Graduating high school is a huge milestone and marks a new beginning in your young adult life. For many of you, the next step is attending college and continuing your education. However, college isn’t always an attractive, or even possible, option for many high school graduates. Sometimes the next step is joining the workforce and starting your career.
If that sounds like you, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Many young adults choose to enter the workforce right out of high school. Despite what you might hear, there are plenty of great jobs available that don’t require a college degree.
Starting off at the lower end of the spectrum, retail employment offers a well-paying job that is relatively easy to acquire. There are so many different options to choose from, ranging from supermarkets and mom-and-pop stores to nationally franchised retailers. There are 28,360 shoe stores in the United States alone and countless other retail stores. Granted, you won’t end up making millions, and definitely not that much starting out either. However, working in retail typically provides you with multiple leadership opportunities and the ability to move up the ladder. While you may enter as a sales associate, you could end up owning your own store by the end. Only a small portion (5%) of organizations have leadership development at every level, so it’s important to find a retailer that does provide these opportunities.
2. Tutor/Teaching Assistant
Nobody knows what school is all about better than you, right? You just spent the past four years of your life working through various subjects in high school, and now you’re wondering what to do with all that knowledge. Well, there are plenty of current students who are struggling to understand a subject that you just so happen to be an expert in. There are numerous online tutoring opportunities available in which you contract out your services for a set price per hour, or you can ask to be a teacher’s assistant and help kids in class.
3. Delivery Driver
While your first thought might be “pizza delivery driver,” that’s not what this section is referring to. Most of the businesses you see every day, even the pretty big ones, rely on someone to get their stuff from point A to point B. Delivery drivers, either by contract or in-house, load and drive items to and from these businesses. You could be driving frozen shellfish to the restaurant across town, car parts from the auto parts store to the mechanic’s garage down the street, or a wedding cake to its final destination. According to U.S. News, the median salary for a delivery driver is $29,850, making it a great place to start right out of high school.
4. Security Guard
Not all security guards get to carry a gun, so let’s get that out of the way real quick. You will most likely have to take a certification course to obtain a security job, but the average annual salary for a security guard is roughly $30,000, according to the United States Department of Labor. There are also various levels of security jobs you can get. Working for retailers and gas stations might range on the lower tier while working on a security team for a data firm might be toward the higher end.
5. Waste Management
For all of you who don’t mind getting a little dirty, a career in waste management could certainly be a viable option. There are 20 different industries that can make up waste management, so even if you aren’t a fan of riding on the back of a garbage truck (but seriously, why would you not want to?) there are multiple other opportunities for you. Annual wages can range, with a typical garbage collector salary between $30,000 and $40,000. Make no mistake though, this is a physically demanding industry and you will most likely be required to work very hard for your paycheck. That is unless you get a desk job (20 different industries, remember?).
Moving up the ladder, government jobs such as working for the post-office can be lifelong career options for the high school graduate. According to Business Insider, the median salary for postmasters and mail superintendents in 2012 was $63,050, with 5,000 projected employment openings through the year 2022. As a postmaster or mail superintendent, your primary job function would be to coordinate management or administrative services within a post office. If you don’t want to make it a lifelong career, no problem. Working in a post office gives you valuable skills and experience that you can easily translate to other positions.
No matter where you decide to end up after high school, it’s important to consider all of your options. Even though jumping into the workforce right away might seem like the best idea now, you might find that you want to get a college education in the future. Life isn’t set in stone, so don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do yet. Most adults still don’t know what they want to do in life.