Great Career Paths for High School Dropouts?

If you dropped out of high school, you’re in good company. Many creative, energetic people find high school confining and uninspiring and therefore leave to pursue their dreams. In addition to numerous celebrities who gave up school to focus on their craft, famous high school dropouts include John D. Rockefeller (possibly the richest American in history), automotive giant Henry Ford, and media mogul Richard Branson. Clearly, even if you’re a dropout, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve success—you just need to locate the right career opportunities. Here’s some ideas to help you get started:

Start Your Own Business

When you’re self-employed, the only person who gets to determine whether or not you’re qualified enough is you. As a result, the sky is the limit for entrepreneurs: If you have a great idea for a new product or service, you could easily become a multi-millionaire. Self-employment is also ideal for those in creative fields, such as artists, writers, and photographers. It’s often much easier to locate employment opportunities in these fields via freelancing (versus seeking conventional employment).

Enter the Construction Field

If you ascend the ranks in the construction field and work your way up to becoming a Construction Manager or Supervisor, you can look forward to having substantial earning power. A Construction Manager or Supervisor can often make upwards of 1.5 million dollars over the course of his or her career.

Because construction workers rely primarily on visual and physical aptitudes, having a high school diploma is usually seen as optional in this field. If you can do the work, you’re qualified—it’s that simple.

Become a Large Vehicle Mechanic

If you love cars and trucks, you’ll be happy to know you don’t need a high school diploma to make a lucrative career out of your passion. Mechanics who work on buses and trucks can easily make up to 1.5 million dollars over their working lives—nearly half a million more than automotive mechanics usually make. Better still, you can get vocational training to qualify for this type of work without having a high school diploma. Many mechanics get their start in the business via apprenticeships.

Supervise an Office

Surprisingly, the position of Office Administrator/Supervisor doesn’t actually require a high school diploma. This is exciting news: Not only does this job pay well, it’s situated in a growing field. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for Office Supervisors and Administrators have risen by 11% since 2008 (and continue to increase).

It’s important to note, however, that even though a diploma is not required for this position, some workplaces will demand one anyway for vanity purposes. (As we previously discussed in our article about Jane, a graduate with a lost diploma who got caught up in “red tape,” some offices want to display diplomas prominently in order to reassure their clients. If you run into this obstacle, you can easily have a replica diploma made, like Jane did.)

As you can see from the above list of options, not having a high school diploma doesn’t have to hold you back in life. It’s possible to not only make a living without one, but to establish a profitable, professional career. Good luck!