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).**
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).
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).
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.
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).
Software Developer (creates operating systems or applications for computers and other devices):
- Median Annual Pay: $58,200.
- Degree: Bachelor's (computer science).
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).
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).
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).
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).
*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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