High-paying careers with high school education or less

Engineer working at industrial zone for operate equipment, Steel pipelines and valve

Looking for a career that pays well but requires only a high school diploma or less? You can find a wide variety of career options using CareerOneStop’s Highest-Paying Careers report.

What are some of my career options?

The two tables below show careers with the highest median wages based on the latest available wage data (currently May 2020). These lists show national data, but you can find data for your state by going to the report and entering your state in the Search by Location box in the top left on the report page. The Typical Education filters let you choose which careers show up on your results list.

Here’s what the information on the tables provide:

  • The official career title; click this link to view a full profile of information about this type of career.
  • Median national wages: this means that half of the people currently working in this career earn more than this amount, half earn less.
  • Typical education: the amount of education that most people have when they enter the career.
  • Rank: this shows where the career falls on the full list of all the occupations at any level of education.

The first list below shows 10 of the highest-paying careers that have a typical education requirement of high school diploma or equivalent. Keep in mind that some of these careers have on-the-job training requirements, and some may be growing, while others may have fewer job openings in the near future. See full list.

Below is a list of the 10 highest-paying careers that have a typical education requirement of some high school (no diploma). See full list.                                                                                                 

RankOccupation2020 Median wages (hourly and annual salary)
230Artists and Related Workers, All Other$31.63$65,800
266Hoist and Winch Operators$30.10$62,600
323Continuous Mining Machine Operators$27.37$56,900
328Loading and Moving Machine Operators, Underground Mining$27.23$56,600
353Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas$25.88$53,800
388Athletes and Sports CompetitorsN/A$50,900
428Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas$23.04$47,900
429Farm Labor Contractors$22.97$47,800
435Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers$22.82$47,500

What if I want to save the career report?

You can download and save your list by clicking the Download button at the bottom of your results list, and choose from Excel, PDF, Word, or RTF formats. You can also email your results or print them out using the icons at the top of the page.

This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Check out our other career reports: fastest-growing careers, careers with declining employment, careers with largest employment, and careers with most openings.

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