5 of the Highest Paying Entry-Level Jobs

miley cyrus throwing money

Miley Cyrus throws money at a concert | Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Everyone has different goals, aspirations, and dreams. While some people strive to make a difference and leave their marks on the world, others measure success by the amount of money they are making. Most people fall somewhere in between the two extremes, striving to make money while simultaneously making some sort of positive impact.

Whether we like it or not, money is important. And, even if you don’t aspire to be rich and renowned, it’s nice to be financially comfortable. When you have the means to be financially stable, it’s one less thing you have to worry about (or should we say several less things you have to worry about).

It’s tough for people who are just entering into a career to be financially stable, as entry-level pay is often on the lower end. Look at an administrative assistant for instance, whose entry-level hourly median wage is $13, according to PayScale. His pay is quite lower than a late-career assistant, who earns a median hourly wage of $16, which is nearly 25% higher than his inexperienced counterpart.

In some career fields, however, entry-level pay is exceptionally high. We’ve created a list of some of these careers. These positions often require a level of higher education, most often a bachelor’s degree, but there are still opportunities for those with no career experience in these positions. All entry-level salary data comes from PayScale and career information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other resources.

1. Marketing coordinator

work team

Work team | iStock.com

Entry-level salary: $38,874 per year

Marketing coordinators work on product and company marketing campaigns. Most marketing coordinators have fewer than five years of experience. According to PayScale, “just under nine-tenths of entry-level marketing coordinators report fewer than five years in the field, making for a fairly junior workforce.”

Typically, marketing coordinators have a degree in marketing or a related field. Strong oral and written communication skills, reasoning, and mathematical inclination is essential for marketing coordinators. Marketing coordinators also have great opportunity for advancement to higher positions, like marketing managers.

2. Human resources coordinator


Office space | Ian Gavan/Getty Images for O2

Entry-level salary: $39,939 per year

HR coordinators perform human resources-related tasks, like developing and maintaining company policy and protocol and employee relations. Some human resources coordinators may be involved in a company’s hiring, recruiting, and salary decisions.

Many human resources professionals have a degree in human resources, business, or a related field. These professionals also have strong communication and mediation skills, and a knack for understanding and interpreting rules and regulations. Human resources coordinators have opportunity for advancement into higher positions, like HR management positions.

3. Computer programmer

man typing on laptop

Programmer | iStock.com

Entry-level salary: $49,468 per year

Computer programmers generally have a bachelor’s degree in computer programming or a related IT field, but in some rare cases, employers will hire programmers with associate’s degrees. In a nutshell, programmers write new computer code or debug (fix) existing computer code that contains errors or inefficiencies.

Programmers have a great deal of opportunity for advancement. “Programmers who have general business experience may become computer systems analysts. With experience, some programmers may become software developers. They may also be promoted to managerial positions,” reports the BLS.

4. Engineer

man wearing yellow hard hat

Mechanical engineer | iStock.com

Civil engineer entry-level salary: $52,004 annually

Mechanical engineer entry-level salary: $60,444 annually

Civil engineers work on large construction projects, like roads, bridges, and airports. They help design, supervise, and construct these structures and projects. Surprisingly, many civil engineers are entry-level. “A relatively unseasoned group of workers, four in five of entry-level civil engineers report fewer than five years on the job,” PayScale reports.

Civil engineers must complete a bachelor’s degree program at an ABET-accredited school. They must also obtain a license to work professionally. Many civil engineers — more than four out of five — obtain a master’s degree as well. Once a civil engineer has gained experience, she may advance into a higher position, like a senior engineering position or project management role.

There are entry-level opportunities in other engineering disciplines, like mechanical engineering, which is the broadest of the engineering fields. “Nearly all entry-level mechanical engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology,” reports the BLS.

5. Pharmaceutical sales rep

Handshake between two colleagues in office

Handshake between two colleagues | iStock.com/Saklakova

Entry-level salary: around $55,000

If you have a knack for sales, you can really make a lot of money in this field. Although the base salary for these positions may be modest, commissions and bonuses can really up the ante and lead to a generous total compensation package. Many entry-level sales careers are in pharmaceutical sales or computer and office supplies sales. Oftentimes, companies hire candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree and many employers have formal training programs.

As of 2014, the median annual salary for a pharmaceutical sales representative (including commissions) is $105,000, according to Med Reps. Other estimates indicate the typical salary as a bit lower, with PayScale estimating the entry-level salary for a pharmaceutical sales rep at around $55,000. But your salary in this field also depends on your level of talent.

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