Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
Landing a high-paying job as you launch your career might seem like a dream, but it’s not as far-fetched as you think.
With the right approach, you can secure an entry-level position that offers a generous salary and room for growth.
The key lies in understanding the landscape of today’s career market, knowing where and how to search, and laying a successful foundation that blends your interests with your unique skill set.
Once you’ve got a specific target, landing a high-paying, entry-level position is well within your reach.
- Understand entry-level jobs and research potential high-paying positions.
- Explore industries like accounting & finance, computer & IT, and medical & health for roles with competitive salaries.
- Use strategic planning and networking to land a desirable job that pays well.
Understanding Entry-Level Jobs
When you’re new to an industry due to a career change or a recent degree, you’re likely going to be starting on the first step of your career ladder. These roles can help you gain the skills you need to build a successful career long-term.
Gaining on-the-job experience helps you build confidence and credibility in ways that a classroom setting can’t fully develop. Requiring minimal professional work experience, entry-level jobs are perfect for industry newcomers. Oftentimes, you’ll see these roles listed with titles that begin with “junior” or “assistant.”
For instance, in the business sector, roles such as junior accountant or assistant project manager are considered entry-level jobs. These roles offer opportunities to understand the nitty-gritty of business operations.
In the tech industry, positions like junior developer are typical entry-level roles in which one can learn and grow through hands-on work.
In an entry-level position, you’ll generally work on projects that are overseen by more senior team members, or your role won’t impact the project with as much significance.
Organizations will be looking to set you up for success with gradually increasing responsibilities. After you’ve proven successful in an entry-level position, you’ll become eligible for more advanced roles.
What Is Considered a High-Paying, Entry-Level Job?
A high-paying, entry-level job offers a salary close to or higher than the median wage for all occupations in the U.S. without requiring prior experience. Some of these jobs may not require a four-year college degree but focus on reasonable on-the-job training requirements and quicker-than-average growth potential.
Entry-level doesn’t mean untrained though. The education and experience requirements for these positions can vary significantly. Some might require nothing more than a high school diploma.
But many of the higher-paying roles require postsecondary education, with some requiring a bachelor’s degree or specific certification.
Not only does education factor in, but landing your first entry-level role in a new field is often the most challenging job of your entire career. With a blank slate for career accomplishments, it’s tricky for hiring managers to visualize the impact you’ll make if they bring you on board. Settle in for a longer job search when you’re looking for your first role.
To avoid discouragement, set realistic expectations before you begin. Research shows that it can take an average of 100-200 applications to get an offer. Why is that?
It turns out that the average corporate posting receives over 250 responses for one opening. But don’t let those numbers discourage you. Instead, let them motivate you to stay focused when you’re losing a bit of steam during a lengthy job search.
7 Top High-Paying, Entry-Level Jobs
There are several industries that offer high-paying, entry-level jobs, even remote jobs!
Each industry has its unique requirements and potential salary ranges, so it’s essential to research and align your skills and education with the right opportunity.
1. Accounting & Finance Jobs
The financial sector offers a wide range of high-paying, entry-level positions, including accounting, banking, and bookkeeping jobs.
To secure a job in the accounting industry, you’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree in finance or economics, and in some cases, professional certifications.
Other positions, such as mortgage assistants, insurance claims adjusters, and investment associates, also offer competitive salaries, averaging $36,000 and upwards annually.
With a projected growth of 9% over the next decade, the financial sector provides ample opportunities for growth, bonuses, and the chance to develop your financial fluency and customer service skills.
2. Administrative Jobs
Administrative roles, such as virtual assistants and executive assistants, play a crucial role in the smooth functioning of businesses and organizations. These positions involve a variety of administrative tasks.
Roles vary significantly from industry to industry and even within the same organization. Common tasks often include scheduling appointments, managing correspondence, and organizing files.
The typical entry-level salary for an administrative assistant is nearly $45,000 per year. Executive assistants have significantly more impact on an organization, as they’re generally supporting upper-level leadership.
As such, entry-level salaries for executive assistants average higher, at around $67,000.
Capable administrative assistants have excellent growth potential, with some moving on to become office managers or even pursuing additional certificates to take on more specialized roles after a few years.
With technology increasing at a rapid pace, consider a specialization to support continued job growth. For example, medical secretaries and administrative assistants are forecasted to have 8% growth over the next decade.
3. Computer & IT Jobs
Computer and IT industries offer some of the highest-paying entry-level jobs, such as database administration, computer security, and technical support jobs.
To land a job in one of these fields, you’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree in a related area, such as computer science or knowledge of specific coding languages, along with some experience in relevant projects.
The average salary for database administrators, for example, is nearly $69,000 per year. As a database administrator, you’ll help create or maintain systems to store and organize data.
With rapid advancements in technology and the high demand for skilled professionals in computer & IT fields, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts faster-than-average growth potential (9%) and competitive salaries.
4. Customer Service Jobs
Customer service and support roles, such as entry-level customer service representatives, travel consultants, and call center specialists, offer high-paying, entry-level opportunities for those with excellent people skills and the ability to adapt to various situations.
While these positions may not require a four-year degree, specific certifications and licenses might be helpful. For example, proficiency with Microsoft or Google Suite can be beneficial.
Salaries for customer service and support roles can vary, but entry-level customer service representatives can expect to earn a competitive salary. Salary.com reports a median income of $37,000 for customer service roles.
Specialized fields can increase your earning potential. Medical or financial customer service representatives, for example, may earn more.
With technology always advancing, you’ll want to do some in-depth research before determining the industry you plan to specialize in.
Some, such as travel-related fields, are anticipated to have significant growth potential, making them a lucrative and stable career choice.
5. Marketing Jobs
In the world of marketing and content creation, you’ll find a variety of high-paying, entry-level roles, such as copywriters, email marketing specialists, social media specialists, and marketing assistants.
These positions require creativity, excellent communication skills, and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.
Social media specialists and email marketing specialists can also expect competitive starting salaries, averaging nearly $55,000 per year.
As the demand for engaging digital content and effective marketing strategies continues to grow, these entry-level positions offer a promising career path with plenty of room for advancement.
Roles within the marketing field are anticipated to grow by 10%, which is faster than average.
6. Medical & Health Jobs
The health care industry, despite its often complex and specialized nature, offers a diverse array of high-paying, entry-level positions. Unlike other industries where a four-year degree or extensive experience may be necessary, many health care roles instead prioritize specific certifications or postsecondary coursework.
This educational flexibility allows for easier entry into the field, enriching both the workforce and individual opportunities.
Entry-level roles throughout the industry include medical coding, case management, nursing, and dental jobs, among others, with some requiring state or local licensure. Throughout the industry, high-paying, entry-level positions offer an excellent opportunity to launch a new career path.
There is a significant range within the industry. Median entry-level pay for a registered nurse, for instance, begins at around $67,000 per year, while entry-level medical billing jobs average $42,000 annually.
Throughout the medical field, you’ll find competitive salaries and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others.
The demand for various health care services continues to grow, driven by factors such as population aging and increased health consciousness. Opportunities for career advancement are numerous, and roles within the medical and health sector are projected to grow 6% — about as fast as average.
7. Software Development Jobs
In the world of tech and software development, high-paying, entry-level positions, such as data scientists and Java developers, are in high demand.
Data scientists are responsible for organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data to gain insights and make informed decisions. To become a data scientist, you’ll need a solid grasp of statistics and data models, as well as a relevant educational background.
Beyond data science, there is an overwhelming demand for programmers and software engineers. Participating in a boot camp and mastering a programming language, such as Java or Ruby on Rails, is often the quickest way to launch a lucrative career in software development.
Programming salaries vary significantly based on the skills you’ve gained. Many, such as a Ruby on Rails developer, have a median range of $81,000 and increase significantly from there.
These positions play a crucial role in the technology needs of nearly every industry. As technology continues to evolve, the demand for skilled professionals in tech and data analysis will only continue to grow. In fact, this is forecasted to be one of the fastest-growing fields, with projected growth of 25% over the next decade.
5 Tips for Landing High-Paying Jobs With No Experience
Now that your creative juices are flowing and you’re exploring the wide range of industries offering rewarding entry-level positions, it’s time to consider strategies to help you secure a high-paying, entry-level role.
Some strategies are career best practices, such as being intentional in your job search and leveraging your network.
Others are focused on landing an entry-level role, such as looking beyond the boundaries of your degree and demonstrating your unique value.
1. Strategically Choose Your Path
When you launch a job search, it’s crucial to strategically choose your path before jumping into action. Research the various industries and companies offering high-paying, entry-level jobs, but dive deeper than the dollar amount.
Consider how they align with your skills, education, and interests. The more passionate you are about a company or its purpose, the more easily you’ll convey that excitement.
Narrow down your list to target companies you’ll get excited to work for and focus your energy there. Hiring managers are increasingly focused on hiring for culture fit.
Many technical skills can be taught during on-the-job training. Wow them with your dedication to their brand.
2. Build and Utilize Your Network
Building a strong professional network is often the key to landing a high-paying, entry-level job. Set goals to attend networking events, join professional organizations, and connect with professionals in your target industry.
Utilize social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, to find new connections and engage with meaning and intention.
Use networking best practices. Steer clear of focusing solely on what you can gain, instead working to create win-win situations where you give and receive support.
One of the best ways to network effectively is to become a connector of sorts. Introduce people in your network to one another, even if you’re gaining nothing out of the interaction.
By building and utilizing your network effectively, you’ll increase your chances of getting a high-paying, entry-level job and creating valuable relationships that can benefit your career in the long run.
Networking is a skill that needs to be learned and nurtured. If you find yourself struggling, enlist the support of a mentor to help you master the skill.
3. Think Outside Your Degree
While having a degree in a specific field can be helpful, it’s essential to think beyond your degree when searching for high-paying, entry-level jobs. Consider opportunities outside your field that align with your skills and interests.
By thinking of your degree as a foundation, rather than a fence, you open yourself up to a world of opportunities beyond your specific field of study.
This approach not only increases your chances of landing a high-paying, entry-level job but also broadens your perspective and helps you discover new passions and interests.
4. Communicate Your Worth
When applying for high-paying, entry-level jobs, it’s crucial to find ways to communicate your worth to potential employers.
Emphasize your talents and experiences, and demonstrate how they translate to your chosen field. Be confident in your abilities and trust yourself to excel in the position you’re applying for.
FlexJobs Career Expert Keith Spencer reminds job seekers that you shouldn’t skip an opening simply because you don’t meet all of the posted requirements. Instead, Spencer recommends, “Use a 60% baseline in terms of comparing your qualifications to a position to determine whether or not to apply.”
During interviews, don’t roll through your entire career history. Stay ultra-targeted, showcase your achievements, and highlight how your skills can benefit the company.
By translating your worth, you’ll increase your chances of securing a high-paying, entry-level job and set the stage for a successful career.
5. Set a Foundation for Growth
Consider less traditional avenues into a new field. For example, you might explore internship and returnship opportunities. Freelance and volunteer opportunities can help you establish experience and grow your network.
And rather than limit yourself to LinkedIn and social media, explore a wide range of networking channels. While those are fantastic ways to meet industry professionals, seek out webinars, conferences, and trade shows as well.
Market yourself in areas where others with similar interests will end up as well. Read books, listen to podcasts, read articles on your target industry, and make connections through comments and reviews.
Devote time to gaining the certifications and licenses that will help you stand out from the competition. That might mean pursuing emerging technologies, rather than existing ones that the majority of job seekers also have.