High School, High Wages

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Minnesota regional map with southeast Minnesota area highlighted and words Southeast Minnesota Regional Labor Market Information Blog

You don’t need to go to college to earn a good living, and that’s good news for those who aren’t interested in college or are concerned about the cost.

The cost of post-secondary education in the U.S. is rising across the board according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, although the amount of cost increase varies depending on the type of post-secondary institution.  The price tag for tuition climbed by 67% for private 2-year colleges and 125 % for public 4-year universities between the 2000-01 and 2016-2017 school years. Public 2-year college remains the lowest cost option, although it increased by 109% in that same time frame. (see Figure 1).

Cost of postsecondary education cost increases between 2000-01 and 2016-17, by type of institution, for more information, contact Mark Schultz at 507-205-6068.

Average annual expenses for a resident undergraduate attending full-time at a Minnesota college in 2019-2020 ranged from a low of $20,000 at a public 2-year state college to nearly $50,000 at a private non-profit 4-year university, according to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. A full list of tuition and fees for every post-secondary institution in Minnesota is available here: http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/sPages/TuitionChart.cfm?State=MN&pageID=101

While the price of college may be a reason that some individuals don’t pursue post-secondary education, others just aren’t interested.  For whatever reason one decides to not attend college, it is good to know that there are jobs that only require a high school diploma that also pay well. 

According to DEED’s Occupations in Demand data, there are several jobs in Southeast Minnesota that can be started with a high school diploma, show moderate to high demand, and also pay over $50,000 annually.  Overall, there are nine occupations in the top 100 in demand jobs that pay over $50,000, with an additional six within the top 200 (see Table 1) that don’t require formal education beyond a high school diploma.

Table 1. In Demand Occupations Requiring A High School Diploma - Southeast Minnesota

Job Title

Current Demand Rank

Current Demand Indicator

Median Wage

Training Requirements

Sales Representatives, Wholesale & Manufacturing

27

«««««

$64,468

Moderate term on the job training

Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers

28

«««««

$60,377

None

Supervisors of Office & Administrative Workers

42

«««««

$53,073

None

Plumbers, Pipefitters, & Steamfitters

45

«««««

$58,028

Apprenticeship

Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, & Repairers

52

«««««

$67,717

None

Insurance Sales Agents

54

«««««

$51,610

Moderate term on the job training

Correctional Officers & Jailers

63

«««««

$51,472

Moderate term on the job training

Loan Officers

67

«««««

$68,864

Moderate term on the job training

Securities, Commodities, & Financial Services Sales Agents

83

«««««

$62,819

Moderate term on the job training

Operating Engineers & Construction Equip. Operators

125

««««

$63,749

Moderate term on the job training

Supervisors of Construction Trades & Extraction Workers

151

««««

$72,724

None

Cost Estimators

152

««««

$60,518

None

Chemical Plant & System Operators*

162

««««

$50,390

Long term on the job training

Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs

178

««««

$50,115

Moderate term on the job training

Stationary Engineers & Boiler Operators

183

««««

$60,849

Long term on the job training

Police, Fire, & Ambulance Dispatchers

222

«««

$58,207

Moderate term on the job training

Carpenters

238

«««

$51,685

Apprenticeship

Interpreters & Translators

241

«««

$57,954

Short term on the job training

Insulation Workers, Mechanical

243

«««

$91,322

Apprenticeship

Farmers, Ranchers, & Other Agricultural Managers*

273

«««

$97,789

None

Tree Trimmers & Pruners*

286

«««

$57,541

Short term on the job training

Power Plant Operators

289

«««

$94,262

Long term on the job training

Locksmiths & Safe Repairers

290

«««

$58,536

Long term on the job training

Source: DEED Occupations in Demand                                                                                                                                                                                *Minnesota Wages

While these occupations do not require post-secondary education, many of them require on-the-job training ranging from short-term to long-term or an apprenticeship. In all, only six of these well-paying occupations require no on-the-job training while two require short-term, eight require moderate-term, four require long-term, and three require apprenticeships. Career seekers who are interested in earning money right out of high school instead of spending money on post-secondary education may be interested in checking out these occupations in demand.

For more information, contact Mark Schultz at 507-205-6068.

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