Ranking the Best Entry-Level Jobs
Entry-level jobs or an entry-level position may not sound glamorous or exciting, but in reality, finding good entry-level jobs is incredibly important to your entire career. Your entry-level position is going to determine the direction of the rest of your career in many ways, and it can not only be a source of income right out of high school or college, but it can also help you learn skills and build relationships that will allow you to advance in your field.
In general, entry-level careers are those positions that you can enter either with no formal education or training, perhaps some education, or maybe with a degree but no on-the-job experience.
Entry-level careers aren’t necessarily only relevant to younger workers, however. After the Great Recession when many older adults lost their jobs, they began seeking new positions or a new direction in their career. This is somewhat common among older workers, so when moving from one career field to another, you may also be looking for high-paying entry-level jobs.
While good entry-level jobs might not necessarily pay six figures, they are invaluable because, as mentioned earlier, employees gain the experience they need to take on more advanced, high-paying roles eventually.
If you’re someone with a high school degree, good entry-level jobs for you might include something in the services or hospitality industry, or a technical position. If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the list of entry-level jobs you may be qualified for can include white collar positions, particularly if your degree is relevant to the work you’re applying for. For example, you might take an entry-level position as an assistant in your field of work, and you’ll be under a more senior staff member during that time.
The following ranking of the best entry-level jobs includes a mix of those positions that require formal education and at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as some top entry-level jobs that may require only a high school diploma, or perhaps completion of a technical certification program.
AdvisoryHQ’s Comparison Review List of the Top 6 Best Entry-Level Jobs
List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the entry-level names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that entry-level position):
High Level Comparison Table | Best-Paying Entry-Level Jobs
Best Entry-Level Jobs
Annual Median Salary
|Air Traffic Controller||Bachelor’s degree or high school diploma with relevant experience|
|Copywriter/Technical Writer||Bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or related field (although some employers may hire based on talent or experience)|
|IT Support Analyst||In most cases a bachelor’s degree in computer science|
|Sales Representative||High school diploma and in some cases a bachelor’s degree, depending on industry and employer|
|Systems Engineer||At least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field|
|Web Developer||An associate’s degree in a related field, sometimes a bachelor’s degree for more advanced positions|
How Can You Find High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs?
While entry-level jobs may not necessarily sound like they’re hard to land, in reality, it’s a competitive landscape, and it can be difficult to get your foot in the door at many companies, particularly if you’re looking for the best-paying entry-level jobs.
Image Source: Pixabay
More people than ever before have high-level education credentials, and while the unemployment rate has ticked down significantly since the height of the Great Recession, there are still many people out of work, which is paired with the influx of new graduates constantly entering the market.
So how can you make yourself stand out in your search for an entry-level position?
- Before you even start thinking about applying for entry-level jobs, you should have some intern experience under your belt.
While entry-level jobs may not necessarily require you have professional experience as an employee in your field, internship experience is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from other applicants.
If you haven’t yet done an internship, you may find that you need to log some unpaid time, and then take on a part-time job to meet your financial needs before you can get an entry-level position.
- Create your own website before you graduate or as soon as possible when you’re starting the search for top-paying entry-level jobs.
Employers are going to look around online and see what they can find about you, so ensure that you’re managing your own employee brand and reputation.
You can also develop a blog that will allow you to show who you are and what you can bring to the table.
- One of the top ways to get your foot in the door for the best entry-level jobs is to network, and a good way to do this is by joining a group in your industry, or a general professional development organization.
You can start building those all-important relationships that will be essential throughout your career.
- If you attended college and you’re having a tough time finding good entry-level jobs, you might contact the career office of your school.
They often have a network of possible positions they can tap into, largely because of alumni relationships.
Once you land an entry-level position, it’s important that you make the most of your time there. Even if it’s not the career of your dreams, it’s an essential stepping stone.
Air Traffic Controller Review
Air traffic controllers are an essential part of the aviation throughout the world, and their primary objective is to make sure aircrafts are a safe distance from one another. Other essential duties of air traffic controllers include giving instructions to pilots regarding takeoff and landing and monitoring aircrafts not only while they’re in the air, but also when they’re on the ground. Air traffic controllers in a general sense handle communication among flights, both departing and arriving, and with other airports.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for air traffic controllers was $122,950 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $66,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $172,590.
Much of the pay for air traffic controllers depends on their completion of progressive training programs as defined by the FAA.
While we’re ranking the general career of air traffic controller as one of the high-paying entry-level jobs, it’s important to understand there are actually different kinds of controllers.
For example, tower controllers are in charge of managing the movement that happens on runways and taxiways. They will be the professionals you see in towers at airports.
There are also approach and departure controllers, and their objective is to make sure planes are in the airspace of the airport. They will typically work with radar equipment, and they communicate with pilots often.
En route controllers are the professionals who take over the monitoring of aircraft after it departs the airspace of an airport. They don’t necessarily work at airports. There are various centers where they may work, and they may be responsible for providing adjustments to the path of aircraft when it’s already in the air.
Image Source: FAA
How to Become One
To become an air traffic controller, ranked as one of best entry-level jobs on this list of entry-level jobs, you have to be a U.S. citizen, and you should either have your bachelor’s degree or some relevant work experience.
What’s more important than experience, however, is the ability to achieve a certain minimum score on the pre-employment test from the Federal Aviation Administration. There is also a training course at the FAA Academy that must be completed by the time an applicant is 31 years old.
Applicants are also required to pass the Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test (AT-SAT), which includes questions about math, prioritization, planning, visualization, and problem-solving.
While you can apply to become an air traffic controller without a bachelor’s degree, if you only have a high school education, you’re required to have several years of sequential work experience as a pilot, flight dispatcher or navigator. You may also qualify if you have experience with weather or flight regulations, according to BLS.
Copywriter/Technical Writer Review
Copywriters and technical writers are two career fields that are very similar to one another, which is why they’re combined on this ranking of the best-paying entry-level jobs.
Many companies are increasing their focus on hiring copywriters and technical writers since online content is such an important part of most marketing strategies. A copywriter is someone who can work across industries and do a variety of types of writing including promotional content, blogs, and written content.
Technical writers work to write complex technical communication, such as white papers, manuals, and instructional guides. One of the primary reasons writing roles are included on this list of high-paying entry-level jobs and the best entry-level jobs is because the demand is expected to continue to increase in coming years.
As mentioned above, a copywriter can be a general term that’s used to describe a variety of types of writers, including technical writers, and while this entry-level position may require some formal education, some employers are willing to hire employees without a bachelor’s degree, if they can demonstrate writing talent and proficiency.
Copywriters create different types of written content, and they can work directly for companies, for marketing and advertising businesses, or they can work as freelancers.
The median annual salary for copywriters was $45,648 in 2016 according to BLS. Writing duties for this pick for one of the best entry-level jobs can include press releases, media campaign organization and writing, writing sales letters, web content writing, and even writing for traditional advertising methods, such as billboards.
A technical writer can work in many industries, but typically these entry level careers are found in engineering and computer-based industries. Technical writers may also opt to work as freelancers. The median annual wage for technical writers was $70,240 in May 2015.
How to Become One
According to the BLS, the project job growth for copywriters in advertising and public relations is 3.4% between 2014 and 2024. The expected job growth for technical writers in the same period is 10%, which is faster than average.
Typically for an entry-level position as a copywriter or technical writer, employers want applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree, but generally employees are expected to have less than five years work experience, which is what makes it one of the top entry-level jobs.
Training is usually provided on the job and doesn’t focus on writing, but instead focuses on teaching the employee about the processes and standards of the business that are relevant to writing advertorial, marketing, and technical content.
If you are thinking about becoming a copywriter or technical writer, which is one of the best-paying entry-level jobs, you might study journalism, communications, marketing, or English.
IT Support Analyst Review
In general, careers in information technology (IT), are some of the best in terms of not only being high-paying entry-level jobs, but they are among the most lucrative in general, including for experienced professionals.
The reason is because nearly every organization requires IT services and support, and it’s a field that only continues to grow in demand. An IT Support Analyst is the entry-level position of a professional that may go on to become an IT Analyst.
Before looking at the specifics of an IT support analyst, it’s critical first to understand what an IT Analyst does. An IT analyst isn’t necessarily considered to be an entry-level job, but eventually, an IT support analyst could work toward that position.
Information and computer systems analysts look at the IT and computer systems of an organization and typically create solutions that help ensure they’re as productive and efficient as possible. For these positions, it’s important to be able to bring together problem-solving, an understanding of business, and also an understanding of the technical elements of IT systems.
An IT support analyst will, as the name implies, provide technical and developmental support to the IT team. Within this pick for one of the entry-level high-paying jobs, the professional may receive complaints and information from other departments about the IT systems, and then they will work on strategies to remedy these issues.
IT support analysts need to be analytical, have good communication skills to explain technical issues to non-technical audiences, and they need to be problem solvers.
How to Become One
To become an IT support analyst, it’s usually going to be necessary that you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. It can also be valuable to have experience in business, although since an IT support analyst is an entry-level position, this may be something you learn on the job.
According to PayScale, IT support analysts have a median pay of around $51,000 annually. Salary ranges from $34,000 to $79,000 and many IT support analysts will work for companies that offer bonuses and attractive benefits packages, which is another reason this position is included in this list of entry-level jobs and the best-paying entry-level jobs.
Once you move beyond the entry-level position of being a support analyst and you become a computer
Image Source: Payscale
Systems Engineer (IT) Review
As mentioned, some of the best entry-level jobs and the best-paying entry-level jobs come from the IT and technical industries, and this includes the role of systems engineer. A systems engineer, ranked as one of the good entry-level jobs, requires that the professional create computer systems for clients that are efficient and free of glitches or issues. Systems engineers, one of the top entry-level jobs, are also responsible for managing hardware and software systems.
Before looking at the specifics of the systems engineer job role, one of the top entry-level jobs and entry-level careers, it should be noted that systems engineer is a general term, and it can refer to a variety of professions including civil engineers, environmental engineers, and electrical engineers. All of these could also be considered among the best-paying entry-level jobs, but for this ranking, we’re focusing on systems engineers in terms of IT.
IT systems engineers, one of the top-paying entry-level jobs, requires the creation of computer systems that operate smoothly, and while this can be considered among entry-level jobs, generally a high level of technical education is required. For example, most systems engineers have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science, and they may also have specific certifications related to both IT and engineering.
Some of the cities where systems engineers earn the most include Washington, Seattle, New York, and Austin.
Image Source: Salary.com
How to Become One
As mentioned above, with this pick for one of the best-paying entry-level jobs, professionals are usually going to be required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering, and some employers may want even more of an advanced education.
Systems engineers, particularly in terms of this being one of the entry-level careers on this list, may work in a team at a large company. If a systems engineer works at a smaller company, they may work alone.
Systems engineers need to have knowledge of computer programming languages, and when this is an entry-level position, the employee usually works under a senior network engineer or a director of IT.
It’s worth noting that this is not necessarily one of the high-paying entry-level jobs for no experience because if you don’t have at least a bachelor’s degree, you will likely need to have some work experience, perhaps in the form of an internship.
Sales Representative Review
The role of sales representative is probably one of the broadest on this list of entry-level jobs and entry-level high-paying jobs because a sales representative can work in nearly any industry. What’s unique about a sales representative versus many of the other good entry-level jobs on this ranking is the fact that you may often find employers willing to hire you without a bachelor’s degree or any level of job experience in sales.
Also unique as compared to some of the other entry-level careers and best entry-level jobs included in this ranking is the fact that when you’re a sales representative, your salary is almost entirely dependent on you.
A sales representative, while a broad term, is a professional who’s responsible for convincing someone to make a purchase. This can include direct clients, buyers, or purchasing agents. They may be selling a product or a service, and in many cases, a sales representative job requires a lot of travel, which depending on the company they’re selling for could be locally, regionally, nationally, or even internationally.
A sales representative is someone who needs to be personable, is an excellent communicator, and someone who’s comfortable in a variety of situations. Sales reps may also be required to demonstrate products and services on-site, and in addition to meeting with people to make new sales, sales representatives also have to maintain consistent relationships with their existing clients.
There are many factors that play a role in how much money someone in this pick for one of the best entry-level jobs will make. It can depend on the industry and the company the sales rep works for, whether there are opportunities for bonuses, and their personal characteristics. Location can also be important. Most sales representatives are required to meet certain sales quotas, and they’re often paid on commission, so it can be a demanding position with long hours.
How to Become One
So much of being a successful sales representative is dependent on your personality and persuasiveness, and soft skills like these typically can’t be taught. In many cases you may be able to land an entry-level position as a sales representative without a bachelor’s degree, or by having a degree in a field different than the one you’re applying to work in.
A lot of the training for an entry-level sales position is on-the-job training, and you learn as you go, which is why this position was selected as one of the high-paying entry-level jobs for no experience.
However, if you want to be a sales rep in a technical industry or the medical or pharmaceutical industries, a relevant degree may be favored by employers.
According to PayScale, the average salary for an entry-level outside sales representative is around $41,245. For the top-paying entry-level jobs in sales, it can be valuable to have some level of technical skill or expertise, since these are the fields that pay sales reps the most, generally.
Web Developer Review
Among entry-level jobs, being a web developer is one of the high-paying entry-level jobs that continues to increase in demand. As well as being called an entry-level web developer, this entry-level position may also be referred to as a “junior web developer” at some companies.
In the simplest terms, web developers are responsible for the design and creation of websites, which is why there is no sign of this pick for one of the high-paying entry-level jobs slowing down in terms of demand.
Junior web developers, one of the top entry-level high-paying jobs, can be multifaceted. It includes technical elements because these professionals are often responsible for making sure a website is able to perform properly without glitches and maintain an adequate capacity of visitors, and web developers in entry-level jobs may also be in charge of the aesthetic of a website.
According to BLS, the median annual wage for web developers was $64,970, making it one of the best-paying entry-level jobs on this ranking.
Along with being one of the best-paying entry-level jobs, the role of a junior web developer can also be advantageous because it can be flexible. Professionals may work for a company, or they may start their own company or work as a freelancer. Many web developers can work from home and create their own schedule.
Specific tasks undertaken by web developers in good entry-level jobs can include client meetings, creating website applications, writing code for websites, working with graphics and designers, and monitoring traffic, speed, and performance of a website.
How to Become One
One of the big reasons the role of web developer was included on this list of high-paying entry-level jobs and the best entry-level jobs is because you don’t have to have a high-level degree to obtain one of these entry-level jobs. You can find employment with just an associate’s degree in many cases, or in some circumstances even if you have certifications or training in programming and graphic design.
One of the most common degrees required to obtain one of these best entry-level jobs is an associate’s degree in web design. If you want to land one of the more technical web developer positions, you may need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as computer science or programming.
According to BLS, the employment for this pick for one of the best-paying entry-level jobs on this list of entry-level jobs is expected to grow 27 percent by 2024, making it one of the fastest-growing career fields.
Conclusion—Top 6 Best Entry-Level Jobs
The objective of this ranking of the best-paying entry-level jobs was to provide a broad overview of good entry-level jobs. Each of the top-paying entry-level jobs on this list of entry-level jobs is distinctive in the requirements and prerequisites generally needed, as well as the level of education and training you need.
Many of the entry-level high-paying jobs on this ranking require a bachelor’s degree, but there are also jobs such as web developer that you may be able to obtain with just some certification-based training.
Most of the entry-level high-paying jobs on this ranking of the best entry-level jobs are also expected to grow in demand in the coming years, making them excellent, sustainable options for job seekers.
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