Careers that Only Require a High School Diploma

Jan 19, 2020

Careers in protective services, transportation, construction, sales, healthcare and other fields can be pursued with a high school diploma. Continue reading to learn more about occupations that do not require formal postsecondary training.

Career Options for Jobs that Only Require a High School Diploma

Not everyone wants to attend college, and some people are more ideally suited to careers that involve on-the-job training because they don't do well with formal academic studies. A wide range of career options can be considered that only require a high school diploma.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Outlook (2018-2028)*
Physical Therapy Aides $26,240 23%
Janitors and Building Cleaners $26,110 7%
Cashiers $22,430 -4%
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $38,880 -7%
Construction Laborers and Helpers $34,810 11%
Subway and Streetcar Operators $68,170 6%
Security Guards $28,490 5%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs that Only Require a High School Diploma

Physical Therapy Aides

Physical therapy aides are healthcare professionals who can start their career with a high school diploma. They learn through on-the-job training. They help patients make appointments and help keep the medical offices and treatment rooms clean. They may also do other tasks, such as completing insurance forms or assisting patients with mobility issues when they need to move from room to room.

Janitors and Building Cleaners

Janitors and building cleaners are responsible for stocking supplies and ensuring that buildings are sanitary. They clean walls, floors and other surfaces and they may also perform small repairs. It's possible to enter this job field without graduating from high school, but those who have a diploma and have taken courses that involve making repairs will have an advantage over other applicants.


Cashiers do not always need to finish high school, although some employers prefer applicants with a high school diploma or GED. They acquire the skills they need through on-the-job training. They assist customers in retail outlets and may help them locate items. They also process payment for the goods that customers are buying.

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically work in offices and they do things such as write and file documents, answer incoming phone calls and book appointments. It's possible to enter this career field with a high school diploma. Experience with computers is an asset, and those in this field learn through on-the-job training. With practical experience it's possible to advance to being an executive secretary.

Construction Laborers and Helpers

Construction laborers and helpers do not necessarily even need a high school diploma, although completing high school vocational or math classes is an asset. These construction workers learn through on-the-job training. They may perform a wide range of tasks on construction sites, such as unloading materials or operating equipment. They may also assist tradesmen, such as electricians.

Subway and Streetcar Operators

Subway and streetcar operators are responsible for driving subways and streetcars. They follow assigned routes and schedules and pick up and drop off passengers. Subway and streetcar operators usually need to have a high school diploma and they receive training from experienced operators once hired.

Security Guards

Security guards can begin their career with a high school diploma or GED. They learn through on-the-job training. They are responsible for protecting property and they help prevent crime by monitoring their assigned area and addressing any suspicious behavior. If they apprehend someone who is committing a crime they may testify in court.

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