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Fastest Growing Jobs for High School Graduates

Updated on May 12, 2011

The Demand for Higher Education

The workforce development or labor trend in the US is for jobs thast require the least amounts of education to become obsolete and disappear. Work Readiness programs have be instituted and proven increasingly successful in the Middle School grades through summer sessions and the way to High School graduation, and have begun to extend down through the elementary school grades. Some communities insert simple work related skills training even into Kindergarten.

Since 1992 especially, our nation's governments have focused on developing a skilled population ready to compete in the global marketplace. The concept of work for all citizens has become an increasingly urgently encouraged one. Welfare Reform/welfare-to-work, workfare, deceases in Social Security Disability funding, decreases in private sector retirement programs, an increase in the national retirement age, and similar factors have made this a current and continuing focus.

Certain jobs still exist for the high school graduate or the GED earner, but it is best to chose one within a system of jobs that lead to a clear career with advancement. This would be Healthcare. Sujmmer jobs, seasonal employment, and internships are another option that can lead to full-time employment and a career in a number of fields.

Apprenticeship programs in the trades and some technologies are also available across the US in some cities -- Check you local county employment office listing or the local trade unions in order to gain this information in your locale.

For youth, some charter schools and magnet schools offer a specialized program that awards graduating students with both a High School Diploma and a Vocational Certificate or even an Associate Degree. These are significantly specific programs available in only a few cities.

Hot Jobs Advertised that need only a HS Diploma or GED

  1. Outside Sales Representatives
  2. Outside Sales / Consulting Reps
  3. Sales Representatives - Inside Sales/Outside Sales
  4. Event Specialists
  5. Customer Service Reps
  6. Pet Stylists/Groomking Assistants
  7. Sales Executives
  8. Technical Sales
  9. Digital Marketing Consultants
  10. Cost Recovery Advisors
  11. Bankcard Sales Agents
  12. Account Managers
  13. In Store Marketing Representatives
  14. Sales / Franchise Owners
  15. Deisel Mechanic

Higher Education Earns Higher Wages

Fastest Growing Jobs Though 2016

According to federal statistics compiled by the US Department of Labor, only 8 of the fastest growing jobs in our nation require no more than a high school diploma or GED. These are:

  1. Personal and Home Care Aides, Growth Rate 50.6%
  2. Home Health Aides, 48.7%
  3. Medical Assistants, 35.4 %
  4. Social & Human Services Assistants. 33.6%
  5. Gaming Surveillance Officers/Gaming Investigators (Gambling), 33.6
  6. Pharmacy Technicians, 32%
  7. Dental Assistants, 29.2%
  8. Gaming & Sports Book writers/runners (Gambling), 28%

Five of these jobs are directly associated with Healthcare, two with Gambling & Gaming, and one with Social Services.

Status Among the 30 Fastest Growing Jobs in the US

We see that from the position of bolded entries on the Top 30 List below, by percentage increase, that only 3 of the 8 fast-growing jobs that do not require schooling after high school appear in the top 10. All of these 8 jobs require on-the-job training (OJT) of short or moderate time frames; they are not the same as Trades Apprenticeship Programs that can lead to high wages.

The Top 30 Jobs have been divided further into four levels of usual wages and these are listed below as well. I have used the dollar sign symbol to indicate level of ways, $ = lowest to $$$$ = highest (similar to the ratings of restaurant prices in reviews).

None of the fast-growing jobs requiring only a high school education reach higher than the lower 50% of wage ranges and most are, in fact, the least well paid overall. Notice that even though TV shows such as Las Vegas portray the Gaming Industry jobs in bold printbelow as glamorous and comparatively high paid, they are not well paid.

Of all the high school diploma related jobs shown, the best choices for advancing in a career are likely in the Healthcare Industry. You might be interested in how the sequence of jobs moves up the ladder in a series of Hubs beginning here: Healthcare and Medical Jobs. it is truly possible to begin as a nurse's aide or home health aide and work your way up to RN or Physician. Given the medical and healthcare professional shortage that will continue through several more decades in America and other parts of the world, such careers are worthy of consideration. If you become a traveler - a Traveling Nurse, Doctor, or Allied Health Professional, the pay and benefits are overwhelmingly good.

  1. Network Systems & Data Communications Analysts - $$$$
  2. Personal & Home Care Aides - $
  3. Home Health Aides - $
  4. Computer Software Application Engrs - $$$$
  5. Veterinary Techs - $
  6. Personal financial advisors - $$$$
  7. Makeup artists (for actors) - $$$
  8. Medical Assistants - $$
  9. Veterinarians - $$$$
  10. Substance Abuse/Behavioral Counselors - $$$
  11. Skin Care Specialists (some medical) - $$
  12. Financial Analysts - $$$$
  13. Social and Human Service Assistants - $$
  14. Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators -$
  15. Physical therapist assistants - $$$
  16. Pharmacy Technicians - $$
  17. Forensic science technicians - $$$
  18. Dental Hygienists - $$$$
  19. Mental health counselors - $$$
  20. Social Workers for Mental Health and Substance Abuse - $$$
  21. Marriage & Family Therapists - $$$
  22. Dental Assistants - $$
  23. Computer systems analysts - $$$$
  24. Database administrators - $$$$
  25. Computer Systems Software Engineers - $$$$
  26. Gaming/sports book writers/runners - $
  27. Environmental Science and Protection Techs - $$$
  28. Manicurists/Pedicurists - $
  29. Physical Therapists - $$$$ -- This is the Number One High Demand Job in the USA in advertised positions.
  30. Physician Assistants - $$$$


In Plumbers' Apprenticeships students learn hot tub installation (public domain).
In Plumbers' Apprenticeships students learn hot tub installation (public domain).

Status Among the Top 30 Jobs Offering the Most Openings

The Top 30 List of occupations that offer the actual highest numbers of openings in the US include only two(2) of the jobs that require only a high school diploma or GED. These include only:

  • Personal and Home Care Aides
  • Home Health Aides

This is not encouraging to individuals that possess only a high school education. However, these two job categories stand at Numbers 6 and 7 on the list and involve Healthcare, in which there is ample opportunity for advancement. In addition, other in the Top 30 require only a High School Diploma, but offer openings because others have quit from high - turnover positions -- They may be very stressful mentally and physically and offer no opportunity for growth; while others are a stepping stones to higher level jobs and many people pass through them on their way up. These are noted in the Top 10 below, projected through the year 2016..

Top 10 Jobs Offering the Most Openings in the USA

  1. Registered Nurses (RNs) - Associate (2 years) or Bachelor's Degree to start.
  2. Retail Salespersons - requires only a HS diploma, but most employers wish candiates to have considerable successful experience and sometimes a following of loyal customers already.
  3. Customer Service Representatives - High School Diploma.
  4. All Food Prep & Service work - High School Diploma for many of these jobs, although fast food chains often require a 4-year degree for managers.
  5. General Office Clerks - High School Diploma. However, in many US States this is a Declining Job, where fewer workers are needed every year.
  6. Personal and Home Care Aides
  7. Home Health Aides
  8. Postsecondary Teachers - College and Vocational level - reuqires at least a 4-year degree or higher.
  9. Janitors/Cleaners, except maids, etc. - High School Diploma.
  10. Nurse's Ades, Orderlies, related - Vocational Certificate.


Least Likely Job Opportunities

Of the Top 30 Declining Jobs that are decreasing in openings through 2016, 29 require only a high school education (with on the job training - OJT). Some of these jobs are comparatively well paid, but they are falling into low demand, because they are becoming obsolete. Of the Top 10 Jobs in this category, only one requires higher than a high school diploma.

Overall, jobs that require only a high school education in general may be becoming obsolete. 

Top 10 Declining Jobs in America

  1. Photographic Processing Jobs
  2. File clerks & Order Clerks
  3. Sewing Machine Operators
  4. Electrical/Electronic Equipment Assemblers
  5. Computer Operators
  6. Lathe Operators and related jobs
  7. Bindery Workers - book binding
  8. Prepress Technicians - Vocational Certificate
  9. Paper Goods Machine Operators
  10. Machine Feeders & Offloaders 


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