Special Report

Highest Paying Jobs for High School Graduates

Media and communication equipment workers, all other
Source: Thinkstock

7. Media and communication equipment workers, all other
> Median annual wage: $70,590
> Typical training: Short-term on-the-job training
> 2014 jobs: 19,400
> Projected change 2014-2024: -3.3%

Media and communication equipment workers mostly work in the motion picture and video industry. More than one-fourth of such workers live in the Los Angeles metro area, where the large film industry likely provides the most jobs. Film work can be inconsistent, which is one reason for the high minimum pay many entertainment-related workers unions require for their members. Many media and communication equipment jobs require workers to be in such unions, like the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Jobs may include crew positions such as boom operator, grip, gaffer, with the more specialized positions paying higher salaries. The typical media and communication equipment worker earns $70,590 a year, one of the highest salaries of any occupation that requires just a high school diploma.

United States Post Office
Source: Thinkstock

6. Postmasters and mail superintendents
> Median annual wage: $70,640
> Typical training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
> 2014 jobs: 17,300
> Projected change 2014-2024: -26.2%

A majority of postmasters and mail superintendents have no more than a high school diploma in the way of formal education. While there is a low educational barrier to entry, postmasters need to have some on-the-job experience as well as management skills, organizational skills, and a knowledge of business administration. Those in such positions are relatively well compensated. A typical postmaster or mail superintendent makes more than $70,000 a year, more than all but five other jobs with similarly low formal education requirements.

However, the job may not be a viable option for high school graduates in the near future. The BLS projects a 26.2% decline in demand for postmasters and mail superintendents between 2014 and 2024.

Transportation Inspector
Source: Thinkstock

5. Transportation inspectors
> Median annual wage: $70,820
> Typical training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
> 2014 jobs: 26,400
> Projected change 2014-2024: 1.2%

Transportation inspectors are responsible for conducting safety inspections for all modes of transportation, including flight and rail. The typical transportation inspector earns $70,820, more than all but just four other positions that require only a high school education. Nearly half of all transportation inspectors work for the government, and about a third work in the private transportation and warehousing industry.

Job outlook for the profession is somewhat less promising than the job market as a whole. Despite expectations that the trucking industry will grow in the coming years, the BLS projects that the number of transportation inspectors will grow by just 1.2% in the decade ending in 2024, far slower than the overall projected labor market growth.

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