Education is the main way to get a higher-paying job in the United States. The difference in lifetime and annual earnings of those with a high school diploma and those without is large.
A person with a high school diploma can earn about $1.2 million over the course of a lifetime. A person who does not graduate from high school may earn only $1 million during his lifetime. If a high school graduate earns a bachelor’s degree, the lifetime earnings rocket to $2.1 million.
The annual average salary of a person with a high school diploma is about $30,400. For those with only some high school, the annual average salary drops to about $23,400. With a bachelor’s degree, the annual average salary is about $52,200, as of 2010.
Males with a high school diploma can expect to earn a median annual salary of about $32,000 as of 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Women with a high school diploma can expect to earn about $25,000 per year as of 2008.
According to the salary survey site PayScale, retail store managers with a high school diploma can earn about $38,175 per year, and administrative assistants with the same education level can earn about $32,700 per year. A general manager of a restaurant who has a high school diploma can earn almost $41,000 per year, and a truck driver with a diploma can earn about $44,600 per year. An office manager with a high school education can earn about $36,500 per year, as of December 2010.