Compensation is a top concern when looking for a new job or starting in a new career. Regardless of career stage, salary can mean the difference between making ends meet and struggling financially.
While most see their compensation increase with their age and years of experience, some industries offer high salaries right out of the gate to fresh grads and entry-level employees.
These workers start with the salaries others end their careers with; they also have the potential, in some cases, to earn twice their starting pay as they advance in their fields.
StartClass wanted to see which professions offer the highest salaries to entry-level workers. Looking at over 800 professions, we’ve narrowed down the top 29 entry-level jobs that pay the most (starting at over $66,000). We’ve noted the entry-level salaries for various specializations within the given industry, as well as the average annual salary for all experience levels.
29 highest-paying entry level jobs
29. Computer hardware engineers
Computer hardware engineers earn $66,723 on average as entry-level workers. With the potential to nearly double their salaries as they advance in this industry, these engineers peak around $112,746 in annual compensation.
28. Airline pilots, copilots and flight attendants
These air transportation workers earn an entry-level salary of $68,679 on average. Their salary potential nearly doubles as they advance in their careers, averaging $128,786 near retirement.
27. Aerospace engineers
This one might be more obvious. Aerospace engineers earn a starting salary of $68,939 on average. Those in late stages of their careers earn $114,598, on average.
26. Physician assistants
These health care practitioners earn starting salaries of $71,018. Increases, however, in this field are more mild, with experienced physician assistants earning $107,582 on average.
These physical scientists earn entry salaries of $71,046 on average. They also enjoy a high growth potential, with senior-level physicists earning nearly $146,000.
24. Computer and information research scientists
There’s a more modest growth potential in salary for computer and information research scientists. The starting pay is $71,501 on average, but senior employees average $120,478—an increase of just under $50,000.
23. Nurse practitioners
Similarly to computer and information research scientists, nurse practitioners see just a $33,000 increase on average between their starting and ending salaries. The starting pay for this role is $72,744 on average.
22. Computer and information system managers
Computer and information system managers start with entry-level salaries of $73,094. These managers enjoy earnings north of $125,000 as they advance in their careers.
21. Air traffic controllers
You might take them for granted when you’re en route to your destination, but air traffic controllers earn high entry-level salaries. Starting at $74,407 on average, their earning potential climbs to nearly $125,000.
20. Nurse midwives
Nurse midwives earn $74,485 on average in entry-level roles. Salaries for this position top out at $106,111 on average for senior employees.
19. Natural sciences managers
Those who pursue management roles in the natural sciences industry will receive a starting salary of $75,303 on average. Those with more experience receive salaries of $126,737 annually, on average.
18. Chief executives
The role of chief executive isn’t something many obtain right out of college (save for prodigies and entrepreneurs). Those beginning their executive careers, however, receive salaries of $75,917 to start. Senior chief executives earn $193,496 on average in salary compensation.
This dental specialization focuses on the replacement of teeth. Dentists with this specialization earn $76,283 for entry-level roles. Those with more experience earn nearly $100,000 more, averaging $175,620.
16. Nuclear engineers
As to be expected, nuclear engineers have a technical background that necessitates a high salary. Entry-level workers earn $76,655 to start, while senior employees earn $120,942 on average in this field.
Specialists of feet, podiatrists earn $76,944 in starting salary. Like prosthodontists, podiatrists can earn nearly $100,000 more than their starting pay over the course of their careers.
Read more: 9 keys to online resume success
14. Petroleum engineers
Petroleum engineers are the highest-earning entry-level engineers. Earning $78,605 to start, these workers enjoy a high growth potential, averaging $157,520 in advanced roles.
13. Architectural and engineering managers
Managers in architectural and engineering fields start with a high salary of $85,726. Those who advance in their careers earn $138,668.
Dentists have a high growth potential as they advance in their experience. Starting already high at $93,187, experienced dentists average $195,804 in annual salary.
The workers who supply you with medicine start off with high salaries. Earning $95,682 to start, the earnings potential is meek—senior employees earn $129,908, only about $35,000 more than when they started.
The physician who puts you under before an operation or procedure, anesthesiologists earn $103,171 starting salaries and virtually double their income as they advance. Senior anesthesiologists earn $205,817.
Orthodontists are paid handsomely to make smiles beautiful. These dental professionals earn $104,120 to start and can earn as much as $232,848 on average later in their careers.
Psychiatrists earn high starting salaries of $104,288 when they begin their careers. This income can double as they advance in their experience and years.
7. Internists, general
These doctors specialize in internal medicine. Their salaries are high, but are beat out by those of five other health care specialists. Internists earn $109,115 as entry-level doctors, advancing to earn $221,944.
Read more: 8 interview tips to land that new job
6. Obstetricians and gynecologists
Those who specialize in female reproductive health and the development of babies earn high starting salaries. Entry-level doctors in this specialization earn $110,716, while experience lends to earnings north of $226,000.
5. Family and general practitioners
General practitioners earn even more than many specialized doctors. Starting at $111,428, their earning potential is up to $214,758—over a $100,000 increase.
4. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
These mouth surgeons earn the highest entry-level pay of dentists. At $112,465, it’s a solid start toward future earnings of $228,020 in the profession.
Pediatricians enjoy high salaries and the joys that come with working with children each day. They earn $112,518 to start, and their earnings can climb to $203,817.
2. Nurse anesthetists
While nurse anesthetists earn more than anesthesiologists to start, at $114,390, their growth potential is less. Compared to senior-level anesthesiologist pay of $205,817, pay for these nurses hits a high of $180,121 on average.
A lucrative career, entry-level surgeons earn the highest starting pay of $115,425 when they finally emerge from medical school and residency. The potential for growth is big, with seasoned surgeons and physicians earning nearly $229,272 with more seniority.
Read more at StartClass.com.