7 of the Best Jobs for High School Grads

Posted March 5, 2020 by in Career
high school student sitting on desk

3.3 million students graduated high school last year. However, one-third of them chose not to go to college after graduation. Why? Because there are many well-paying jobs that don’t require post-secondary education.

With a high school diploma or GED equivalent, you can join the workforce. With on-the-job experience, you can develop a secure, consistent career path. Or, you could go into debt doing four more years of school without a guarantee of a career at the end.

Unsure of what to do after high school? Here are seven of the best jobs for high school grads:

Best Jobs for High School Grads

  1. Construction Workers

Construction workers assist in the building of houses, buildings, roads, highways, and more. They work indoors and outdoors in a range of weather conditions. You don’t need post-secondary education to work in this field. However, you do need on-the-job experience.

To get your first job, apply to openings with construction companies and through temporary employment agencies. Once you have some basic experience on the job, you’ll be able to secure longer positions.

There’s lots of room for growth in this field. You could specialize in masonry, electrical, plumbing, roofing, and more. You could also become a contractor and start your own business.

In this career, you’re always working with your hands and in different environments. It’s perfect for those who like versatility and physical work.

  1. Mail Delivery Person

If you have your high school education, you can get a job with the U.S. Postal Service. Your role would be to sort and deliver mail to businesses and residences. Collecting mail to be sent is also an important component.

To do this job, you need to speak and read English with fluency. You must be able to lift to 70 pounds and carry a 35-pound bag. Part of the job is to drive the postal vehicle to different neighborhoods. You must have a valid driver’s license.

This job is great for anyone who wants stable, secure hours with decent pay. There’s lots of walking involved so you must enjoy physical work.

You could work for the government postal service or for private courier services. When you work for the government, you get bank holidays off and become part of a union.  

  1. Landscaper

Do you offer to mow the lawn for your family? Does being outside bring you more joy than being indoors? The life of a landscaper may be for you.

Landscapers take care of the outdoor areas on commercial, public, and residential properties. You could be responsible for mowing and maintaining the lawns, trees, and gardens.

High school grads can easily land a summer job with landscaping companies. If you want to make it your career, look for longer-term positions. Do the extra work to stay physically fit and learn how to use various pieces of equipment.

Some landscapers go on to run their own businesses. Others work for the municipal government. The pay rate varies by position and increases with experience.

To excel as a landscaper, you must be fit, punctual, and have strong customer service skills.

  1. Cook or Sous Chef

If cooking is your passion, you can pursue a career as a cook without post-graduate education. Most restaurants will hire high school students and grads to work as dishwashers, prep cooks, and line cooks.

Those who excel and grow their experience can become the sous chef of the kitchen. However, to become head chef, you usually need to complete culinary school.

The life of a cook isn’t for everyone. You often work when everyone else is enjoying their meals and time off. It includes physical work as well as mental strength.

Some cook positions include tip-out from the restaurant and discounts off the food.

You aren’t restricted to restaurants, though. You could become a personal cook, work on cruise ships and resorts, or become a caterer.

  1. Restaurant Supervisor or Manager

The restaurant industry is notorious for nurturing careers. Those who start as a dishwasher or waiter can eventually become supervisors and managers.

Having post-secondary education doesn’t affect your skills in this job.

If you can perform excellent customer service, teamwork, and leadership skills, you can excel as a restaurant supervisor. However, that can mean working long, late hours doing physically grueling work.

Most restaurant managers earn a salary, and some receive tip-out from the servers.

  1. Property Manager

Property managers often begin their careers by working under other property managers. They could be cleaners, landscapers, or administrative workers. Often, they work in apartment and condominium buildings.

Property managers supervise all the other employees that allow a property to run smoothly. They must be good with tenants and visitors, organized, and handy. Every day poses different obstacles that you must be happy to tackle.

The salary of a property manager varies. You might be employed by the building owner and receive living quarters. Or, you could be employed by a property management company and earn an hourly wage.

  1. Hotel Worker

There are tons of positions within the hotel industry that don’t require a diploma. You could be a cleaner, bellhop, server, bartender, or concierge.

To land higher-paying roles, you may need a diploma. This article will instruct you on how to get one fast and easily.

However, you can also work your way up through the ranks.

Working in a hotel often means long, irregular hours and physical work. You must be excellent at customer service and highly dependable. Luckily, the tips from guests make it all worthwhile. 


College isn’t for everyone. Luckily, you don’t need to attend post-secondary school to land an amazing career. The list of best jobs for high school grads above is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re willing to do the work and grow through the ranks, you don’t need more than a high school diploma.

For more career ideas and tips for nailing your interview, check out our Career section.