20 Jobs That Pay $80,000 or More with Only a High School Diploma

20 Jobs That Pay $80,000 or More with Only a High School Diploma
Image Credit: Getty Images

While a college degree can open many doors, it’s not the only path to a high-paying job. Numerous positions offer substantial salaries and require only a high school diploma or equivalent.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these 20 jobs pay $80,000 or more annually and typically require various levels of on-the-job training. From overseeing complex machinery in power plants to managing transportation logistics, these roles offer diverse opportunities across multiple industries.

With dedication, practical experience, and often some on-the-job training or apprenticeships, these positions demonstrate that financial success is achievable without a college degree.

20 Jobs That Pay $80,000 or More with Only a High School Diploma

 

20. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

Nuclear power
Nuclear power | Image Credit: Disney+

Nuclear power reactor operators control nuclear reactors, ensuring they operate safely and efficiently. These professionals typically undergo long-term on-the-job training to learn the intricate details of reactor operations and safety protocols. With extensive training and experience, nuclear power reactor operators can earn a substantial salary of $80,000 or more annually.

 

19. Power Distributors and Dispatchers

Power distributors and dispatchers
Power distributors | Image Credit: Shutterstock

Power distributors and dispatchers manage the flow of electricity from power plants to substations and ensure the reliable delivery of electricity to homes and businesses. They require long-term on-the-job training to understand the complex electrical systems and distribution networks. This position offers a lucrative salary of $80,000 or more per year, reflecting the critical nature of their work.

 

18. Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers

Elevator installers and repairers
Elevator installers and repairers | Image Credit: kadmy / iStock

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing elevators, escalators, and other lifts. This job requires completing an apprenticeship, where individuals gain hands-on experience under the supervision of experienced professionals. With the right skills and certification, workers in this field can earn $80,000 or more annually.

 

17. First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives

Police Officer
Image Credit: NYPD Academy

First-line supervisors of police and detectives oversee police officers and detectives, ensuring that law enforcement activities are conducted effectively and according to regulations. These supervisors typically undergo moderate-term on-the-job training to develop leadership and management skills. Their critical role in maintaining public safety makes them earn a yearly salary of $80,000.

 

16. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

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Transportation, storage, and distribution managers plan, direct, and coordinate organizational transportation, storage, and distribution activities. Remarkably, this job requires no formal on-the-job training, but managerial experience and knowledge of logistics are essential. These managers can expect to earn $80,000 or more annually.

 

15. Power Plant Operators

Power Plant Operator
Image Credit: WSJ

Power plant operators control, operate, and maintain machinery to generate electric power. They require long-term on-the-job training to handle the sophisticated equipment and understand the operational protocols of power plants. Their expertise and responsibility are rewarded with a yearly salary of $80,000 or more.

 

14. Petroleum Pump System Operators

Petroleum Pump System Operators
Image Credit: WorkBC

Petroleum pump system operators control the operation of petroleum refining or processing units. This job necessitates long-term on-the-job training to master the intricacies of the machinery and processes involved. Skilled operators in this field can earn a yearly salary of $80,000 or more.

 

 
13. Detectives and Criminal Investigators

Detectives and criminal investigators
Image Credit: Getty Images

Detectives and criminal investigators gather facts and evidence for criminal cases. They often undergo moderate-term on-the-job training to learn investigative techniques and legal procedures. Because of their essential role in solving crimes and ensuring justice, detectives and criminal investigators can earn $80,000 annually.

 

12. Postmasters and Mail Superintendents

Postmasters and Mail Superintendents
Image Credit: USPS

Postmasters and mail superintendents manage post offices and coordinate mail distribution activities. This role involves moderate-term on-the-job training to understand postal operations and management practices. With their administrative responsibilities, postmasters and mail superintendents earn a salary of $80,000 or more per year.

 

11. Transportation Inspectors

Transportation Inspectors
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Transportation inspectors examine products and equipment to ensure they meet regulations and standards. They require moderate-term on-the-job training to gain the necessary knowledge of inspection protocols and industry standards. Because of the importance of their work in maintaining safety and compliance, transportation inspectors can earn $80,000 or more annually.

 

10. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers
Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Electrical power-line installers and repairers install and repair electrical power systems and cables. They undergo long-term on-the-job training to learn how to work with high-voltage systems safely. With the technical expertise required, professionals in this field can earn a substantial salary of $80,000 or more per year.

 

9. First-line supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Workers

First-line supervisors
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First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers oversee sales teams in industries outside of retail, such as manufacturing or wholesale. This role does not require formal on-the-job training, but experience in sales and leadership is crucial. Supervisors in this field can earn $80,000 or more annually.

 

8. Subway and Streetcar Operators

Subway & Streetcar Operators
Image Credit: Milan Suvajac

Subway and streetcar operators drive subway trains and streetcars, ensuring safe and timely transportation for passengers. They require moderate-term on-the-job training to operate the vehicles and handle emergencies. With their responsibility for public transit safety, operators earn a yearly salary of $80,000 or more.

 

7. Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers

Farmers, Ranchers,
Image Credit: Farm Journal

Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers oversee agricultural operations, including crop production and livestock management. This job requires no formal on-the-job training, but extensive knowledge of farming practices and management skills are essential. With successful operations, they can earn $80,000 or more annually.

 

6. Signal and Track Switch Repairers

Signal and Track Switch Repairers
Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Signal and track switch repairers install and maintain the signals and switches that control train movements. They require moderate-term on-the-job training to learn the technical aspects of the job. With their critical role in railway safety and efficiency, these repairers can earn $80,000 yearly.

 

5. Plumbers

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
Image Credit: Alis

Plumbers install and repair piping systems for water, gas, and waste disposal. This trade requires completing an apprenticeship, where individuals receive hands-on training from experienced plumbers. With the demand for skilled tradespeople, plumbers can earn $80,000 or more annually.

 

4. Media and Communication Workers

Media and Communication Workers
Image Credit: CSU

Media and communication workers handle various broadcasting, publishing, and digital media tasks. They often undergo short-term on-the-job training to learn specific skills needed for their roles. With experience and expertise, media and communication workers can earn $80,000 yearly.

 

3. Gas Plant Operators

Gas Plant Operators
Image Credit: NAIT

Gas plant operators control gas processing for utility companies and other industries. They require moderate-term on-the-job training to operate the complex machinery and systems involved. With their technical knowledge and responsibility, gas plant operators can earn $80,000 or more annually.

 

2. Gambling Managers

Gambling
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Gambling managers oversee the operations of gambling establishments, ensuring compliance with regulations and efficient management of staff and resources. This role requires no formal on-the-job training, but experience in the gambling industry is beneficial. Gambling managers can earn a lucrative salary of $80,000 or more annually.

 

1. Chemical Plant and System Operators

chemical plant operators
Image Credit: Vecteezy

Chemical plant and system operators manage the operation of chemical processing equipment. They undergo moderate on-the-job training to learn the required safety protocols and technical skills. Because their work is critical in the chemical industry, operators can earn $80,000 or more annually.

 

These jobs demonstrate that a high school diploma and the right training and experience can lead to a well-paying career. Whether through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, or gaining industry-specific knowledge, there are numerous paths to financial success without a college degree.