20+ High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs That Help You Cash in From Day One was originally published on Forage.
For most people searching for their first job, a high-paying entry-level role is exactly what they’re looking for. But not everyone knows what makes an entry-level role high-paying, where to find one, or how to land it!
So, we’re covering what entry-level, high-paying jobs are and what you can do to increase the odds the company hires you.
What Is an Entry-Level Job?
An entry-level job requires very little or or even no specialized training, skills, education, or experience. But what does that mean?
Training and Experience
Entry-level jobs also don’t require you have work experience in the job title or industry or any specialized training outside of traditional school, though that’s not always the case. In theory, your employer will train you on the basics and you’ll gain additional experience working the job.
Soft skills, though, are a different matter. Everyone has soft skills, even if some are more developed than others (like you’re an excellent active listener but need to level up your public speaking skills). Most employers expect their entry-level employees to have some soft skills, which may or may not be called out in the job description.
RELATED: Learn more about the differences between hard and soft skills.
Education is a different matter. Some entry-level jobs may have degree or education requirements even when they don’t require relevant experience or skills. That’s because certain fields (engineering or accounting, for example) have education requirements that are set by the government or other credentialing bodies. In these cases, the employer often must hire people with this level of education.
And, the definition of “entry-level” will differ depending on the required education — entry-level for an associate degree is different from entry-level for a bachelor’s or master’s degree job.
It’s also important to note that education is often different from training. When we say “education,” we’re talking about traditional schools, like college.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found professions that require a bachelor’s degree for an entry-level role generally have a higher median salary than those that don’t.
What Is a High-Paying Job?
Well, a high-paying job is one that pays you a lot!
All kidding aside, “high paying” is relative. If you live in a high-cost-of-living area, you have a lot less spending power no matter what you make, while living in a lower-cost-of-living location takes your dollars a lot further.
>>What are the best cities for high-paying entry-level jobs?
While pay is relative, as of May 2022, the annual mean wage for all professions was $61,900, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, that figure includes all experience levels, meaning someone with no experience can have a starting salary higher than $61,900 while someone with 10 years of experience could earn less than that.
This is because not only is pay relative, so is industry. Some career fields (like medicine) have a far higher average salary than others due to the extensive training and education required..
20+ High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs by Average Salary
So, what are some high-paying entry-level jobs?
Here’s a list of entry-level jobs that don’t need higher than a bachelor’s degree, and have an average salary greater than $61,900 as of May 2022, as reported by the BLS.
1. Computer Hardware Engineer: $140,830
Computer hardware engineers design and test computer hardware. They’re also responsible for modifying the design based on test results and updating or upgrading hardware to be compatible with new software programs.
While computer hardware engineers design things like laptop computers, they’re also responsible for creating microprocessors that allow other devices (like your thermostat) to connect to the internet.
2. Personal Financial Advisor: $137,740
Personal financial advisors help clients make sound financial decisions for their situations. This can include investment advice, tax and estate planning, and planning for retirement.
Most personal financial advisors start with just a bachelor’s degree and learn the rest on the job, though some advisors obtain additional certifications to help advance their careers.
Wealth and Personal Banking
Discover what it’s like to advise clients on their financial goals in this free course from HSBC. You’ll learn how to build a client profile and use it to make personalized investment recommendations.
Skills you’ll build:
Client communication, quantitative analysis, PowerPoint, fact finding
3. Software Developer: $132,930
A software developer writes the code that makes a program run. But they also squash bugs as they pop up and rewrite existing code to run with new computer hardware or to meet new standards.
Most people enter the role with a bachelor’s degree. However, a portfolio of independent projects (like contributing to an open source project or volunteering your services) can help you stand out as a candidate.
Forage has more than 30 software engineering virtual job simulations. Check them out.
>>MORE: Learn more about software development and software engineering:
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4. Actuary: $127,580
Actuaries use math, data science, and statistics to analyze, calculate, and predict financial risk. There are two parts to becoming an actuary. The first part is obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Many actuaries have a bachelor’s in math, statistics, or a related field. With just your degree (and an interest), you can land an entry-level actuary role.
However, depending on the type of actuary credential you’re pursuing, you may also have to pass a series of exams and it’s not uncommon for that process to take a few years.
Experience what it’s like to be an actuary in this free course from Standard Bank. You’ll conduct lapse assessment, make recommendations from that assessment, and more.
Skills you’ll build:
Excel, PowerPoint, actuarial analysis, data analysis, actuarial techniques
>>MORE: Learn more about the actuarial field
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5. Information Security Analyst: $119,860
People in the information security field keep our information safe. While most think this means cybersecurity (and it does!), it can also refer to things like network security or cloud security, to name a few.
Many jobs in this field are great entry-level roles because while a bachelor’s degree is helpful, so is demonstrating you have the necessary skills to keep things safe.
>>MORE: Learn more about information security:
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6. Data Scientist: $115,240
Data scientists use historical information to predict the future. But instead of whipping out the tarot cards, they use data, statistics, and computer models to forecast the most likely outcome. Companies use these forecasts to make critical business decisions, and as more companies lean into data-driven decision-making, data scientists will continue to be well paid.
Check out our data virtual job simulations.
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7. Computer and Information Analyst: $110,550
Sometimes called computer systems analysts or systems architects, computer and information analysts design processes and procedures to help a company’s computer infrastructure run smoothly. They may research new software or hardware, recommend what to buy, or help optimize and configure the existing system to work more efficiently.
8. Financial and Investment Analyst: $108,790
Financial and investment analysts look at a company or individual’s investment portfolio and recommend ways to maximize profit or income while minimizing loss. They look beyond the portfolio, though, and include things like company performance as well as the overall economic outlook in their analysis.
We’ve got more than 30 banking and financial virtual job simulations that can help you discover which career is right for you.
>>MORE: Discover more about financial careers:
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9. Software Quality Assurance Analyst and Tester: $105,750
Software quality assurance (QA) analysts and testers ensure a software program is bug-free before a new product or update is released to the public. If someone discovers bugs after the product release, it’s up to the QA analyst or tester to recreate the problems and figure out what went wrong.
>>RELATED: Learn more about the QA field:
10. Project Management Specialist: $101,610
Project managers oversee a project from start to finish. That project could be anything from constructing a new home to launching a new product. It’s up to the project manager to make sure the project stays within the budget and on time.
Overseeing the project, though, doesn’t mean “stand back and watch.” Project management specialists are very active throughout the project. They’re often the primary point of contact with vendors, clients, and the team. It’s up to the project manager to ensure everyone has the tools, information, and resources they need to get the project done.
Try your hand at project management:
>>MORE: Learn more about being a project manager:
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11. Web Developer: $87,580
A web developer’s job sits at the intersections of user experience (UX), user interface (UI), and website maintenance.
Web developers create and maintain websites. This means they ensure the site functions correctly and troubleshoot when things go wrong. But web developers are also responsible for creating elements that look visually appealing to viewers and function well on different devices.
Digital Design and UX
Try your hand at digital design and UX in this free course from bp. You’ll learn how personas help drive design, create a UI for your wireframe, and more.
Skills you’ll build:
User research, person creation, UX, UI, mobile design, wireframing
>>RELATED: Learn more about web development:
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12 and 13. Accountant and Auditor: $86,740
The BLS lumps accountants and auditors into the same category for pay. While the roles are similar and related, they are two separate and distinct job functions even though an auditor is a type of accountant!
Accountants typically help clients maintain their financial records. So, they may track a company’s budget, map that to financial and business goals, and, of course, help the company or client plan for taxes.
Auditors primarily review these documents to find errors or flag irregularities. While they don’t maintain financial statements, they do need to know what the right practices are to identify the mistakes.
See what it’s like to work in accounting.
LEARN: Discover more about accounting and auditing:
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- How to Choose an Accounting Career Path
14. Loan Officer: $84,160
A loan officer is usually the person who ultimately decides whether or not a financial institution should make a loan. They do this by collecting and verifying information on the loan application. Then they take that information and evaluate whether or not the applicant can repay the loan and if it’s risky to make it.
15. Commercial and Industrial Designer: $81,740
User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) often go hand-in-hand (UX/UI). When a company develops anything from a physical device to a website, it’s up to the designers to ensure the product functions well for the end user.
Of course, there’s more to it than making a product that works. The design also needs to support the business goals, be practical, and fit into the budget. It’s a lot of moving parts, which is why UX/UI designers are often well-paid.
Test the waters as a product designer in this free course from Accenture. You’ll add a new feature to and existing product and learn how good design impacts user experience.
Skills you’ll build:
Figma, product thinking, UX, UI, product design
>>MORE: Explore UX/UI careers
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16. Market Research Analyst and Specialist: $78,880
Market research analysts and specialists are tasked with learning more about the people who use their products. This often starts with user research. The marketing specialist creates user personas (who uses the products) and learns all they can about those personas to better understand what customers want from a product.
Marketers also look at the market, including their competitors, to better understand how their product fits in.
Strategic & Experience Design
Enhance your market research skills in this free course from BCG X. You’ll design the user research, create customer personas, and more.
Skills you’ll build:
Ethnographic research, personas, concept development, ideation
17. Public Relations Specialist: $78,540
Public relations specialists handle the forward-facing communications for their clients. That could be individuals (like celebrities) or companies. As a rule, entry-level public relations specialists aren’t the ones making statements. They’re often the people who write press releases, track press coverage, and help maintain relationships.
18. Human Resources Specialist: $73,080
Despite the name, a human resources specialist doesn’t necessarily have a specialty. Instead, they do a little bit of everything in the human resources department, which makes it a great high-paying entry-level job. Most human resource specialists get to try their hand at recruiting, sourcing, and screening applicants. But they also may be able to do things like benefit administration.
Explore Human Resources
See what it’s like to work in human resources in this free course from GE Aerospace. You’ll learn how to give constructive feedback, coach team members, and more.
Skills you’ll build:
Data visualization, pay metrics and positioning, continuous improvement tools, Excel
19. Conservation Scientist: $69,810
Though conservation scientists are scientists, unlike other science professions, entry-level roles for this job don’t require more than a bachelor’s degree. Conservation scientists help manage and preserve natural resources, like parks, forests, and rivers. They often work with government agencies but can work for private owners (like ranchers or farmers).
Life Sciences: Biology Research
Enhance your science skills in this free course from LifeArc. You’ll design and optimize and experiment, analyze your data, and present your results.
Skills you’ll build:
Data analysis, data visualization, critical analysis, coding, collaboration
Other High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs
If you’re not ready to hone in on a specific job, you can broaden your search. These are three career fields that often have high-paying entry-level jobs.
At an entry-level role, you’ll likely be an associate at a law firm, though you could work as a law clerk. Either way, working in law is at the top of our high-paying entry-level job list. Keep in mind, you’ll need to finish law school and pass the bar.
We’ve got nearly 90 virtual job simulations in law that can help you build skills, no matter the kind of law you want to practice.
>>MORE: Learn about the different types of law.
- What Is Commercial Law?
- What Is Environmental Law?
- What Is Criminal Law?
- What Is Civil Rights Law?
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- What Is Entertainment Law?
Engineering is another high-paying entry-level job that may require more than a bachelor’s degree, depending on the type of engineering, where you live, and the company. Some engineers need an advanced degree as well as a state license to start at the entry-level, but others can work as engineers straight out of college. This lucrative career boasts a mean salary of $94,670.
Explore what it’s like to be an engineer.
Sales is a broad job category covering anything from technology sales to ringing up someone in a brick-and-mortar store. But depending on the industry (pharmaceuticals or tech, for example), working in sales can be incredibly lucrative.
In many cases, salespeople earn commission on every sale, meaning your earning potential is nearly infinite. The more you sell, the more you make!
See if sales is the right career for you.
How to Get a High-Paying Entry-Level Job
So, how can you get one of these high-paying entry-level jobs, especially if the company is looking for a candidate with some relevant experience?
Start With the Basics
Before you can land a high paying entry-level job in any field, you need to determine what will help you stand out as an applicant. You may need to major in something relevant to the career you’re going to pursue, and possibly obtain additional credentials or education (like attending law school).
Build Your Skills
Once you’ve done some career planning, work on building relevant skills. While you can’t learn everything on your own, practicing the skills you’ll eventually need now can help you hit the ground running when you’re hired.
One great way to do this is through an internship, but not everyone has access to them. So, consider enrolling in a Forage virtual job simulation to gain exposure to the job you’re pursuing and build the skills you need.
Talk Your Skills Up
There’s more to landing a high-paying entry-level role than building new skills. You also have to talk about the skills you already possess during your job search. That includes mentioning them on your cover letter and resume as well as explaining them during your interview.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t fret! When you complete a Forage virtual job simulation, you’ll get a resume snippet you can customize for yours and a few talking points to help you explain what you learned to hiring managers and recruiters.
Get Prepped for High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs
If none of the entry-level high-paying roles on our list sound like a good fit for you, have no fear! We’ve got plenty of other virtual job simulations in a variety of fields that can help you upskill your way to your dream career. Head over to the course catalog and check them all out.
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