Five high-paying jobs for high school graduates

Americans have a near-religious belief that you have to go to college to be successful, but the post-recession, still-evolving U.S. economy is testing that conviction. Here are five jobs that offer high school graduates a chance to earn more than that, according to, sometimes much more:

2. Elevator installer

Brian Johnson/The Commercial Appeal/AP/File
Trevor Birchett, a teen-age elevator photographer, rides one of his favorite elevators in the Memphis area – the futuristic, glass elevator at the downtown Marriott in Memphis, Tenn., in January. Elevator installers can earn more than $100,000 a year.

If you are looking for an unusual job in the construction industry, elevator installer would fit the bill. It is a dangerous, but very well-compensated position with the median salary at $70,910 and the high-end installers receiving more than $100,000. That is because this is a high-risk occupation. The work environment can be very cramped and injuries from falling pose a constant threat. Heavy lifting and being on call 24 hours a day are standard parts of the job. Most elevator installers begin with apprenticeship programs and some states require a certified license to work.

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