This paper investigates the transition from high school to first job using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study 1988-2000. A proportional hazards model is estimated to identify the determinants of time-to-first-job. In contrast to earlier studies, there is strong evidence of positive duration dependence after controlling for unobserved heterogeneity. Time-to-first-job is correlated with educational attainment and type of school program attended. Attending a vocational program reduces time-to-first-job, but dropouts who obtain the General Educational Development qualification as an alternative to high school graduation do not improve their chances of getting a job more quickly. Family background is insignificant.