21 Good-Paying Jobs That Require Only a High School Diploma

By Jamie Birt

Updated May 26, 2022 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated May 26, 2022

Published February 4, 2020

Jamie Birt is a career coach with 5+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.

This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach

There are dozens of good-paying and rewarding career options for those with a high school diploma. Many of these jobs provide employees with on-the-job training and do not require specialized skill sets or college education. Others require certification to advance in the role.

If you are looking for a career option that does not require more than a high school diploma, explore this article for 21 jobs that might be a good fit.

Read more: 8 Jobs with No Experience Required

Top jobs you can get with only a high school diploma

There are a wide variety of job titles you can hold with a high school diploma, including:

1. Dispensing optician

National average salary: $15.49 per hour

Primary duties: Dispensing opticians work in an optometry office. They take care of administrative tasks like scheduling appointments and answering customers' questions. They also help customers to choose the correct glasses or contact lenses and advise them about factors like price and insurance premiums.

Requirements: Dispensing opticians must complete on-the-job training and may be required to have a license in some states. Apprenticeships are also a popular way to acquire the necessary training.

2. Community health care worker

National average salary: $15.90 per hour

Primary duties: Community health workers educate the general public on subjects related to health and self-care. They may work in connection with a social worker's office to provide health care information to those who need medical counseling. They serve their communities by working to improve the physical well-being of each individual they interact with.

Requirements: Depending on the state, some community health care workers may be required to complete a standardized training course. Some acquire training through a combination of mentoring and job shadowing.

3. Pharmacy technician

National average salary: $16.03 per hour

Primary duties: Pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies to dispense prescription drugs, medications and other pharmaceutical products to customers. On a typical day, they might package and label pill bottles, advise customers on how to use certain medications and complete payment transactions. Common work environments include hospitals, drugstores, grocery stores and assisted living facilities.

Requirements: Pharmacy technicians must complete one year of accredited pharmacy technician training. Some states require pharmacy technicians to be certified, which is also preferred by some employers.

4. Gaming manager

National average salary: $35,630 per year

Primary duties: Gaming managers supervise gaming tables, dealers and customers at casinos. They make sure that both employees and clients follow the establishment's rules and play each game fairly. They manage daily casino activities like overseeing cash transactions, coordinating with security teams and serving customers.

Requirements: Gaming managers often secure entry-level positions in a casino without any training. Most employers provide training to promising employees after they are hired.

5. Mail carrier

National average salary: $17.26 per hour

Primary duties: Mail carriers collect and deliver letters and packages to and from local businesses and residences. Mail carriers may walk or drive trucks or cars and they typically follow a set route every day. They are government employees who usually work for the U.S. Postal Service.

Requirements: To be a mail carrier, you must be a U.S. citizen, have a driver's license and a safe driving record. You will also have to take and pass the written Postal Exam. There are several career advancement opportunities available for successful mail carriers.

6. Power plant operator

National average salary: $18.14 per hour

Primary duties: Power plant operators monitor, maintain and operate machinery and equipment in energy production facilities. They are responsible for making sure all processes and activities under their supervision are completed safely and efficiently. Depending on their employer, they may handle nuclear reactors, electric generators or water turbines.

Requirements: Aspiring power plant operators have the option of completing vocational coursework at a trade school. Professionals who work in a nuclear facility must acquire specialized certification. Most employers prefer applicants who have two to five years of experience operating heavy machinery.

7. Audiovisual technician

National average salary: $18.36 per hour

Primary duties: Audiovisual technicians operate and maintain all the equipment involved in shows or presentations that involve audio or visual elements. The equipment includes microphones, speakers, projectors, screens and soundboards. These professionals are responsible for setting up this equipment and packing it away at the end of the event.

Requirements: Audiovisual technicians are often self-taught. Some might receive training through job shadowing or from a professional mentor. The technical skills required to be an audiovisual technician can also be learned using online courses or through apprenticeships.

8. Ironworker

National average salary: $20.34 per hour

Primary duties: Ironworkers create and install iron building materials including girders, beams and sheet metal. They weld and cut the metal and may use concrete and bolts to secure it in place.

Requirements: Ironworkers gain their training by completing three to four years of apprenticeships. They learn the tools of the trade through a combination of practice and mentoring. They must be strong, healthy and capable of using power tools.

9. Equipment operator

National average salary: $20.36 per hour

Primary duties: Equipment operators drive and operate heavy machinery. This could include operating forklifts, bulldozers, cranes and excavators. They are hired by construction companies, retail managers and warehouse operators.

Requirements: Equipment operators can acquire training formally through an apprenticeship or informally from an experienced operator. Apprenticeships last three to four years. Most employers will require you to have a valid driver's license.

10. Firefighter

National average salary: $44,830 per year

Primary duties: Firefighters respond to emergency calls that relate to fire. They are responsible for putting out fires and rescuing individuals from burning buildings. They wear protective clothing for safety and use specialized equipment to extinguish fires quickly.

Requirements: Firefighters must attend firefighting academies where they learn how to put out fires and how to administer first aid. After they are hired, they receive additional training from their employers.

11. Police dispatcher

National average salary: $45,410 per year

Primary duties: Police dispatch professionals use radios to communicate with police officers and to direct them to where they are needed. Dispatchers may also answer 911 calls and coordinate with on-duty officers to direct law enforcement to the location of an emergency.

Requirements: Police dispatchers must take and pass a civil service test before they can be hired. They must also pass a background check, drug test and psychological evaluation.

12. Industrial mechanic

National average salary: $23.12 per hour

Primary duties: Industrial mechanics repair and maintain heavy machinery and equipment in an industrial setting. They also remove malfunctioning equipment and install new units. They adhere to a strict code of safety protocols and policies.

Requirements: Industrial mechanics are trained by a supervisor while on the job. They typically need a year of training before they can operate independently. To service certain machinery, like mills, industrial mechanics may need to complete an apprenticeship.

13. Hotel manager

National average salary: $50,510 per year

Primary duties: Hotel managers supervise all activities in a hotel or resort facility. They direct the hotel staff, communicate with customers and address any issues that arise with the hotel guests. Hotel managers generally work their way up from an entry-level position.

Requirements: Hotel managers typically start as desk clerks, office managers or hospitality specialists. After gaining several years of experience in the industry, they will qualify for promotions or a raise in salary. Aspiring hotel managers can also pursue internships that provide them with valuable experience.

14. Farm manager

National average salary: $50,993 per year

Primary duties: Farm managers oversee the daily activities that take place on an agricultural property. This includes supervising staff, inspecting crops and operating machinery. They typically start as farmhands or seasonal workers who then work their way up the career ladder after several years of employment.

Requirements: Farm managers typically need to have a bachelor's degree in agricultural, but lower-level employees can work their way up to being a farm manager if they have an exceptional work ethic and good leadership skills.

15. Plumber

National average salary: $25.29 per hour

Primary duties: Plumbers repair, replace and maintain the functionality of water pipes, fixtures and waste systems. They design plumbing systems for new buildings, repair broken pipes and install replacement fixtures. They handle a range of issues, including leaks, flooding and low water pressure.

Requirements: Plumbers must complete an apprenticeship that lasts four to five years. They must also pass a state exam to be licensed to practice.

16. Police officer

National average salary: $54,167 per year

Primary duties: Police officers pursue and apprehend criminals, file reports concerning crimes and endeavor to keep the peace in their communities. They drive specialized vehicles and use a specific set of tools including handguns, handcuffs and communication devices.

Requirements: Police officers must take and pass a police entrance exam and graduate from a local police academy to be qualified to pursue a career in law enforcement. The academy training involves physical conditioning, firearms training and criminal law.

17. Public transportation operator

National average salary: $62,643 per year

Primary duties: Public transportation operators operate public vehicles like subway trains, school buses and streetcars. They are responsible for getting their passengers to their destinations quickly and safely. They are typically employed by the local government and are considered civil servants.

Requirements: As a public transportation operator, you will typically learn your trade while on the job. You will need to study and memorize local traffic laws and regulations as well as emergency protocols.

18. Distribution manager

National average salary: $70,330 per year

Primary duties: Distribution managers oversee and facilitate the transportation of goods and products in a distribution center. They are employed by large businesses, warehouses, manufacturing factories and wholesale retailers. Their duties include organizing shipments, inputting data into computer systems and managing a team of employees.

Requirements: Distribution managers are instructed on shipping policies, safety protocols and warehouse processes while on the job. They typically learn from a supervisor or professional mentor.

19. Transportation inspector

National average salary: $74,453 per year

Primary duties: Transportation inspectors examine vehicles to make sure they are compliant with local safety regulations and report any violations to the proper authority. They inspect vehicles for illegal modifications, environmental hazards and malfunctioning parts.

Requirements: There are not any educational requirements for transportation inspectors beyond a high school diploma, but some might choose to acquire training from a vocational or trade school. Training can also be gained from on-the-job mentoring.

20. Commercial pilot

National average salary: $77,531 per year

Primary duties: Commercial pilots operate airplanes that carry passengers and cargo. They perform preflight checks to ensure the safety of their passengers, read data from the plane instruments and communicate regularly with the flight attendants and passengers throughout the flight. They also coordinate with air traffic control officers on the ground which allows them to take off and land safely.

Requirements: Commercial pilots must acquire several certificates to be licensed to fly passenger planes, including medical certificates and an instrument rating. They must also pass a knowledge test and accumulate a certain amount of flight hours before they can take their practical flight test with an examiner.

21. Insurance agent

National average salary: $209,448 per year

Primary duties: Insurance agents sell life, health and car insurance to customers. They frequently establish and maintain long-term connections with their customers and help them as they navigate different life stages. They study their company's policies closely so that they can provide customers with accurate price quotes and advise them on their purchase options. They also write and edit insurance policies for new and existing customers.

Requirements: Insurance agents must take and pass a state licensing exam to practice in their state. They must also acquire specific licenses for each type of insurance that they want to sell. If they want, insurance agents can pursue specific professional certifications later in their careers.

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