Congratulations! Now that you’ve graduated high school, you can join the workforce and start earning your keep along with everyone else.
But if you’ve ever spent time looking for a great job, you know they can be hard to come by. Even more so for high school graduates who may not have much work history, much less the experience or skills they need to line up that next job.
However, high-paying jobs are out there if you know where to look. As a high school graduate, everything from entry-level jobs to side hustles can help you earn a paycheck while considering your next move.
Going to college vs. getting a job after high school
While some may decide to go to college immediately after graduating, others may take a year or two off while working to decide what to do with the rest of their lives.
Even if you decide to continue with your education, you might still need a way to bring in money to help pay your bills. You’ll also want to afford yourself some standard of living without going into debt, and a great job is a good place to start.
The good news is that many jobs don’t require a two- or four-year degree. You may be qualified straight out of high school.
College work-study program
A work-study program is a financial aid program offered by some colleges and universities that allows students to work part-time jobs to earn money to pay for their educational expenses.
The work-study program typically involves part-time employment on campus or with certain approved off-campus employers. The program may provide opportunities to gain work experience related to the student’s field of study. The wages earned from the work-study job are generally used to pay for tuition, fees, and other educational expenses.
To be eligible for a work-study program, students must demonstrate financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The amount of money a student can earn through the program is usually limited to a certain amount per year, and the pay rate for work-study jobs may be lower than other part-time jobs.
Physical jobs for high school graduates
1. Landscaper / Groundskeeper
This job is great for those that like to be outside. If the last thing you have in mind is working in a stuffy office all day, being a landscaper or groundskeeper means that you’ll be working outside in the fresh air, helping to beautify local homes, parks, and schools.
Some licensing may be required to handle dangerous chemicals, but otherwise, this is a field that you can get into with no prior experience.
Pay generally starts at $29k but can go up to $37k as you get more experience.
2. Maintenance and Repair
If you’re handy with a toolbox and like working on different projects from day to day, a great way to earn is to do maintenance and repair. You can do this in your local neighborhood or at a nearby building or complex.
It’ll call on skills such as plumbing, electrical work, and superficial maintenance such as painting
The great thing about this niche is that it can build onto some very lucrative trade jobs. Plumbers and electricians get paid handsomely.
But it’s great to start out as a general maintenance and repair technician to get that experience and see what interests you for the long-term outlook.
Median pay starts around $39k, but the best-paid workers get around $51k a year.
3. Outdoor Guide
If you love to spend your free time outdoors among the stars and the elements, you may enjoy being an outdoor guide.
Knowledge of the surrounding areas is a plus, and you’ll also need basic first-aid training. You get to use your navigational knowledge to lead groups into nature or on adventurous excursions. All the while staying safe of course. If you have any significant history of spending time outdoors, you’re likely qualified already.
Pay varies depending on region, but you can definitely make up to 40k a year with this job. It’s one of the more interesting ones and is perfect if you have great people skills or want to practice.
4. Fitness Instructor/Trainer
A personal trainer assists people in achieving their fitness goals. If this looks like something you’d be interested in doing over the weekends, then you could very well be on your way to earning some extra bucks.
As a fitness trainer, you must be ready to provide coaching, emotional support, and fitness instructions to clients.
Weekends are preferable for many people to exercise due to the demands of work on weekdays. Plus, people who exercise mainly during weekends usually want to make the most of that time which means they wouldn’t mind hiring a personal trainer.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for fitness instructors in the U.S. is $19.50 per hour, well above the minimum wage. Looking to get started? Indeed.com is a great place to search for personal fitness coach jobs at your local gym.
Driving and delivery jobs for high school graduates
5. Rideshare Driver
Whether you opt to use your vehicle or join a taxi company with a fleet of their own, driving for a living can be an ideal job.
Not only do you get the flexibility to drive in your spare time, you also meet tons of new people that can help you network.
The average driver makes around $41k per year, but it can get significantly higher depending on how many hours you put in, the area and time of day you work, and tip amounts.
Also to consider is the car you drive. If you’re looking to get a more fuel-efficient car to save on gas, look into renting cars on HyreCar. You can rent hybrid vehicles such as a Toyota Prius to lower your gas and maintenance costs.
6. Bus Driver
For those that like to drive but want something more unique out of their day-to-day life, a bus driver can fit the bill.
You’ll get to learn more about your local community and the people in it, as well as drive one of the biggest vehicles in and around city streets. It’s also a job where you can be one with your thoughts, if that’s important to you.
Salary ranges from $24k to $54k a year.
7. Delivery Driver
If driving is your thing, then you could work as a delivery driver and earn some pretty decent bucks doing so.
As a delivery driver, you’ll be responsible for transporting customers’ packages from the mail facility to their residential or commercial addresses. It’s an excellent part-time weekend job because people always have increased needs during the weekends.
Some apps like DoorDash and Instacart allow you to work as a delivery driver on your own terms.
Check out DoorDash vs. Instacart: Which Pays More?
The increased autonomy over work hours might be more appealing for some. You could decide to work for as little as one hour or for as long as 12 hours any time you choose to.
Service-related jobs for high school graduates
8. Home Health Aide
Those that like to take care of others may want to consider a job as a home health aide. Other than some minor training or a competency exam, being a home health aide can provide you with a livable wage as you take care of everyday tasks, such as cooking or cleaning up around a patient’s home.
Home health aides generally make around $30k a year, but you could bump it up to around $50k a year if you’re willing to work as an overnight home health aide, as overnight hours pay a higher rate than daytime hours.
9. Flight Attendant
If the idea of getting paid to travel the world appeals to you, why not consider becoming a flight attendant after graduating high school? They make a good, livable salary and have perks such as frequent flying and staying in great hotels at various destinations across the country. While there may be cranky passengers from time to time, it’s a worthwhile tradeoff for waking up in new cities each morning.
The median salary hovers at 78k but can get up to six figures on the higher end, paying around $110-120k.
10. Waiter / Waitress
As a job that has the opportunity to earn lots of money, especially in high-scale establishments, being a waiter or waitress is one of those lucrative jobs that earn really well if you know what you’re doing.
You may not make much in the wrong establishment, but the right one can earn way past a comfortable wage.
It’s not too useful to be talking about base compensation, as tips play a huge role in the overall compensation. Just know that raking in six-figures isn’t an impossibility in this industry.
Some people require child care, senior care, pet care, or housekeeping assistance on weekends. If you have time and love caring for others, this weekend job “near me” is a great option.
Home care is a necessary and in-demand service that is available in every community across the United States. On weekends, you could make these services available to anyone who requires them.
Depending on where you live, you could earn as much as $15 to $30 per hour or more. You should sign up for Care.com to find clients in your area if you think it’ll be a good fit for you.
Specialty jobs for high school graduates
12. Pharmacy Technician
Requires little experience yet is accompanied by a significant upside if you elect for a quick, two-year degree. A pharmacy tech helps organize, count and label medicine at a local pharmacy.
It’s also a great job for travelers and those who want to relocate every few years because you can find a pharmacy just about everywhere.
If you’ve ever dreamed about having a nomadic lifestyle, this could be your in.
By allowing yourself to travel and shop around for jobs, you could be hitting up to 90k in compensation per year.
13. Pest Exterminator
There’s certainly no shortage of pests and other creepy crawlies that live in any given home or building. That’s why being a pest exterminator can be a rewarding profession. It’s also a good way to make some extra money when you graduate high school.
You’ll be helping property owners deal with pests in their buildings, and the thanks you’ll receive is the icing on the cake after the take-home pay.
Salary ranges from $25k to $56k.
14. Restaurant Cook
Being a restaurant cook is a great way to get creative with your culinary skills for those who love to cook, but want to do more than merely cook for themselves or family and friends.
The best part is that you’ll be working and studying under more experienced cooks. There are cooks that have spent their entire lives dedicated to the task, and that can mean picking up a thing or two to use in your own cooking.
The best jobs will need formal training, but you can likely get started at the local diner with little to no experience at all.
You can make up to $41k doing this.
15. Insurance Sales
Insurance coverage is a fact of modern-day life. Our bodies, homes, and cars are all excessively expensive to treat and repair, and insurance helps keep those sums affordable if something pops up.
By selling insurance, you help people protect themselves and their families from the crippling debt that comes with inadequate coverage. It’s a great job for social butterflies, as it requires a lot of interaction with potential customers and clients.
As with most sales jobs, your pay depends on performance. But the average hovers around $60k. This can get into the six-figure range if you find yourself excelling at it.
16. Wedding/Event Photographer
We all know that the most significant events are held on weekends, from weddings to important dinners, to even baby showers. Usually, a photographer is needed to cover these events depending on how elaborate they may be.
The beautiful thing is that you can work as a photographer every weekend while maintaining your regular Monday to Friday job.
As an event photographer, your job is to capture stunning moments in gatherings and ensure they are well-edited before releasing them to the client.
Of course, if you’re just starting, you may be required to show previous samples of your work. That’s where a portfolio comes in. You can easily build your portfolio by taking a few free shots for new clients.
On average, you could earn as much as $44 to $62 per hour for every job done.
17. Language Tutor
Are you a native speaker? Did you ace your language classes while in school? Then perhaps you should consider tutoring.
More people are migrating to the U.S. every year. The demand for online education and language tutoring has never been higher. This is especially so for the English language.
You can earn so much here because people are willing to pay a lot of money for effective tutoring. Depending on the organization you work for, the average hourly income is roughly $20.
Let’s summarize these great job options for high school graduates:
- Landscaper / Groundskeeper
- Maintenance and Repair
- Outdoor Guide
- Fitness Instructor/Trainer
- Rideshare Driver
- Bus Driver
- Delivery Driver
- Home Health Aide
- Flight Attendant
- Waiter / Waitress
- Pharmacy Technician
- Pest Exterminator
- Restaurant Cook
- Insurance Sales
- Wedding/Event Photographer
- Language Tutor
What do you think? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.