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Less than one-half of Americans complete a college degree in spite of the proven value of furthering their education. However, there are some jobs that only require a high school diploma. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook is an excellent resource for finding out information about what career options might be available to high school graduates. Here are the highest paying jobs for high school graduates according to the OOH.
Top Tier: $55,000-$74,999
There were no jobs listed that pay more than $75,000 annually, but three that could come very close. According to the OOH, real estate brokers have a top salary with only a high school diploma needed. The expected growth rate for this profession is also good at 10-19% between now and 2022. Next within this range are gaming managers with an anticipated growth rate of 0-9%. In third place are farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers. However, this latter group’s numbers is expected to decline through 2022.
Middle Tier: $35,000-$54, 999
About the middle range of high paying jobs that only require a high school diploma are property managers with an anticipated growth rate of 10-19%; chefs/head cooks, lodging managers, and food service managers—all with an anticipated growth rate of 0-9%; and executive secretaries and administrative assistants. Openings for this last group are expected to decline.
Bottom Tier: $25,000-$34,999
The only job requiring just a high school diploma in this group is slot supervisors, and the anticipated growth rate in this area is 0-9% through 2022. Although there are more jobs below this tier, they tend to be minimum wage positions, such as bank tellers, security guards, and fast food workers.
A few other points of clarification may be helpful. You may be able to start your own business. Entrepreneur is a tough category to rank in terms of salary because many new businesses fail while a small percentage becomes successful. There is also much more risk involved even with the slight chance that you may become the next Richard Branson.
Another point to consider is that the ranges above are not guarantees. The median salary for a slot supervisor is actually around $20,000 annually, so it may take you some time to work up to that bottom tier range. Also, the job market is competitive. Employers may prefer to hire those with at least some college and those employees may be making more than the ones with only a high school diploma.
The bottom line is that there are some jobs that only require a high school diploma, and you may be able to find one that has a decent salary. If you are able and willing, it is also typically in your best interest to continue to pursue training and educational opportunities even if you can only do so occasionally or on a part-time basis.