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What Types of Jobs Do High School Dropouts Receive?

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High school dropouts are low in the pecking order for jobs. The jobs a high school dropout can get depends entirely on their experience. Since many high school dropouts have very little or no experience, this further limits the types of jobs they can get. Professional and well-rounded interpersonal skills can help the high school dropout get ahead.

Minimum Wage Jobs

Most dropouts receive minimum wage. With very little education or special knowledge or skills, they usually are not qualified for good-paying work. Minimum wages jobs are generally jobs that can be taught in a matter of days and require very little advanced thinking.

Factory Work & Labor

High school dropouts may consider themselves to be lucky if they can get jobs doing factory work or construction. Both of these types of jobs pay fairly well (higher than minimum wage) and may even offer benefits. Jobs like these can be in higher demand and may require the dropout to have some experience or be physically suited for the work.


Retail jobs, like the kinds in malls, are popular among high school dropouts. These positions favor those who have good interpersonal skills or knowledge of the products being sold. For example, a person who knows about cellphones may be a good candidate for a cellphone store. Retail jobs can have benefits and the dropout may even be promoted to manager or supervisor of the store.

Service Industry

Many dropouts find themselves working in the service industry. Waitressing or waitering is popular among dropouts. Restaurant work in a kitchen or at fast food establishments is also common.

  • Do Something: Background on High School Dropouts
  • "Strategies to Help Solve our School Dropout Problem;" Franklin Schargel and Jay Smink; 2001
  • "Rethinking High School: Best Practice in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership;" Harvey Daniels, Marilyn Bizar and Steven Zemelman; 2000

Erick Kristian began writing professionally in 2008. He has a strong background in business and extensive experience writing fiction and articles related to spirituality and self improvement which are published on Kristian has written several screenplays, produced numerous films, published books and written numerous articles on a variety of subjects. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Schulich School of Business.