With increasing costs to higher education, pursuing a college degree can be tough for some. But here's the good news: Even if you don't continue school for another four years (or put it off until later in your career), there are still a surprising number of career opportunities for those with a high school diploma. With many career paths providing on-the-job training these days, it's often possible to move up into higher-paying positons without an additional degree.
Here's a look at jobs you can get right after high school, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook:
Average annual salary: $61,928
Anyone who's ever taken out loans to pay for a house, a car or even to start a small business has had to turn to a loan officer to help complete the transaction. Loan officers not only facilitate the lending process but are also involved with determining how clients will repay the loans.
Medical appliance technician
Average annual salary: $57,484
Working with medical devices that are prescribed by podiatrists or prosthetists, medical appliance technicians are in charge of helping patients use the prescribed devices correctly. The technicians work with anything from replacement limbs to hearing aids and are responsible for gaining full understanding of each device.
Stationary engineer or boiler operator
Average annual salary: $55,373
Working in malls, warehouses, hotels or large office buildings, stationary engineers manage the complicated ventilation, and heating and air-conditioning systems in these buildings. Stationary engineers oversee heat, electricity and cooling equipment in order to maintain optimal conditions in the work environment.
Postal service mail carrier
Average annual salary: $49,499
Delivering mail to local businesses and residences, Postal Service mail carriers travel on established routes and also help with sorting of mail. Mail carriers value the stability of their job and the ability to build long-term relationships with those they deliver mail to.
Line installer and repairer
Average annual salary: $47,759
Working to keep your cable and electricity lines running, line installer and repairers understand the complicated web of networks that connect people with the outside world. As these networks expand and need to be updated, those who understand how to maintain them are in constant demand.
Average annual salary: $46,524
Using computer publishing software, desktop publishers produce printed materials like brochures, books and magazines.
Quality control inspector
Average annual salary: $46,378
Maintaining the quality of products in any industry, inspectors work hard to make sure customers are getting exactly what they paid for. Testing vehicles, clothing, food and even electronic components means there is plenty of work variety to adjust to different interests.
Average annual salary: $45,234
A dream job for aspiring creative types, floral designers come up with unique ways to present flowers. Using live or faux flowers, greenery, embellishments and vases, floral designers sell their work for occasions like weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties and funerals.
Hazardous materials removal workers
Average annual salary: $45,220
As the spotlight on hazardous materials increases, removal workers have the important job of identifying and safely removing materials like asbestos, nuclear waste, mercury and others. Many respond to emergency situations to help protect people from accidental exposure to health harming materials and carcinogens.
Average annual salary: $45,145
Working to save people and property from fire emergencies means risking your life to protect the public. In addition to putting out fires, firefighters work directly with ambulances and the police department to respond to other emergencies.