10 High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs


entry-level jobsA well-paid, entry-level job sounds like an oxymoron. But finding one would certainly help with the piles of student loans that many young people face and the heavy financial pressures sending many stay-at-home parents back into the work force. Fortunately, PayScale.com has found a few.

Online salary database PayScale.com has done its research and discovered jobs where you can get started in a career and actually earn a good wage from the very beginning.

The following is a list of options from a variety of industries and what the median annual compensation is for people with two or less years of experience. For many of them a college degree is required -- or at least makes getting the job easier. But others don't require a degree at all, just a willingness to work hard and learn on the job.

1. Investment Banking Analyst

Median annual salary: $73,000

Charts, graphs, trends and numbers are what you'll need to love in order to love this job. You'll provide financial services, advice and banking products to wealthy investors, as well as help government agencies and companies issue stocks and bonds. A bachelor's degree in a finance-related field, as well as good grades and graduate work will help you in this competitive field.

2. Assistant Actuarial Analyst

Median annual salary: $54,000

Insurance companies rely on actuarial analysts to stay profitable. Actuarial analysts identify and calculate the risk of loss from policyholders to an insurance company, establish who is eligible for a policy, what the premium should be, and write policies that protect the insurance company. To assist an actuarial analyst, no degree is required, though companies prefer an associate's or bachelor's degree, along with some insurance company experience and strong computer skills.

3. Junior Tax Associate

Median annual salary: $53,000

Want to get into the details? A junior tax associate helps a tax associate review companies' fiscal reporting systems and ensure that they follow all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines, as well as state and local directives. For instance, a junior associate may help make sure that a company conforms with IRS rules each time they pay their employees. A junior tax associate will be best off with a degree in accounting, auditing or taxation. Further degrees and certifications improve future job opportunities.

4. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Median annual salary: $51,000

Here is a gig that can lead you to some serious dollars. According to PayScale.com, full-time reps earn a median wage of $87,300 with just five years of experience in this field, while top earners can get into six figures. A four-year degree is required for most pharmaceutical sales jobs, as well as on-the-job training. Further education can bump up earnings significantly, according to PayScale.com.

5. Auditor

Median annual salary: $49,000

After all of the financial disasters in recent years, scrutiny of companies' financial habits is bigger business than ever. Auditors review companies' financial statements to ensure that public records are kept accurately and taxes get paid correctly and on time. Interested? You'll likely need a four-year degree in accounting, though people with associate's degrees can sometimes find work as junior auditors.

6. Wind Turbine Technician

Median annual salary: $47,000

Getting in on wind technology could set you up for a long career in the alternative energy field. Technicians inspect and repair wind turbines for everything from electrical to hydraulic malfunctions. An associate's degree and certification are the minimum requirements to get started in this career. Further training and education can lead to better opportunities.

7. Health Care Research Analyst

Median annual salary: $47,000

The health care field is booming, and so is the amount of data available about patients, caregivers, drug studies and more. Health care research analysts verify the validity of data, correct any errors, analyze data using computer software and prepare reports. This job requires a bachelor's degree and extra study or training in the medical field.

8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Analyst

Median annual salary: $44,000

When you search for something on Google, do you bother going to the second or third page of results? Probably not. That's why companies want their services to show up at the top of the first page of search results. SEO analysts help them do that by analyzing user habits online and making marketing and website design recommendations. This field is fairly new so requirements are few and most training is on-the-job. A four-year degree, marketing experience and analytical skills can help you get started.

9. Forensic DNA Analyst

Median annual salary: $41,000

This job is considered pretty glamorous right now, thanks to shows like 'CSI.' You must be willing to collect evidence samples at crime scenes, then spend many hours in the lab studying the DNA to help figure out "who done it." You will also need to prepare reports about your findings and serve as an expert witness in court cases. Analysts, or science technicians, can be hired with an associate's degree or learn their skills on the job. Those with a four-year degree, or who understand legal processes, will have more job opportunities.

10. Law Research Associate

Median annual salary: $40,000

You've probably seen the legal documents piled around lawyers on TV as they work on their cases. A law research associate actually digs through those papers or, more likely, the digital versions of them, to help lawyers prepare for trial. An associate's degree can get you started in this gig. With more work experience, further training and great writing skills, you'll be on your way to a more lucrative career as a paralegal.

Source: All salary data is from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with less than two years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

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Whats with this long list of specialized jobs? How about a list of professions for people with a B.A or B.S ....holy ****....A forensic DNA specialist? in what world are these entry-level?

February 16 2014 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what about a u.s lawmaker?

December 28 2013 at 6:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Coxey

As a recent graduate, with a degree in international business, I can't get a job anywhere! Taco bell won't hire me unless I’ve got an aunt or uncle that works there because I'm overqualified! The jobs that I am "qualified" for are all being filled with people who were laid off!

People say I should go back and get a Master's, but why? If I'm $20k in debt from going to school already, and am apparently unfit to do any job that pays over $10 an hour why should I waste my time doing something that is going to inevitably require more debt! After my MBA I'll be about $80k in debt then maybe I can land a job that pays $12 an hour?

I’ve heard people call my generation “entitled” damn right! More then any other generation in history we were required to work for free (through internships) and never given any opportunities to do anything with our educations!

I’m sick of hearing it! Entitled? In a time when entry level jobs basically do not exist! Really they don’t! stop calling them that when a B.A. doesn’t qualify you! The biggest lie I was ever told was that college was a ticket to get my foot in someone’s door! Well, I paid for my ticket, but the show was canceled! So, damn strait I’m entitled! pissed too!


March 16 2013 at 11:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ryan Coxey's comment
Prem Merp

I completely agree with every single thing that you said. After all, its been a handful of times that I've heard ppl say this generation of ours is asking for a freebie, by the same corporate ********* that are using our services for free as "internships" to give false promises of a future job. Lets be clear, this is a generation where hard work gets only a few somewhere. You need to know people, and know the right ******* people to get somewhere. Im in the same perdicament as you and now Im thinking of drowning in a pool of debt by going in for a masters, simply because my bachelors isn't worth shyt.

February 13 2014 at 9:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In today's economy, none of these are entry-level jobs!

March 01 2013 at 1:34 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The best job is working for yourself : )

November 13 2012 at 10:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Basicly my daughter would have been better off, If I would have sit on my rear, had babies from time to time. Collected food stamps and any other hand out I could have recieve. Drew social security on as many kids as I decided to have. She could have recieved a free education! Man hind sight is 20/20.

October 10 2012 at 8:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Andrew Lane

You forgot an entire SEGMENT of jobs! Engineers (mechanical, electrical, chemical, computer, civil, etc) make 55k to 70k on average STARTING, UP TO 90K STARTING. Engineers also have MUCH better job security than most as well as MORE jobs available. There are also MORE opportunities for ADVANCEMENT, regardless of your field, industry or career path. This is with a four year degree granted, but these jobs sound like they suck and what good paying job that you'll enjoy DOESN'T REQUIRE A COLLEGE DEGREE ANYMORE?

August 16 2012 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Andrew Lane's comment

Right on paper all seems perfect and future proof, in 2012 I graduated from Aerospace Engineering, still looking for a job with a decent pay ( forget about 50-60 k per year). Either the economy is messed up or BS degrees are not worth anything anymore. Good thing I new this ahead and did a lot of projects and hands on experience. Still NADA! Oh well keep trying I guess. It's just sad with all the potential and investment. I mean the government can benefit from people like us you know...

July 07 2013 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
April Robbins

even though i'm unemployed and college educated, these jobs hold ZERO interest for me.

January 26 2011 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Train dispatcher 82K per year. Doesn't require college degree (but it helps) but must complete 16 week certification course. BNSF, UP, Norfolk Southern, CSX..

January 26 2011 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dave's comment

also pension, 401k, paid tuition, cadillac health insurance, profit sharing check of additional $3900...telephone man...lol

January 26 2011 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Telephone men/women make around 70,000/year with out having the extra added expense of a college degree. It's a good union job with 100% matching 401k, full health benefits including lasik, dental, stock options etc. When you factor in the health and 401k benefits we make well over $100,000. Oh and I forgot my 5 weeks paid vacation plus federal holidays, time and a half after 40 hours, after 56 hours it's double time. Cha-ching. Love my union job.

January 25 2011 at 9:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to qotfw's comment

I forgot to add that I also have a fully funded pension.

January 25 2011 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


February 01 2013 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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