Not everyone aspires to earn a college degree. Some students decide they don't want to attend college because of the cost, their family responsibilities, or because they simply aren't interested in a career that doesn't require a college education. Workers with a high school diploma can find successful, well-paying jobs in a variety of fields. Some of those careers are described below.

Loan Officers

Loan officers work with clients to evaluate applications and decide whether an individual or business should get a loan. They can work in banks, credit unions or mortgage companies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports jobs in this field are expected to increase 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, but could grow even faster in times of low interest rates. Some loan officers may only receive a salary, while others might earn commission too. The average yearly pay in 2010 was around $56,000.

Real Estate

Real-estate agents and brokers help work with clients looking to buy, sell or rent property. Over half are self-employed and choose their own schedules, but they often work long hours, including weekends. A high school diploma is the minimum education required, although all states require real-estate agents to also hold a license. The average pay is around $43,000. Other jobs in this industry that require a high school diploma are real estate appraisers and assessors, who average $48,500 per year.


There are several jobs in the construction industry available for those with a high school diploma. Most require on-the-job training or an apprenticeship, but are growing at a rate of over 20 percent per year and can pay up to $54,000 annually. Jobs in this field include electricians, stonemasons, plumbers, insulation workers, building inspectors, iron and steel workers, brick masons and carpenters.

Law Enforcement

Careers in law enforcement for those with a high school diploma include bailiffs, police officers, detectives, jailers, investigators or correctional officers. Generally speaking, you must be at least 21 to apply for these types of jobs, complete a training academy and meet physical fitness requirements. Once hired, additional on-the-job training is usually required. Average yearly pay is around $55,000 per year.

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