The Best Paying Jobs for High School Graduates
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The Fiscal Times
August 14, 2014

Instead of volunteering in Africa or studying art history in Italy to build a résumé in the hope of nabbing a spot at an elite university, some high school graduates are taking full-time jobs. That way they can get real-world work experience and learn how they might contribute in a meaningful way to society.

That was one of the suggestions The New Republic made last month in an article about how college-obsessed kids may be making big mistakes by packing their résumés to the hilt with life experiences that have been funded and orchestrated by rich parents.

Related: How to Find a Job Without Looking for a Job

“Colleges should put an end to résumé-stuffing by imposing a limit on the number of extracurriculars that kids can list on their applications,” the article said. “They [the colleges] ought to place more value on the kind of service jobs that lower-income students often take in high school and that high achievers almost never do.”

If you think your children or grandchildren should take a job for a year or two before applying for college – then they might as well aim for the best paying jobs out there. To help find the right fit, CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International have found the best paying jobs for workers with high school diplomas, released in a new study Thursday morning.

As of this year, there are 115 occupations that require a high school diploma and pay $20 per hour or more on average, CareerBuilder noted. Of those, 30 percent typically require either short-term training or no on-the-job training.

Here are the 10 highest-paying jobs for high school graduates requiring short-term or no training:

  1. Transportation, storage and distribution manager
  2. First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
  3. Gaming managers
  4. Real estate brokers
  5. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
  6. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers and repairers
  7. Legal support workers (not including paralegals, court reporters, title examiners or legal assistants)
  8. Postal service mail carriers
  9. Transit and railroad police
  10. Property, real estate and community association managers

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The median hourly earnings for these 10 jobs range from $26 to $39.27, which is far better than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. None of these 10 jobs requires training, except for legal support workers, postal service mail carriers and transit and railroad police.

Mind you, these jobs may not be career destinations, but they’re certainly a decent starting point.

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Marine Cole has been covering finance and business for a decade and has written for publications that include The Wall Street Journal, Crain's New York Business, and AdvertisingAge.