Top 10 Careers for a High School Grad

Individuals with a high school diploma can work in a variety of industries, such as retail, fast food and military. Although these areas do not require formal education, employees usually complete on-the-job training.

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What Are Some Popular Jobs for Graduates with a High School Diploma?

Some of the most popular jobs for high school graduates, according to PayScale.com and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), include customer service representative, retail sales associate, certified nursing assistant, office manager and administrative assistant. Other common positions are cashier, truck driver, bank teller, food service worker and enlisted military personnel. A high school diploma is typically necessary. The job duties, median salary and employment outlook for the mentioned positions are outlined below.

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives work for companies in call centers responding to and resolving customer inquiries and complaints. Some employers may require customer service representatives to sell products and services. According to PayScale.com, the median hourly rate for customer service representatives in August 2014 was $14.00. Employment opportunities for customer service representatives were expected to grow by 13% from 2012 to 2022, reported the BLS (www.bls.gov). Most new opportunities were expected to result from an increased use of online services.

Retail Sales Associates

Retail sales associates sell items, such as cars, clothing and electronics, in addition to helping store patrons find what they're looking for, describing product features, demonstrating product uses and conducting payment transactions. The median hourly rate in August 2014 was $9.00 for retail sales associates, as reported by PayScale.com. Job opportunities were predicted to grow by 10% between 2012 and 2022, according to the BLS. Due to a projected increase in human population, retail sales were also expected to rise.

Certified Nursing Assistants

The duties of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) involve helping patients with such tasks as eating, bathing, dressing, walking and getting in and out of bed. Professionals may also clean patients' rooms, take a patient's temperature and check blood pressure rates. In addition to clinical training, state certification requirements must be met. For CNAs in August 2014, $10.00 was the median hourly rate that PayScale.com noted. The BLS anticipated that employment from 2012 and 2022 would grow 21%, with the reasoning that an increasingly elderly population would increase the demand for more CNAs.

Office Managers

Office managers are responsible for making sure day-to-day office operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Specific job tasks may include distributing work assignments and overseeing employees. In August 2014, PayScale.com recorded $15 as the median hourly salary for office managers. The BLS expected a 12% employment increase for office managers in the 2012-2022 decade.

Administrative Assistants

Like office managers, administrative assistants ensure the smooth, efficient operations of organizations. Job duties may include planning and scheduling meetings, organizing paperwork, answering phones and managing projects. Some administrative assistants work from home, and they're known as virtual assistants. The median hourly wage in August 2014, as listed by PayScale.com, was $14.00. Job opportunities were predicted to grow by 12% between 2012 and 2022, reported the BLS. Most new jobs were expected to be found in various industries, such as education, healthcare and construction, as well as professional, scientific, social and technical service.

Cashiers

Cashiers record and receive customer payments from the sale of goods and services. Forms of payment may include cash or checks and debit, credit and gift cards. PayScale.com reported that cashiers earned a median hourly rate of $8.00 in August 2014. The predicted employment outlook for cashiers by the BLS was slower than most occupations, with only a 3% increase between 2012 and 2022. While retail sales were expected to rise, the need for cashiers was anticipated to decrease due to the popularity of online shopping and in-store technological advancements such as self-checkout counters.

Truck Drivers

Truck drivers transport goods from one place to another, but some may also be required to take on sales responsibilities. Such duties may include making recommendations to store managers or finding new customers to deliver goods to. The median hourly rate for truck drivers in August 2014 was $16.00, noted PayScale.com. According to the BLS, truck drivers could expect an 11% increase in job opportunities from 2012 to 2022. Approximately 192,600 new jobs were expected to be created during this decade.

Bank Tellers

Bank tellers process customer transactions at banks. Beyond cashing checks, these transactions may include deposits, withdrawals and loan payments. For August 2014, PayScale.com reported a median hourly wage of $10.00 for bank tellers. The BLS predicted a job opportunity increase of 1% in the 2012-2022 timeframe. The need for bank tellers was likely to arise because of industry growth and openings left by workers changing occupations.

Food Service Workers

Such titles as restaurant and short-order cook, host and hostess, server, bartender and dishwasher are among titles for food service workers. Employers include full-service and fast food restaurants, in addition to other food establishments. Most food service jobs have very little educational requirements and attract a large amount of young workers.

Employment opportunities for cooks and food preparation workers was predicted by the BLS to grow 4% between 2012 and 2022; 9% was the rate for food service workers and servers. Actual growth may vary, however, depending upon the type of establishment an employee works in.

Salaries of food service workers depend on job titles and duties. In May 2013, the BLS reported the following median earnings per hour:

  • Dishwashers - $8.95
  • Waiters and Waitresses - $8.94
  • Hosts and Hostesses - $8.96
  • Bartenders - $9.09
  • Short-Order Cooks - $9.51
  • Restaurant Cooks - $10.65

Enlisted Military Personnel

Job titles for enlisted military personnel are numerous and include patrol officer, electronics technician, information technology specialist, intelligence analyst, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and pilot. Employment opportunities for active-duty military personnel in 2012 were predicted to hold constant through 2022. Job titles and duties determine salaries of military personnel.

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