What Are Good Paying Jobs for 18-Year-Olds With No Experience?

Wondering what are good jobs for 18-year-olds with no experience? This teenager is learning construction

If you recently finished high school and are looking for work, you might be concerned about your prospects. After all, it can be hard to find good paying jobs for 18-year-olds with no experience.

But don’t despair! Just because you’re new to the workforce doesn’t mean there isn’t a great job out there for you.

In fact, if you start working today, there’s a good chance you could out-earn many of your peers in college. After all, they’re taking four years off to go to school and are probably racking up a lot of student debt. But you? You can actually work for those four years, earn money, and advance to higher paying positions. No student debt needed.

The tough part is that you have to find a job meets these three requirements:

  1. Pays a good wage right out of the gate
  2. Provides good benefits; think: health coverage, retirement plans, disability insurance
  3. Offers significant advancement potential

When you’re 18 and looking for that first good-paying job, it’s really hard to find one that checks all of those boxes. It might even seem like those jobs are only available for college graduates, but that’s not actually the case.

Types of jobs to avoid, if possible

In searching for that first job, it can be tempting to consider low-level hospitality jobs (think fast food), retail positions, or even warehouse work. These positions are usually available to people with no experience, and the wages are usually similar to one another — anywhere from $10 to $20 per hour depending on the employer and where they’re located.

Is $10 per hour a good starting wage? What about $20 per hour? Whether these are acceptable wages or not is up to the individual. It just depends on your situation.

But even if you’re ok with a wage in that range, you should still avoid these jobs if you can.

Why? Two words: Advancement potential.

Whether you’re running a cash register at a big box store, flipping burgers, or moving boxes around, many low-wage jobs offer little to no opportunity to advance and earn more over time. That’s why you’ll hear people refer to them as “dead end” jobs.

You’ll start out earning $15 or so per hour; then, a few years later, you’re still earning roughly the same wage and doing roughly the same work. It makes sense because these jobs don’t provide any special skills that make you competitive in the workplace. Pretty much anybody can do the same job if you decide to leave.

A better option is to find a job that helps you acquire skills. That way, you can provide more value to your employer over time, get better jobs, and earn more money as you advance in your career.

Are the retail and fast food jobs we’ve described here still better than no job at all? Maybe. It depends on your situation, and there’s nothing wrong with working a lower-wage job if that’s the only thing you can find at the moment. But for the long term, it’s best to look elsewhere.

The skilled trades provide job opportunities for 18 year olds with no experience

So you’re 18. You’ve got a high school diploma. You’re wondering whether there are any good-paying jobs out there for you. Not fast food. Not stocking shelves. You want to do work you actually enjoy — and you want to earn as much or more than your friends who went to college.

If this is your situation, the skilled trades might just be your ticket.

What are the skilled trades? They’re hands-on jobs that involve industrial and/or construction expertise. You see tradespeople all the time! They’re carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and construction workers.

Skilled tradespeople are almost always in high demand. Not only that, jobs in the skilled trades usually check all of our boxes from above: good wages, good benefits, and the potential to advance.

Starting pay rates vary among skilled trades positions. In some cases, they’re similar to higher entry-level wages at retail employers (think $18 or $19 per hour, depending on the city and state). However, they can be higher at some employers.

The big difference — and it’s a huge deal — is how much you can earn in the future if you stick with it.

According to data from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), there are many construction jobs with an annual salary of over $60,000 per year. They include pipe welders, who earn $70,482 per year on average, and plumbers, whose average annual income is $73,320.

And if you think those construction jobs pay well, consider that a construction project manager makes $98,965 per year on average. That’s nearly six figures, and since it’s only an average, that means a lot of project managers make even more than that!

Of course, those workers also enjoy great benefits: health and dental insurance, disability coverage, vacation time, and retirement plans. They might even get generous paid time off.

You don’t have to have a college degree to start working in the skilled trades.

Really! You don’t! However, you do need some kind of training to get your first construction job and begin working your way up.

If you want to work in the trades, there are two primary ways to get the training you need:

  1. Community or technical colleges usually offer certificates or associate’s degrees in skilled trades professions. You have to attend classes for several months — possibly longer than a year, depending on the program. You’ll also have to pay college tuition, which can get pricey, and possibly take out loans.
  2. Dedicated training programs that provide the knowledge, credentials, and employer introductions you need to get your first job as a tradesperson. The availability of these programs will vary depending where you live. Some will cost money to attend, but others might be fully funded.

At Construction Ready, our 20-day construction training program is fully funded. Thanks to a combination of industry donations and government grants, students pay nothing to attend.

In fewer than three weeks, students have earned all the construction credentials they need to get a first construction job. We also offer employer introductions as part of the training, so students can participate in interviews and secure their first job right away. So far, 97% of our graduates have their first construction job before they even finish training!

A good-paying job isn’t all that far away

If you’re 18 and are trying to find a good-paying job with no experience, get in touch with us today! We’ll talk to you about your career ambitions and tell you more about how Construction Ready can help you begin a fulfilling, high-earning career in construction.

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