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30 Highest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs

Cynthia Measom
30 Highest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs

Landing a high-paying job is an exciting prospect after you’ve spent years investing time and money into a college education. Although you can’t count on all career paths resulting in a high payoff, the jobs in these areas typically deliver.

GOBankingRates utilized Bureau of Labor Statistics data to determine the 30 highest-paying entry-level jobs using 2018 median pay levels for jobs that featured education of a bachelor’s degree or less with no related experience or on-the-job training required. Take a look at some of the career options that pay well right out of college.

30. Hydrologists

  • Median pay in 2018: $79,370
  • Typical majors: Geosciences; engineering; earth sciences

Hydrologists study and manage the water supply by measuring volume and stream flow, collecting water samples to test for pH or pollution levels and determining the environmental impacts of issues such as pollution, drought and erosion. They also forecast future water availability and evaluate the viability of certain water projects, such as wastewater treatment plants and irrigation systems.

Find Out: 20 Careers That Don’t Justify the Cost of a Degree

29. Geographers

  • Median pay in 2018: $80,300
  • Typical major: Geography

Never heard of a geographer? People with this role are scientists who study geography — basically, the planet Earth and how it relates to human society. When they aren’t in the field observing, geographers use photographs, maps and satellite images to gather geographic data. They also use GPS and remote sensing technology to collect, analyze and display geographic data. Geographers use this information to discover relationships and trends which can then be used to support economic, environmental, health or political studies. The information is also helpful for creating digital maps for government, business or general public use.

28. Network and Computer Systems Administrators

  • Median pay in 2018: $82,050
  • Typical majors: Computer science; information science

Network and computer systems administrators are tasked with designing, installing and supporting computer systems, including wide area networks and local area networks for a variety of organizations and businesses. As part of their job duties, they optimize computer systems and make upgrades and repairs as needed. They also may provide technical support to users or oversee computer support specialists who help solve user issues.

Read: The 5 Highest- and Lowest-Paying Jobs in Government

27. Radiation Therapists

  • Median pay in 2018: $82,330
  • Typical major: Radiation therapy

Radiation therapists are part of an oncology team that treats patients diagnosed with cancer. They determine what area of the patient’s body needs treatment and calibrate and operate machinery that delivers concentrated radiation therapy. They also monitor patients for adverse reactions and record detailed information about the therapy.

See: 20 Highest- and Lowest-Paying Jobs in Healthcare

 

26. Operations Research Analysts

  • Median pay in 2018: $83,390
  • Typical majors: Operations research; mathematics; statistics

Operations research analysts often work in healthcare, logistics and business fields and use simulations, predictive modeling and statistical analysis to create solutions for business problems. They also gather and analyze data from various sources, such as sales figures and customer feedback, to determine how to best proceed before advising managers and other decision-makers of their findings.

25. Computer Programmers

  • Median pay in 2018: $84,280
  • Typical majors: Computer science; computer programming

The main goal of computer programmers is to transform computer applications and software programs created by software developers and engineers into a language — such as C++ or Java — that computers can understand. Other duties include testing code for mistakes and correcting them as needed, as well as updating and expanding existing computer programs.

Check Out: High-Paying Tech Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

24. Financial Analysts

  • Median pay in 2018: $85,660
  • Typical majors: Accounting; economics; finance; statistics; mathematics

Financial analysts — aka securities or investment analysts — advise both individuals and businesses regarding investment decisions. Typical duties in this profession include evaluating financial data, studying economic trends, determining the financial value of companies and recommending individual and collective investments. Financial analysts often work in banks, securities firms and insurance companies. Some also work for the business media offering insight to investors.

23. Civil Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $86,640
  • Typical major: Civil engineering

Civil engineers plan, design and construct projects such as highways, buildings, dams, tunnels, airports and bridges. They are also tasked with maintaining these structures. Typical duties include analyzing surveys and maps to plan projects, evaluating construction costs and environmental impacts, completing and submitting required local, state and federal permits and analyzing test results related to soil and building materials.

22. Industrial Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $87,040
  • Typical major: Industrial engineering

Industrial engineers are skilled in discovering ways to streamline production processes in manufacturing, business and healthcare environments. Typical duties include gathering information about methods and activities employed in specific environments, including job performance of workers, to determine where wastefulness occurs. They also determine how to manufacture products with the highest efficiency, enact quality control procedures and design control systems so that products satisfy quality standards.

Learn: 10 Job Skills Worth Six-Figure Salaries

21. Mechanical Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $87,370
  • Typical majors: Mechanical engineering; mechanical engineering technology

Mechanical engineers are tasked with researching, designing and building a wide variety of tools, engines and machines — from batteries to steam turbines. Typical duties include analyzing problems and developing mechanical solutions, employing computer-aided technology to redesign mechanical and thermal devices, diagnosing equipment failures, testing prototypes and overseeing the manufacturing process for the equipment they design.

20. Environmental Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $87,620
  • Typical majors: Environmental engineering; civil engineering; chemical engineering; engineering

Environmental engineers develop solutions to environmental issues, such as compromised drinking water, inefficient recycling, poor waste disposal practices and air pollution. Typical duties include creating and updating environmental investigation reports, obtaining and maintaining required permits, inspecting facilities for compliance with environmental regulations, advising corporations regarding contamination cleanup and monitoring progress of environmental improvement plans and programs. If this is your career field, you might want to consider a move to Anchorage, Alaska, which has a high demand for engineering-related majors.

19. Biomedical Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $88,550
  • Typical majors: Biomedical engineering; bioengineering

Biomedical engineers are responsible for conducting clinical research, designing healthcare devices and software, and developing innovative procedures. For example, they might design artificial organs or body parts — or diagnostic machines. Some biomedical engineers might be tasked with installing, evaluating, maintaining and repairing biomedical equipment and training others on its proper use. In relation to clinical research, these professionals write technical reports, present research findings and make recommendations based on those findings to decision-makers, such as hospital management and clinicians.

18. Computer Systems Analysts

  • Median pay in 2018: $88,740
  • Typical majors: Computer science; information science; information technology; computer programming

Computer systems analysts help organizations create more productive and effective operations for their computer systems and procedures. Typical duties include analyzing the role of IT systems within an organization, determining which new or alternative technology upgrades can benefit the system and creating a cost-benefit analysis regarding proposed upgrades to help organization leaders decide if the improvements are cost-effective. A computer systems analyst who is tasked with more of an IT project manager role might also oversee the installation of the new system, customize it and run tests to ensure everything runs smoothly.

17. Health and Safety Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $89,130
  • Typical majors: Environmental health and safety; environmental engineering

Health and safety engineers use their knowledge of health and safety, as well as engineering, to develop procedures and processes to keep people and property safe from harm or damage. Typical duties include analyzing plans and specifications for equipment to ensure they meet safety standards, inspecting facilities and equipment for potential safety concerns, inspecting buildings or products to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations and reviewing employee safety procedures and recommending changes as needed. When a workplace accident occurs, these professionals are tasked with conducting a full investigation to determine how the accident occurred and whether changes need to be made to prevent a possible future incident.

Discover: 20 ‘Boring’ Jobs That Pay $100,000 or More

16. Database Administrators

  • Median pay in 2018: $90,070
  • Typical majors: Computer science; information science

Whether they oversee a pre-existing database or create an entirely new database system, database administrators are responsible for ensuring that the data is easily accessible by users. In addition, because data is often sensitive, they put systems in place to secure the information from unauthorized access. Other typical duties include backing up and restoring data, ensuring database efficiency, making modifications as needed, updating permissions and merging databases. For a job that’s not quite so ordinary, find out about high-paying jobs you didn’t know existed.

15. Geoscientists

  • Median pay in 2018: $91,130
  • Typical major: Geology

Geoscientists are involved in the study of earth and its physical attributes, which can lead to the discovery of natural resources or environmental protection and preservation initiatives. Typical duties include heading up field studies, collecting and analyzing samples, examining and documenting geologic data, creating and reading geologic maps and charts, writing research reports and presenting research findings.

14. Mining and Geological Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $92,250
  • Typical major: Geological engineering

Mining and geological engineers are responsible for designing safe and efficient mining environments for the purpose of removing coal or metal that can be used in different industries, such as manufacturing or utilities. Besides designing and supervising mine constructions, mining and geological engineers create ways to transport the minerals to processing facilities, analyze production efforts within the mine, ensure safe operating procedures and prepare technical reports for all members of the mining team.

13. Materials Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $92,390
  • Typical majors: Materials science; materials engineering

The main goal of materials engineers is to study materials — metals, plastics, composites, ceramics and other substances — to create new materials that can be effectively used in various chemical, electrical and mechanical applications. Typical duties include planning new projects, preparing cost-benefit analyses, creating and overseeing testing protocols, monitoring new material performance and troubleshooting complications.

12. Marine Engineers and Naval Architects

  • Median pay in 2018: $92,560
  • Typical majors: Marine engineering; naval architecture; mechanical engineering; electrical engineering

Marine engineers and naval architects work with a variety of ships, including tankers, submarines and aircraft carriers. Marine engineers primarily work on the internal components of the ship, whereas naval architects are responsible for ship design.

Some of the typical duties of a marine engineer include creating detailed drawings of the ship’s systems, overseeing new marine equipment installation, performing routine inspections of equipment and machinery, and conducting performance tests.

Typical duties of naval architects include establishing the size, weight and speed of ships, as well as designing the hulls and interiors. Naval architects work with marine engineers to design the layout of machinery and equipment within the ship. They also oversee docking and sea trials of the ships they design to ensure the ships conform to national and international standards.

Related: The 20 Highest-Paying Jobs That Let You Travel the World

11. Atmospheric Scientists

  • Median pay in 2018: $94,110
  • Typical major: Atmospheric science

Atmospheric scientists study how weather and climate conditions affect the human population as well as the earth. Typical duties include measuring atmospheric data, using computer modeling to analyze meteorological data, researching and reporting on weather conditions and occurrences, preparing weather forecasts using available technology, issuing warnings for severe weather and educating the public about weather safety.

10. Electrical Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $96,640
  • Typical major: Electrical engineering

Electrical engineers are responsible for all of the stages of development for various forms of electrical equipment — from the initial design to the manufacturing process. Typical duties include creating designs to improve upon current products, developing manufacturing and installation standards for each design, ensuring products meet code specifications, investigating consumer complaints and evaluating products to make corrections or improvements as needed.

9. Materials Scientists

  • Median pay in 2018: $99,800
  • Typical majors: Materials science; materials engineering

The term “materials scientist” encompasses scientists from a variety of subfields, including polymer, glass and ceramic scientists. Materials scientists are tasked with studying the structures and chemical properties of different natural and synthetic materials, including glass, metal, rubber and polymer. Their end goal is to strengthen existing materials or discover new ways to combine materials to create new products or applications.

8. Electronics Engineers, Except Computer

  • Median pay in 2018: $102,700
  • Typical major: Electrical engineering

Electronics engineers design electronic components that can be used in industrial, military or scientific applications. They are responsible for all stages of development and testing. Electronics engineers can specialize in a variety of areas including microelectronics, control systems and automation and telecommunications. Employment opportunities are available via radio and television broadcasters, civil service and government employers, and electrical utility companies.

Read: Find High-Paying Tech Jobs in These 20 Cities

7. Software Developers, Applications

  • Median pay in 2018: $103,620
  • Typical majors: Computer science; computer programming

These software developers work with computer applications software and develop software solutions to meet user needs, as well as monitor the performance of the software and modify it to meet standards. Typical duties in this profession include designing and customizing software for individual clients with a focus on efficiency. These professionals might also supervise computer programmers or design databases.

6. Chemical Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $104,910
  • Typical major: Chemical engineering

Chemical engineers solve problems in the production of products such as chemicals, food and drugs. Typical duties include researching and developing better manufacturing processes and creating and establishing safety protocols for workers who handle chemicals. They also are responsible for developing controlled chemical processes to separate gases and liquids, troubleshooting issues in the production environment and ensuring safety compliance.

5. Nuclear Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $107,600
  • Typical major: Nuclear engineering

Nuclear engineers spend their time researching to develop processes, tools and systems utilizing radioactive materials, which can be used in industrial and medical settings. Other typical duties include writing operational and safety directives for nuclear plant operation or waste disposal. They are also tasked with inspecting and monitoring nuclear plants to ensure they meet safety regulations and ordering shutdowns as necessary. Plus, they conduct tests to determine if methods for using, reclaiming or disposing of nuclear materials or waste are viable and safe.

4. Software Developers, Systems Software

  • Median pay in 2018: $110,000
  • Typical majors: Computer science; computer programming

Software developers specializing in systems software perform all stages of research, design, development and testing for systems-level software that can be used in business, military, aerospace, scientific, medical, industrial and general applications, among others. Typical duties in this career include setting operational specifications and creating and analyzing software requirements to meet user needs.

3. Computer Hardware Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $114,600
  • Typical majors: Computer engineering; electrical engineering; computer science

Computer hardware engineers design the computerized devices that are used in many different manufactured products, such as vehicles, appliances and medical devices. Typical duties include designing and developing computer equipment and hardware, as well as testing it. After analyzing the test results, these professionals will make modifications as needed. They also update existing computer hardware to accept new software.

2. Aerospace Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $115,220
  • Typical major: Aerospace engineering

Aerospace engineers are responsible for the design of missiles, aircraft, satellites and spacecraft. To make sure their designs function properly before they are manufactured, they are tasked with creating and testing prototypes. Additional duties include analyzing project proposals for feasibility, as well as evaluating that they will meet all customer requirements, environmental regulations, engineering principles and quality standards. Once products are completed, these professionals monitor their performance and inspect any products that malfunction or become damaged to determine the source of the problem and make corrections.

1. Petroleum Engineers

  • Median pay in 2018: $137,170
  • Typical majors: Petroleum engineering; civil engineering; chemical engineering; mechanical engineering

A job as a petroleum engineer is one of the highest-paid jobs on the list. The main goal of these professionals is to determine how to extract new oil and gas deposits after they are discovered or how to extract gas and oil from existing wells. Typical duties include designing tools and developing plans to recover oil and gas deposits, being on-site for the installation of oil field equipment, and evaluating oil and gas production via surveys, testing and various forms of analysis. Because only a portion of oil and gas can be recovered from deposits, these professionals are constantly striving to invent new methods to extract more of these resources.

See: Here’s the Highest-Paid Job in Your State

Getting a High-Paying Entry-Level Job

Just because you’ve earned the right degree doesn’t mean it will be easy to score these high-paying jobs. Instead, you’ll have to do a bit of legwork. Start by tapping into your college alumni network to find top-paying job opportunities. If you’re looking at job ads online, analyze each job ad for keywords that you can incorporate into your resume and cover letter. By tweaking your application materials for each job, you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed. You can also prepare for each interview by researching the company’s recent successes and future plans. Finally, locate a resource that lists the most common interview questions that you can practice answering in preparation for your interview. By following these tips, you should be able to score an interview for some of the highest-paying, entry-level jobs in your career field.

Keep reading to see blue-collar jobs that pay six figures.

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Methodology: To find the 30 jobs where you can make the most money directly out of college, GOBankingRates analyzed 85 occupations using the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 Occupational Outlook Handbook, which utilizes and categorizes the May 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. GOBankingRates analyzed all occupations 2018 median pay that featured (1) “typical entry-level education” of a Bachelor’s degree or less, (2) an “on-the-job training” value of none, and 3) “work experience in a related occupation” of zero.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 30 Highest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs