewarding and high-paying career options for individuals without a college degree. A high school diploma and relevant, job-specific skills can take you far in your professional career and even help land your dream job.

By using the tips in this article, you’ll be on your way to finding an interesting and high-paid job for people with only a high school diploma.

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Elsie Boskamp

Elsie is an experienced writer, reporter, and content creator. As a leader in her field, Elsie is best known for her work as a Reporter for The Southampton Press, but she can also be credited with contributions to Long Island Pulse Magazine and Hamptons Online. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Stony Brook University and currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.

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