12 Entry Level Jobs With Surprisingly High Salaries

Many of us leave school knowing it will take several years to achieve a decent standard of living. There is a ladder to climb, and we all know we have to start on the bottom rung. However, there are some professions that offer hefty paydays the second you enter the field. Here are 12 careers that can pay big bucks from day one.

1. Video Game Designer

For some people, this is a dream job — working all day on video games, and being paid handsomely to do so. And what's more, a bachelor's or associate's degree is not always required. This is a case of "if you've got it, flaunt it," and many people these days are already programming their own games at home. The job requires not just aesthetic design capabilities, but also coding, development, and testing skills. This is a combination that is often hard to come by, with most designers having poor coding skills, and vice versa. But for those with the chops, it can pay dividends. An average entry-level salary of almost $60,000 is easily achieved, with the best of the best earning six figure salaries in the very first year.

2. Air Traffic Controller

Make no mistake, the job of an air traffic controller is extremely stressful. In fact, if you do a quick search for "air traffic controller" and either "stress" or "suicide," you'll be shocked at the results you get back. These professionals literally have hundreds of thousands of lives in their hands every day, and one misstep could result in tragedy.

This, of course, is why it is such a high paying job, with an entry level salary above $64,000. Duties include: coordination of arriving and departing aircrafts, authorizing flight path changes, providing up-to-the-minute weather updates, and dealing with emergencies. After a few years, the salary can climb to $120,000 or more. (See also: 11 Jobs With High Earnings and Growth)

3. Nurse Midwife

For those with a compassionate nature — who have no problem seeing blood — the job of a nurse midwife can be very lucrative. Working closely with OB/GYN professionals, the nurse midwife will assist in all stages of pregnancy, including labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Nurse midwives are in greater demand due to the rise in parents who want a more natural delivery, and who also want someone on hand that they share a special, trusting bond with. The position requires a post-graduate degree in nurse midwifery, but as the starting salary is so high (over $80,000 to start), the education loans can be paid down relatively quickly. A six figure salary within a few years is very achievable.

4. Computer Hardware Engineer

If you have a way with technology, a mind for mathematics, and can see yourself working with circuit boards and computer systems, this is the job for you. As a computer engineer, your primary responsibilities include: designing and developing computer hardware and systems, creating circuit boards and computer chips, and supervising the manufacturing and production of parts. It's a complex job that requires a degree, but it's well worth it. With a starting salary of around $65,000, rising to $100,000 in just a few years, this is a job that blazes the technological trail. And as the demand for computer technology is only going to increase, it's a stable job that will let you live a very comfortable lifestyle.

5. Podiatrist

How much do you like feet? For many, it's not the most attractive part of the anatomy, but the lure of a big payday can change that opinion. Few professions offer six figure salaries for newbies, but podiatry is one of them, giving entry-level professionals over $100,000 per year. It's hard work, and can often have demanding hours, with daily duties that include diagnosing and treating foot diseases, injuries, and deformities, a well as performing complex surgeries. More money can be earned by specializing in sports injuries, especially for major sporting teams. But of course, a doctorate is required to enter the field, and that can take many years to acquire.

6. Dentist

If feet aren't your thing, maybe you could consider dentistry. As Payscale points out, not only is the entry-level salary very high, but bonuses and benefits can top that first year salary out at almost $180,000 per year. For most of us, that's an income we one day dream of having. Just like any other medical profession, this is not a career you can just fall into. It takes years of training, and a bachelor's degree is required before admittance to dental school. Once there, it takes another four years to become certified and licensed, which requires both a written and practical examination. But, for those willing to put in the hard work, the benefits are extraordinary.

7. Psychiatrist

You're no-doubt familiar with the names Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, or Hermann Rorschach. These were pioneers in the field of psychiatry, which has become a multi-billion dollar business today. Payscale data shows that not only are psychiatrists handsomely paid in the first year of practice (starting over $80,000), but more professionals are women than men (53% to 47%). The steps to becoming a certified psychiatrist are long and arduous, however. Not only do aspiring psychiatrists need to have a bachelor's degree, but they then need to take a medical college admissions test, complete a doctorate, complete a residency, and then get licenses and certification.

8. Actuary

If you are unsure what an actuary does, it can be summed up in one word: risk. Actuaries use skills in mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to study unforeseen events. As you can imagine, this is a skill that is highly prized by insurance and pension companies, who base their business models on the unforeseen. Obviously, the profession requires a proficiency in mathematics, statistics, and analytical skills. Good actuaries also require high technical abilities, good communication and presentation skills, and a "studious nature." Starting salaries for actuaries range from $50,000–$60,000.

9. Landscape Architect

For those with a love of the outdoors, and a passion for creating beautiful scenery, landscape architect is a position well worth looking into. However, this is not a career that can be done simply be having a green thumb and an eye for details. Landscape architects usually have at least a bachelor's degree in this field, and more often than not, a master's degree as well. A good knowledge of geology, urban planning, landscape ecology, and soil science is essential. And these days, proficiency in computer-aided design software is a must. But, it can pay off. First year salaries average around $45,000, with bonuses and benefits boosting that to almost $60,000. Those with great talent can expect to earn stellar salaries in the coming years, especially if they work with high-end retail outlets, country clubs, or wealthy estates.

10. Pharmacist

The next time you have your prescription filled, take a look at the person in charge behind the counter. It may very well be someone quite young, and yet, they are already earning a significant salary. Pharmacists, on average, earn around $103,000 in their first year on the job. Once again though, this kind of high-end salary does not come without sacrifice. Pharmacists require a great deal of training — typically a bachelor's degree with a focus on organic chemistry and biology — before entering a four-year "PharmD" program. After that, even more tests are required, as well as a license to practice in a specific state.

11. Market Research Analyst

Advertising agencies, product development companies, and most corporations, find market research analysts invaluable. The job is self-explanatory, with entry-level professionals being expected to study products and services, determine pricing, analyze future trends, increase demand, develop rebate programs, and many other facets of marketing and research. A bachelor's degree in this subject, or a closely related field, is required. It can be a very satisfying job for those with a penchant for crunching numbers, analyzing patterns, and working with focus groups. And of course, the starting salary, just shy of $50,000, is not to be scoffed at.

12. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Although a bachelor's degree in sales or marketing is beneficial in this field, it's not essential. What is, however, is salesmanship, charisma, assertiveness, and the ability to close a sale. In fact, prior evidence of great sales in another industry is often all that is needed, from cars and homes, to food, and even farming supplies. Pharma sales reps often have to travel a great deal, selling products to customers around the country. They need a good head for technical details, exceptional interpersonal skills, and a way with numbers. With this, and on-the-job training, pharma sales reps can easily earn over $50,000 in their first year alone, with many earning beyond $85,000.

Did we miss any other high paying entry level jobs on this list? Share with us in the comments below!

Like this article? Pin it!



12 Entry Level Jobs With Surprisingly High Salaries

Average: 4 (2 votes)
Your rating: None

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Guest's picture

Entry level yes, a lot of school, yes.

Guest's picture

50K is a lot of money? Really?