Top 10 High School Graduate Jobs

The Best Opportunities for Recent Grads

Students that complete a high school diploma will have a variety of career options available to them. Some of the most popular are discussed below.

Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors work to coach groups or individuals in exercise activities. They will demonstrate the techniques and observe participants while they are completing them. They will use corrective measures in order to help their clients to improve their skills. Additionally, they may offer alternatives during fitness classes in order to accommodate individuals that are at different levels of fitness. They will teach proper breathing techniques and will plan routines to meet their participants’ limitations and abilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a fitness instructor in 2009 was $30,670, or $14.74 per hour. Job growth in this area is expected to be much faster than average at 20% or higher, and this will equal over 123,000 job openings through 2018.

Retail Sales Representative

Retail salespeople discuss products with customers and try to find the best product to suit their need. They must have extensive knowledge of what they are selling so that they can answer customer questions and help people to decide between products. Individual with previous sales experience or education in sales will be the best candidates for a retail sales job. Retail salespersons prepare sales slips, receipts, and sales contracts. They may answer questions regarding merchandise and recommend or help locate products for customers. Many individuals that work in retail sales are also paid based on commission, so finding a job that sells big and costly items will be tricky. In general, retail sales job are expected to have average job growth in the near future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a retail salesperson in 2009 was just over $20,000.

Nursing Assistant

Nursing assistants typically work in hospital settings within individuals that are expected to be staying as inpatients for a significant amount of time. These professionals perform duties like feeding, dressing, grooming, bathing, and moving patients. They provide basic patient care under the direction of nurses, and they answer call signals from patients. They may also reposition bedridden patients in order to prevent bed sores, and they transport patients to treatment units using stretchers or wheelchairs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for professionals in this field in 2009 was $24,040 or $11.56 per hour. Job growth is expected to be faster than average with an anticipated 422,300 job openings through 2018.

Medical Office Manager

Medical office managers manage the work of office, administrative, and customer service employees to ensure that they adhere to quality standards, proper procedures, and correct problems. They resolve customer complaints and answer questions regarding procedures. They provide employees with instructions on how to handle difficult or complex problems and they implement service standards along with management. They may also discuss job performance problems with employees to identify causes and issues. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a professional in this field in 2009 was $46,910. Projected job growth in this field is expected to be average with an anticipated 489,000 job openings through 2018.

Administrative Assistant

An administrative assistant can find work in a number of different business and organizations, such as law firms, doctor offices, and government agencies. They may be responsible for completing reports and spreadsheets, scheduling appointments, answering client questions, and managing organizational information. Administrative assistants attend meetings and record minutes. They also perform general office duties like maintaining records management database systems, ordering supplies, and performing basic bookkeeping. Office technology is becoming increasingly important for these jobs, so a successful administrative assistant needs to know how to use this equipment properly. This field is expected to grow more slowly than the average pace, and this can be attributed to the increase and technology and the fact that more upper managers are completing their own correspondence. The median annual income for an administrative assistant in 2009 was $41,650 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Cooks can work for a number of different restaurants and eating establishments, and they create dishes by cooking entrees and preparing food. They may also supervise and direct food preparation workers. Cooks need to ensure that they are cooking food to proper health and safety standards and that food is being served in a timely manner. Some cooks, like short order or fast food cooks, may not need extensive training. Chefs and other cooks that need to prepare more intricate meals may benefit from more intensive cooking programs. The salary for a cook will depend on what type of restaurant or establishment they work for. The median annual salary for fast food cooks in 2009 was $17,720. The median annual salary for short order cooks was $19,520, and the salary for cooks in restaurants was $22,170.

Child Care Worker

Individuals that work as child care workers will work with kids at schools, households, businesses, and child care institutions. They perform a number of tasks like feeding, dressing, bathing, and monitoring play. They may also communicate with children’s parents or guardians about their kids behaviors and daily activities. They need to ensure health by sanitizing toys and play equipment, and they may keep records on individual children and identify signs of development and emotional problems. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a child care worker in 2009 was $19,240, or $9.25 per hour. Growth in this area is expected to be average at 7-13% with 523,100 anticipated job openings through 2018.

Legal Secretary

Legal secretaries work to perform routine administrative and clerical functions for legal offices and their employers. These functions may include:

  • Maintaining files
  • Providing information to callers
  • Drafting correspondence
  • Answering phones
  • Scheduling appointments

Secretaries will also need to operate office equipment, greet visitors, distribute incoming mail, and make copies of correspondence and other materials. They may also need to review work to check for grammar and spelling, and this requires good English and written communication skills. They must also have good time-management skills in order to handle multiple different tasks at once. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a legal secretary in 2009 was $41,080, or $19.75 per hour. This career field is expecting to see faster than average growth of 14-19% through 2018.


Waiters and waitresses may need to have a high school diploma or a back ground in food service. Much of the experience needed for waiters and waitresses may be provided on the job. Individuals that work in restaurants that sell alcohol will need to be either 18 or 21 depending on the state in which they work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a waiter or waitress in 2009 was $17,690. However, waiters and waitresses often get paid additional funds in tips that may or may not be reported to the IRS.

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