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Career Information for an Education in Basic Skills

Degrees in basic skills typically cover high school-level knowledge in math and reading. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for basic skills of GED graduates.

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After completing a basic skills program, it's possible to pursue employment as a home health aide, a janitor or a food preparation worker. In some states additional certification and training may be required for home health aides. Certification for janitors and building cleaners is optional.

Essential Information

Basic skills programs offer GED or career training to individuals who do not have a high school diploma. In these programs, students will learn basic math, English, and practical skills that high school graduates should possess. Most entry-level positions that require a high school degree will also consider those with GEDs. Graduates of basic skills training have several career options available to them.

Career Home Health Aide Janitors and Building Cleaners Food Preparation Worker
Prerequisites Depending on state and employer, certification and training my be required Various voluntary certifications are available A basic understanding of how food is prepared
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 38% 6% (except maids and housekeeping cleaners) 7%
Average Salary (2015)* $22,870 $26,180 (except maids and housekeeping cleaners) $22,050

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Community colleges offer individuals who have not completed a high school diploma the opportunity to improve their reading, math and technological skills through basic skill programs. Course offerings vary by institution and may include courses in basic reading, writing and mathematics, as well as training on computers. Some of these programs prepare students to take General Educational Development (GED) exams while others emphasize preparation for paid employment. The following are careers one can obtain with a GED.

Home Health Aide

A home health aide provides care services to elderly, infirm or disabled clients in their homes. Aides assist clients with hygiene, eating and dressing. They may also provide basic health care services, such as administering medications, taking vital signs and writing down information about the client's condition for review by a registered nurse or physician.

Salary and Job Prospects

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), home health aides earned an average annual salary of $22,870 in May 2015. The BLS also projected excellent job prospects for this occupation, with employment expected to increase by 38% between 2014 and 2024.

Building Cleaning Worker

Building cleaning workers, including janitors, commercial cleaners, hotel maids and house cleaners, maintain the cleanliness of homes and buildings and, in the case of janitors, may also perform basic maintenance duties. Training for these positions usually takes place on the job, and applicants do not need a degree or diploma to qualify.

Salary and Job Prospects

The BLS estimated employment growth for janitors and building cleaners (except maids and housekeeping cleaners) to be about as fast as average between 2014 and 2024, with a predicted employment growth of 6%. The average salary for these workers was $26,180 in May of 2015.

Cook or Food Preparation Worker

Culinary workers prepare food in a variety of contexts, including restaurants, businesses, catering companies, food manufacturers and institutions. While some culinary workers receive training through apprenticeships or culinary schools, it is possible to learn cooking and food preparation skills on the job.

Salary and Job Prospects

The BLS estimated that employment growth for food preparation workers between 2014 and 2024 would be 7%. The profession does see a great deal of turnover, which can increase the chances of individuals to find work. Some types of cooking jobs, such as those in business and institutional cafeterias, or private households, will see greater growth in employment opportunities during this time. The BLS reported an average annual salary of $22,050 for these workers in May of 2015.

Individuals without a high school diploma can pursue basic skills training. This training will qualify them to pursue employment as a food preparation worker, janitor or home health aide. Janitors and food preparation workers are expected to see an average rate of job growth from 2014 to 2024, while home health aides will experience an extremely high level of job growth in their field, due to the aging population.

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