The typical college graduate in the United States makes roughly $23,000 more a year than the typical high school graduate. While a college degree generally qualifies workers for higher-paying jobs, there are a number of lucrative positions that require no more than a high school diploma.
To identify the highest-paying jobs for high school graduates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 150 jobs reviewed that require just a high school education, 13 have median annual salaries higher than $60,000.
Some of the highest paying jobs that do not require a college degree still often require some training beyond high school. For example, before elevator installers and repairers can earn their ample salary — the median is more than $80,000 — nearly all must complete an apprenticeship program that typically lasts four years.
In place of a college education, other high-paying jobs require related work experience. Of the 13 jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree and have a median pay of more than $60,000, only three are truly entry-level positions that require no experience or apprenticeships. For example, gaming managers often work for years as a dealer or slot supervisor before they are promoted to run the casino floor. The typical dealer earns $19,000 a year, less than one-third the median salary of a gaming manager.
Jobs with low educational barriers to entry can still yield high salaries if they are dangerous and stressful. Dangers associated with boilermaking and elevator repair include risk of severe burns and other injuries such as bruises and broken bones associated with falls. Other jobs can be especially stressful and emotionally taxing. Detectives can spend much of their working lives around death and suffering. A majority of workers in other high-paying fields, including subway and streetcar operators, report dealing with angry and unpleasant people on a daily basis.
To determine the highest-paying jobs for high school graduates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed occupational data from the BLS. Occupations were considered if the job required a high school diploma or equivalent, as listed by the BLS. The highest-paying jobs were identified as the 13 jobs with a median annual wage greater than $60,000. Total employment, projected employment change, the share of workers in a given occupation that are self-employed, the typical work experience required by an occupation, and the typical on-the-job training needed for an occupation also came from the BLS.
These are the highest-paying jobs for high school graduates.