It’s that time of year again when your social feed is filled with pictures of smiling graduates and you’re reminded that yes, you, too, were once a student. Or, maybe we’re being presumptuous. Perhaps you currently are a student and you’re looking at said photos with the kind of envy that only current students facing yet another year of studies can feel. Whatever the case, graduation season is also the start of the job-hunting season and it’s an opportune time to scan across industries to see which have the highest-paying entry-level jobs.
We’ll admit that in an ideal world, we all take on jobs based purely on personal fulfillment. But it’s always at least worth considering a career that helps pay off your student loan debt and helps you reach your financial goals faster. And if you can find a job that both fulfills you and pays you well? All the better.
No matter where you are on your educational journey, these are some highest-paying entry-level jobs out there that pay dividends.
If you’re looking for work with a high school or associate’s degree, consider…
Becoming an engineering technician
For individuals who like to tinker around, careers in electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering are a good place to start and the base pay isn’t too shabby, either. Careers in these fields generally require an associate’s degree and further on-the-job training. According to data from the financial site Money Under 30, the base pay for electrical engineers is around $62K.
Becoming a registered nurse
You’ve probably already heard that healthcare is a growing industry, but you don’t need to attend medical school in order to reap the benefits. To be a registered nurse, you usually only need to earn an associate’s degree and get licensed. (Check the licensing requirements in your state, as they vary.) Do that and you’ll be on your way to making more than $68K, according to Money Under 30.
Becoming a dental hygienist
Another high-paying field without a high barrier to entry is dental hygiene. As with nursing, you have to work on your associate’s degree and toward getting licensed. Once you’ve achieved that, you’ll be looking at a general pay of $72K, according to Money Under 30.
If you’re looking for work with a bachelor’s degree, consider…
Becoming a management consultant
Management consultants generally help companies improve their efficiency. Consulting is a field that people from all different backgrounds can break into and no licensing is required. Still, you’ll be looking at looking a high entry-level salary range, from $72K per year to $132,000, according to the financial site Study Breaks.
Becoming a business operations manager
U.S. News and World Report ranks being a business operations manager #5 in its “best business jobs” category and #20 in the highest-paying jobs in the United States. Companies of all sizes need operations managers to help strategize and implement operations policies specific to their companies. This role requires the ability to communicate across departments, but has high earning potential. In 2016, the median-level salary for business operations managers was $99,310 and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects more job openings in the coming years.
Becoming a commercial real estate loan officer
For recent graduates, a career as a real estate loan officer might pay off. According to a recent study by GoBankingRates.com, commercial real estate loan officers have an average median salary of around $76K a year. Officers work on the loan process for commercial properties and generally find success in major cities.
If you’re looking for work with a master’s or other advanced degree, consider…
Anesthesiologists hold the top-ranking spot on the U.S. News and World Report’s scorecard of the best paying jobs. According to the report, the median salary for anesthesiologists in 2016 was $208K, and the average pay was $269,600. It’s worth noting, however, that it takes years to become a licensed anesthesiologist. Think: medical school, followed by a 1-year internship, a 3-year residency, and possibly another fellowship.
Becoming a physician assistant
If you like working with patients, being a physician assistant might just be what you’re looking for. Physician assistants diagnose patients, assist in surgeries, and guide patients through their recovery plans, but are required by law to practice under the supervision of a licensed physician or doctor. Most people in the field have a bachelor’s degree followed by hands-on training provided by a two-year master’s program. The median salary for a physician assistants is just above $100K a year, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Becoming a software engineer
Software engineering was the most-applied-to line of work for recent graduates, according to CNBC. People entering the field make around $92K per year, according to estimates from LinkedIn. Graduates looking for work are likely to find it in the computer systems design industry and with software publishers, according to U.S. News and World Report.