Think again. Research for the US Labor Department indicates that over 60% of college and university graduates are unable to find permanent employment in their chosen professions after completing their studies. Furthermore, the average student loan for tuition fees, study supplies, and residence accommodation amounts to almost a 100k for a four-year study term.
Let’s put this into perspective: By the time you finish your studies, you will owe your lending service provider between $45 000 to $100 000 depending on the qualification you have studied. The average monthly payback amount would be between $356 and $600 per month, and you would complete the payment term at the age of 38!
Over 44.2 million Americans currently face the burden of student debt.
It is a well-known fact that college and university graduates do in fact earn more than those with only a high school diploma. However, set these higher earnings off against the exponential interest of a 20-year student loan and you would be surprised that the pay gap gets diminished quite significantly over the longer term.
The truth is, you can still earn a good living with only a High School Diploma under your belt.
16 High School Diploma Jobs – 60k and beyond
1) Signal & Track Switch Repairers:
Media Salary of $65.000
These guys (or gals) are instrumental in railroad safety, keeping trains on the right track and out of each other's way. In this type of job, you would spend your days, testing, installing and maintaining electric gate crossings, signal switches, section lines and intercommunication channels of railroad systems. These are 24/7 operations, and operators work in shifts but with a median salary of $65.000 plus lucrative benefits who cares.
2) First Line Construction Supervisors:
Mid-level salary of $62.000
If you think you are a born leader, but detest the suit and tie world of the average manager stuck in a high rise skyscraper, finding your niche as a first-line supervisor in the construction supervisor may be just the right career option. This role requires constant hands-on supervision and coordination of construction and extraction workers on a daily basis. The mid-level earnings projection is around $62.000, but you need to earn your stripes first by spending five years working in construction on large infrastructure projects.
3) Subway Operators:
Salary up to $75.000 per annum
You are going to have to sit down for this one (all the time). Subway operators ‘’drive’’ streetcars and suburban trains that transport passengers from point A to Point B. This job could be very mundane, yet it needs an on-point brain to continuously be aware of all safety threats and won’t fall asleep behind the wheels. Subway Operators can earn up to $75.000 per annum, which is more than the average mid-level Engineer!
4) Electronic Engineering Technician:
Salary median is $63.000
Electrical jobs are all about electrical components, circuits, controls, and machinery. The purpose of a technician is to design, install, calibrate, repair and modify electrical and electronic equipment used in factories and production plants. As no formal qualification apart from a high school diploma is required, this is an ideal opportunity to get a foot in the door and hone your technical skills straight after high school. The median salary for Electronic Technicians is $63.000.
5) Farm & Ranch Managers:
Salary up to $64.000
Not everyone is built for the hustle and bustle of an urban lifestyle. Are you one of those people who feel most at home surrounded by corn fields, open grasslands or “Old Macdonald had a farm” style animals then a job in agriculture may be a suitable choice. Granted, one does not just step into a Ranch/Farm Manager role straight of high school but a few years of blood sweat and tears can grow into comfortable earnings of $64.000 and loads of fresh air as a side bonus to your health.
6) Gaming Manager:
Salary average of $68.000 per year
Chips, Place Bets, Hit Me, Fold. Welcome to the world of a Gaming Manager and this is not the computer kind we are referring to here. The gambling industry in the US contributes a whopping $137 billion annualy to the American economy. Managers can earn on average $68.000 per year, but it takes a couple of years as a Dealer or Slot Supervisor to work yourself upwards on the gaming ladder. These individuals are the custodians of the casino floor, ensuring customers are winning (and losing) their money fairly in an enjoyable environment.
7) Media Equipment Workers:
Salary up to $70.000 per year
Working in the media and communications sector has many perks, especially if brushing shoulders with the rich and famous is your thing. Most of the opportunities are around Los Angeles though in the film and motion picture industry, and these are some of the highest paid roles available in the US, for candidates with only a high school diploma. Equipment workers earn an average of $70.000 per year.
8) Mail Superintendents:
Yearly salary of up to $75.000 yearly
Regardless of rapid communication innovation, technology advancement and 3D Printing development, people will still mail letters, and physical package delivery will continue for the foreseeable future. Mail Superintendents are very well compensated up to $75.000 yearly and receive excellent benefits from the US Postal Services. You need to be organized, detail orientated and remain cool under pressure to coordinate categorization and distribution of thousands upon thousands of mail, parcels, and packages each year.
9) Transportation Inspectors:
Salary of the inspector can amount to $71.000 per year
Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. Transportation Inspectors are the police officers of the freight and transport industry. They inspect airplanes, subways, shipping vessels and related equipment to ensure compliance with federal safety regulations about passenger and cargo. These candidates earn on average $71.000 per year.
10) Non-Retail Sales Manager:
Median salary of $72.000 a year
A typical sales manager is responsible for supervising nonretail sales workers, schedule shifts, draw up budgets and perform general accounting duties. The median salary in the US for these types of roles are $72.000 per annum. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and love working with people there are ample opportunities awaiting in the commercial, manufacturing and industrial sectors.
11) Elevator Installer:
Salary average of $80.000 per year
If working in the confined spaces of elevator shafts exposed to the constant risk of electrical burns, falls and muscle strains do not scare you, then consider a job as an elevator installer. This is one of the highest paying jobs in the USA currently with the only pre-requisite is a High School Diploma. Elevator Installers earn from $80.000 per year for the long hours they spend hoisted in mid-air fixing cables, door mechanisms, and circuitry.
12) Transportation, Storage & Distribution Managers:
Salary can go up to $87.000 a year a year
These individuals are officially employed in the highest-earning roles ($87.000 a year) available requiring no formal education apart from a high school diploma. These managers work in industries like shipping, warehousing, manufacturing, and transportation. They are responsible for worker supervision and oversee dispatching, routing, and logistics.
13) License Inspector:
Salary is up to $64.000 a year
Labeled as the goody two-shoes in high school? Continue your affinity for rules and regulations and embark on the career path of a License Inspector. You will be paid around $64.000 per year to evaluate and verify permits and licenses applicable to individual contractors, small business and corporate organizations. Inspectors are also responsible for checking that the relevant parties are adhering to the terms and conditions these permits and licenses bind them to.
14) Petroleum Pump System Operator:
An average annual salary of $61.000
Oil and Gas commodities are not described as ‘’black gold’’ for nothing. Operators are tasked with the responsibility of controlling manifold and pumping systems in extraction operations. Securing a role in this type of industry may afford long-term career prospects as the growth spurt is expected to continue for a few decades still. Operators earn on average $61.000 in remuneration.
15) Voice Over Artist:
Depending on your voice, $80.000 a year is possible
Don’t have a face for acting, but perhaps your voice has memorable resonance? Voice Artistry in the US is a growing industry from Hollywood to Wall Street. Money is slow at first but once you have established a solid reputation, expect your vocal cords rake in from $80.000 per year doing commercials, motion pictures, and corporate advertising sound projects.
16) Margin Department Supervisor:
Salary of $83.000 to $93.000 per year
A flair for numbers and accurate calculation talents are needed in this role. Margin Department Supervisors work in credit and financial services institutions and get paid around $83.000 to $93.000 per year. Your daily role would encompass debt analysis, calculating expense ratio’s and tallying affordability metrics to make decisions on whether or not to grant credit to customers.
Real Keys to the Kingdom of Job Success
Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, a renowned author, and psychologist from the University of Pennsylvania explained in her TED Talk video that grit and perseverance power success more than formal education and tertiary qualifications.
This does not mean that you are can always be “too cool for school”. The inclination of knowledge is power will always reign true. Therefore training, vocational schooling and learning ingenuities to hone skills, get certified or complete required industry qualifications will still be essential catalysts to career success just as much formal degrees and academic tenure.