College is expensive. Fast food workers are battling against low wages. If you are armed with only a high school diploma, it can be tough finding a job that you can turn into a career.
Glassdoor.com, a website where employees rate and review their own companies, has released a list of the top places to work for people whose education ended with high school graduation. You may not end up living on Easy Street working here, but you can make a living and move up within the company.
#10 - Home Depot
On a scale of 1-5, with five being best, Home Depot employees give their company a 3.3. A lot of jobs here are only part time, but, "they are one of the few companies today that provide part-time employees with benefits," writes one employee. "If you work hard you can go far," adds another. According to Glassdoor, sales associates average $11 an hour, and store managers average $86,000 a year.
#9 - Lowe's
Home Depot's main rival is viewed as slightly better on Glassdoor with a 3.4 overall rating. "Great advancement potential and greater than average pay scale," writes one full-time employee, who adds: "Hard work and a good work ethic will get you a long way in this company." Sales associate pay is similar to Home Depot's, but average store manager salaries are about $1,000 higher, at $87,000.
#8 - Starbucks
This is hardly a surprise, as working at Starbucks seems a rite of passage for many millennials. "The benefits are out of sight," writes a barista, echoing a number of other reviewers on Glassdoor. Starbucks even offers some benefits to part-time employees. "There is growth potential and longevity within the company, if you either want to work in a store or work your way to the HQ in Seattle," writes a Starbucks trainer in San Francisco. According to employees posting their salaries on Glassdoor, barista pay averages $8.80 an hour, a shift manager averages $11.37 an hour, an assistant manager will make about $34,000, and a store manager can make more than $45,000 a year.
#7 - Apple
You can work at Apple without a college degree? Yes! Mostly in retail. One "Apple Family Room Specialist" (the area inside the Apple Store where they hold classes), says the company offers "a lot of opportunities for employees to get training towards roles/positions they're interested in." A Mac Specialist writes, "Better pay than any retail place I have worked for or even heard of," adding: "A hidden perk is that the customers that you meet can provide great networking if you talk to them in the right way—I help out people from Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, GE, NBC, US Government, ETC." Mac Specialists average $12 an hour, but if you're a "Genius," you can make $42,000 a year.
#6 - Wells Fargo
Banking without an MBA? Even as ATMs mean fewer entry-level tellers, there are opportunities at Wells Fargo to move up, according to employees writing on Glassdoor. "The company's hire within program is excellent," writes one teller in Georgia. "I've seen many of my colleagues move up and become bankers and store managers." Tellers average $11 an hour, while personal bankers start at $27,000 a year but can make as much as $62,000. Store managers, according to Glassdoor, average $63,000 a year, but some say they earn more than $100,000.
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#5 - Nordstrom
"They hire from within the company for all positions with few exceptions," writes one salesperson. "Nordstrom really takes care of their own." A sales associate can make about $25,000 a year, plus commissions.
#4 - Publix Super Markets
"If you work hard...you'll be moved up fast," writes one employee who moved from bagger to cashier in "four short months." Cashier salaries at Publix average $8.78 an hour. However, the cities where Publix has most of its markets are in areas where the cost of living is lower. For example, in Lakeland, Florida, home to Publix's headquarters, the cost of living 13 percent below the national average.
"There is room for tremendous growth," writes a team leader. "You can move up really fast," adds a general manager. There is a free lunch, really! Entry-level wages average $8.70 an hour, but general managers can make about $48,000 a year (and they never have to buy lunch!).
#2 - Whole Foods Market
The story of one Whole Foods employee in New Jersey sums up the opportunities for those working here without a college degree. "I started as a cashier assistant, moved to cashier and now I am back up receiver and information system. A lot of opportunities to grow within, just work hard and be sociable." That employee saw a good jump in pay, as cashier assistants make around $21,000 a year if they work full time, while receiver salaries average $31,000.
#1 - Costco
Costco has an overall rating of 3.9 on Glassdoor, and employees give CEO Craig Jelinek a 92 percent approval rating. "Great pay, great benefits," says one employee, whose only complaint is: "It's retail, you will work weekends and late nights." Cashier salaries average $15 to $16 an hour, and a general manager can make over six figures. A tire installer at a Costco in Texas writes, "For people who have no desire to get a degree, or a trade, Costco offers great salary and all the benefits you need for yourself and your family."
—By CNBC's Jane Wells