10 High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs

high paying entry level jobs

In today's competitive job market, it can be hard to imagine that there are jobs that pay well but don't require years of experience. But many sectors offer high-paying entry-level jobs that are appealing to mid-career changers or recent college graduates (who are likely eager to get out from under a mound of student loan debt).

With the help of PayScale.com, a salary data and software company, AOL Jobs has compiled a list of 10 careers that offer high salaries to entry-level workers -- those who have been on the job for two years or less. Many of them require a college degree, but there are exceptions. (Note: The jobs listed below are a sampling of highly paid entry-level jobs and not a comprehensive, ranked list.)

Check out the list below and tell us what you think. And if you have other suggestions for great-paying entry-level jobs, let us know.

Merchandise Planner (plans, directs and coordinates the activities of buyers, purchasing officers and others involved in buying materials, products and services):

  • Median Annual Pay: $51,400.*
  • Degree: Bachelor's (merchandising, marketing, business or finance).**

Find a job as a merchandise planner.

Forensic Accountant (examines tax and business records for accuracy and irregularities):

  • Median Annual Pay: $51,400.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (accounting or finance -- certification may be required).

Find a job as a forensic accountant.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative (provides drug information and product samples to physicians and monitors prescribing patterns of physicians in a designated geographic area):

  • Median Annual Pay: $52,900.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (pharmaceutical science, pharmacology, toxicology or related fields).

Find a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative.

Power Plant Operator (controls systems that generate and distribute electric power, which may include shift work):

  • Median Annual Pay: $54,400.
  • Degree: High school diploma.

Find a job as a power plant operator.

Network Security Analyst (plans, installs and monitors security measures that protect computer networks and information):

  • Median Annual Pay: $55,700.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (information technology, mathematics or computer science).

Find a job as a network security analyst.

Software Developer (creates operating systems or applications for computers and other devices):

  • Median Annual Pay: $58,200.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (computer science).

Find a job as a software developer.

Actuarial Assistant (assists with setting insurance premium rates and performing related data research):

  • Median Annual Pay: $58,400.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (mathematics, actuarial science, statistics or finance).

Find a job as an actuarial assistant.

Investment Banking Analyst (provides financial services, investment advice and banking products to wealthy individuals and institutions):

  • Median Annual Pay: $69,100.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (business or finance).

Find a job as an investment banking analyst.

Business Technology Analyst (helps to improve business performance through the use of information technology):

  • Median Annual Pay: $69,900.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (business, information technology or computer science).

Find a job as an business technology analyst.

Petroleum Engineer (designs and develops methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth's surface and from older wells using novel methods):

  • Median Annual Pay: $87,600.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (engineering, preferably petroleum engineering).

Find a job as a petroleum analyst.

*Wages show are for full-time U.S. workers with 0 to 2 years of experience.
**Degrees shown are those typically held by workers for a specific occupation.

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Er ajay singh jirati

hi i am from india and completed my electrical and electronics engineering last year . I am fresher and want to do the job in usa or canada please suggest me idea for getting job in these countries. Give me some knowledge related to this.

November 23 2014 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angela Killpack

I didn't know these were entry level jobs! You would have to have a bachelor's degree. But if you're coming right out of college, you want to find a good job that can support you. http://www.nelsonpetroleum.com/cfnsites.html

April 01 2014 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

THESE are entry level?

May 08 2013 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

But Petroleum Engineering will be obsolete in three decades.

March 28 2013 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Entry level??? What the ****???

March 26 2013 at 12:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been wanting to comment on this topic for years....None of those juicy oil/gas jobs go to people that go to school and turn in a resume.....literally every oil co. job is found through nepotism and political favors / connections.
I would at least listen to those oil/gas co goons but the reality is you have as much chance as winning American Idol as you do in getting one of those mid level $200k Exxon office / field worker jobs - without having connections .
I wish this country would go back to being more of a meritocracy ..... testing for just about all jobs . But for some reason that isn't considered " fair " anymore .

March 25 2013 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ovstampco's comment

It's not the oil company jobs that are out there, it is the service sector jobs that are short of people. Try the well service and trucking jobs that require NOT EVEN a grade 12 diploma. Many of these jobs pay $60,000 to $80,000 without ANY experience. The work is hard and sometimes dirty but the money is clean and for those that want to advance themselves, promotions to supervisory level jobs that pay even more are there. Might mean relocation but the rewards are worth it. I worked my way to top positions in my 38 years in the business and can say that it was a good, well paying life. I have grade 9 education and my last position paid $500,000. I am now retired in Costa Rica with no debts. Try it on for size. It does work.

March 26 2013 at 3:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Richard's comment

Help me! lol I'm out of college right now and I am looking for work. I have a job to get me by for now but its not career not sustainable. I'm just ready to get my life going and anxious to find something. I feel as though I am capable but I have very little experience. Bottom line is that I'm ready to go I just need someone to take a chance on me so I can prove to them that I am completely capable. I'm very confident in my abilities, I just need a chance!

April 23 2013 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

All I want is a job.......check out "Thelubemasters.com" was in this industrial market for 37 years.........

March 25 2013 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what about truck drivers makind $100.000 per year/

March 25 2013 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, just wow. No power company in the world is going to hire anyone right out of high school to be an operator. There's actually operations schools, and instrumentation schools. You wouldn't even get an intern status without one of those degrees, or if you weren't working on one of those degrees. But you definitely can get your butt out there and bust azz as a roustabout. Can make good money too. You will have to pass pretty stringent background checks and pass a drug test though, and be subjected to random drug testing. Any felonies or domestic violence in your background or anything of that nature and it's pretty much a no go.

March 25 2013 at 8:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Want a job paying $50K right out of high school? Pick up and move your butt to Midland, Texas. You can work as a roustabouter or roughnecker in the field for easily $50k a year. You can believe me or not. Work ain't easy and you have teribble hours but the pay is good. OBTW, that number for starting petreoleum engineers is low. Oil and Gas business is basically holding this crappy economy up by a string.

March 25 2013 at 6:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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