Highest Paying Jobs for High Schoolers

Jan 16, 2020

Waiting until after graduation to find a job that pays well? Explore some of the highest paying jobs that you can have while you are still in high school.

Career Options for High Schoolers Seeking High Paying Jobs

It is a common myth that all jobs available to those who are currently in high school are low paying. On the contrary, there are quite a few positions that can be held prior to graduation that pay much higher than the current minimum wage in nearly every state. Discover five of the best high paying jobs for high schoolers.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Construction Helpers $34,810 11%
Painters $38,940 6%
Butchers $31,580 3%
Craft and Fine Artists $48,960 1%
Retail Sales Workers $24,340 -2% (decline)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information on the Highest Paying Jobs for High Schoolers

Construction Helpers

For those who enjoy jobs that involve a high level of physical activity, working as a full-time construction helper may be a great choice. The majority of helper positions do not require a high school diploma, and training is handled on-the-job. Individuals working in this position assist craftworkers by carrying tools, moving materials, taking apart various pieces of equipment, and cleaning job sites. High schoolers who are planning on a career in construction can get a head start on their future plans, while making significantly more than minimum wage.


Working as a painter in the summer months can be a lucrative and active position for those currently enrolled in high school. With no formal degree requirements, students receive training after being hired. The daily duties of a painter include applying paint to walls, taking steps to protect their environment from paint stains, applying sealers and primers, and using various painting techniques to achieve a desired look. Those who are looking to make high wages in this role must be in good physical shape, pay attention to detail, and have exceptional customer service skills.


High schoolers who want to make high wages in a retail environment should consider applying to be a butcher. Butchers prepare meat orders for customers in grocery stores and specialty meat shops. They are also required to learn tasks such as removing bones from meat, preparing various cuts of meat, and making sausages. No degree or diploma is required for this role, and it can often be worked during the school year.

Craft and Fine Artists

Thanks to advancements in technology, almost anyone with the ability can now sell their art online. This includes individuals who are still in high school, since no formal education is required to work as a craft or fine artist. Craft and fine artists are most frequently self-employed, and use their artistic abilities to make sketches, paintings, sculptures, and knitted products. They are then able to sell their art at craft shows and on various online marketplaces, which can result in much higher pay than average positions for high schoolers.

Retail Sales Workers

Although the retail environment is shifting, positions in this industry are often some of the most convenient and accessible for high schoolers. Those who enter the role of a retail sales worker can expect to make more money than other retail positions (e.g. cashiers) with no formal education requirements. Individuals who work in this job are expected to demonstrate outstanding customer service skills, answer customer questions, make product recommendations, and tell customers about relevant promotions. Sales skills, interpersonal communication skills, and previous customer service experience are an absolute must.

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