Special Report

The Seven Best Paying Jobs With Only High School Diploma

Close to a third of the adult U.S. population has a college degree. While it no longer necessarily guarantees a job, as it once did, graduating from college is a prerequisite for the vast majority of high-paying jobs.

Of the job categories that earned a median of at least $60,000 in 2012, just a handful did not require at least some college education. The top-paying job categories all required a bachelor’s degree, and in many cases, a master’s or doctoral degree.

But for those who cannot go to college, there are still hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs that only require a high school diploma. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2012 occupational profiles from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to identify the jobs that pay the most money and generally do not require any more formal education than a high school diploma.

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Very few of these positions, however, are instantly accessible to a person fresh out of high school. Some of these positions do not require a bachelor’s degree, but do involve a great deal of additional on-the-job training or certification. Most require years of work at lower positions before workers can move up the ranks.

Many of these jobs are compensated well because of the dangerous or unfavorable conditions associated with them. Subway operators, paid a median of nearly $63,000 a year, spend long 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 high-paying jobs you can get with a high-school degree, 24/7 Wall St. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed wage and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics database and job descriptions from the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The jobs that made the list had a median annual salary of at least $60,000 and did not require formal education beyond a high school diploma, according to the BLS.

These are the seven best-paying jobs you can get with a high school diploma.