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August 01, 2007
25 Highest-Paying Jobs for High School Grads

While nearly all of the highest paying jobs in America require a bachelor's degree or higher, good-paying occupations still exist that require only work experience or on-the-job-training.

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Air traffic controllers had median hourly wages of $51.73 and median annual wages of $107,600 in 2005, making it the highest paid occupation that requires only work experience or on-the-job-training, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Air traffic controllers have seen their wages rise from 2005 to 2007. In July 2007, air traffic controllers earned a median of $120,842 in annual wages, according to HR.BLR.com's Salary Center.

Among the 25 highest paid occupations overall, air traffic controller is the only one with no requirement for a bachelor's degree or higher.

Among occupations requiring only work experience or on-the-job-training, managers and industrial production managers are the second and third highest paying jobs.

The following are the 25 highest paying occupations requiring only work experience or on-the-job training:

Occupation Median Wages 2005
Hourly Annual
1 Air Traffic Controllers $51.73 $107,600
2 Managers, All Other $38.06 $79,200
3 Industrial Production Managers $36.34 $75,600
4 Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers $33.23 $69,100
5 Nuclear Power Reactor Operators $31.84 $66,200
6 First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives $31.52 $65,600
7 First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Non-Retail Sales Workers $29.79 $62,000
8 First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers $29.25 $60,800
9 Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products $29.21 $60,800
10 Gaming Managers $28.82 $59,900
11 Elevator Installers and Repairers $28.46 $59,200
12 Power Distributors and Dispatchers $28.44 $59,200
13 Real Estate Brokers $27.49 $57,200
14 Detectives and Criminal Investigators $26.82 $55,800
15 Locomotive Engineers $26.69 $55,500
16 Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters $25.98 $54,000
17 Power Plant Operators $25.56 $53,200
18 Postmasters and Mail Superintendents $25.34 $52,700
19 Cost Estimators $25.01 $52,000
20 First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers $24.99 $52,000
21 First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers $24.98 $52,000
22 Gas Plant Operators $24.96 $51,900
23 Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers $24.55 $51,100
24 Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels $24.49 $50,900
25 Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers $24.33 $50,600


BLR’s Job Analyzer is a comprehensive guide that helps HR pros and managers analyze what jobs are REALLY needed in the organization and provides the tools to write, price, and evaluate jobs.

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