The Best Paying Jobs You Can Get With a High School Diploma

Print Email

Having a college education dramatically improves one’s chances of finding employment, a recent report released by Georgetown University shows. Also, those with just a high school diploma, according to the report, have had the hardest time maintaining employment during the recession. However, having a college degree, which once basically guaranteed a position, is now no longer a sure thing.

Read: The Best Paying Jobs You Can Get With a High School Diploma

For those who can’t go to college for any reason, there are hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs that only require a high school diploma. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2011 occupational profiles from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify positions that pay the most money, and generally do not require anything more than a high school diploma. We listed the 10 highest paying ones.

College education, in the vast majority of high-paying jobs, is a prerequisite. Of the 185 job categories that earned a median of at least $60,000 in 2011, just 16 did not require at least some college education. The 24 highest-paying jobs all require a bachelor’s degree, and in many cases, a master’s or doctoral degree.

Very few of the 10 highest-paying positions that only require a high school diploma are immediately accessible. Most require years of work at a lower position and a move up the ranks over time. Five of the 10 jobs are supervisor or manager positions.

Many of these jobs are compensated well because of the danger or extremely unfavorable conditions associated with them. Subway operators, paid a median of $63,000 a year, work long and shifting hours underground. Elevator repairers and nuclear power plant operators work in potentially life-threatening positions, and are paid more accordingly.

In order to identify the kinds of positions high school graduates without college degrees may want to consider, 24/7 Wall St. examined the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics database. In some cases, data about the number of workers were not available, and we provided the 2010 employment number. The results were then sorted by wage, in order to identify the 10 jobs that have the highest median annual salary. Along with salary, we also reviewed how much these jobs are expected to grow over the next 10 years.

These are the 10 highest-paying jobs that you can get with a high school diploma.