The best entry-level jobs go to those with a marketable skill. Some companies want people with technical skills, especially in math and computers. But many are looking for people with social skills in communications, leadership, and team-building.
Entry-level jobs typically require two years of school or less. In our list of the 25 best entry-level jobs, we looked for
- personally rewarding jobs that also
- provide a good salary,
- have good projected employment growth,
- provide career advancement opportunities, and
- require only a certificate,
- or else an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
The jobs are listed in alphabetical order. We urge that you scroll through the entire list to see if there’s a job here that fits you.
ASSISTANT ACTUARIAL ANALYST
What they do: In the field of insurance, assistant actuarial analysts use mathematics and statistics to estimate the possibility and cost of claims associated to death, injury, illness, or property damage in order for an insurance company to cover its expenses and stay profitable. They also help decide the premium. Some assistant actuarial analysts work for private or public employers to manage risk for pension plans and programs such as Social Security.
Education requirements: A degree is not required; however, many companies prefer to hire people with an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, and who have good computer skills.
What they do: Biomedical engineers have improved and saved lives throughout the world through their innovations. They develop devices and procedures to solve health- and medical-related problems. They help develop and improve a wide array of medical instruments and device,s including kidney machines, heart valves, and lasers used in eye surgery. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a whopping 23-percent employment growth from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Education requirements: Most biomedical engineer entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering or a related subject.
Median Salary: $85,620 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
What they do: Civil engineers build and oversee the infrastructure which allows societies to function. They plan, design, and oversee the construction of bridges, highways, water treatment systems, and other types of structures. Some civil engineers are involved in urban renewal and community planning. Most civil engineers specialize in one area. After gaining experience, they can seek supervisory or administrative positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts an 8-percent employment growth for civil engineers from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than average for all occupations.
Education requirements: Many civil engineer entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.
Median Salary: $83,540 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
CIVIL ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN
What they do: Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers with planning and overseeing the construction of a variety of projects. Some civil engineering technicians are involved in urban renewal and community planning. They also inspect the site during the construction process to make sure the work is following the building plans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 5-percent employment growth for civil engineering technicians from 2014 to 2024.
Education requirements: Most jobs require at least an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology or in engineering technology.
Median Salary: $49,980 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
COMPUTER HARDWARE ENGINEER
What they do: Computer hardware engineer is a good job for people who are creative and analytical problem solvers. They create new technologies and improve on existing technology. Computer hardware engineers, also known as hardware engineers, design and develop computer hardware, such as circuit boards, chips, and computer systems, as well as related equipment such as keyboards, routers, and printers. They’re involved with equipment used for commercial, industrial, scientific, and military purposes.
Education requirements: Some computer hardware engineer jobs only require a bachelor’s degree. Popular degrees are in systems engineering, computer engineering, and computer science.
Median Salary: $115,080 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
COMPUTER SUPPORT SPECIALIST
What they do: If you enjoy working with today’s sophisticated technology, then a computer support specialist job is worthy of your consideration. They provide technical assistance to employees and customers for a variety of computer issues. They play an important role in any office that uses computers on a daily basis. They help ensure a computer system runs smoothly. The widespread and expanding adoption of new technology will continue to create demand for people who can provide technical assistance.
Education requirements: The education requirements for computer support specialist positions vary; however, many employers prefer to hire people with some college education. For some positions, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems is required. Some jobs may only require a computer-related associate’s degree. For some positions, computer experience and certifications may suffice. Completing certification training programs offered by product manufacturers and vendors may increase your chances of obtaining an entry-level position.
Median Salary: $52,160 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
What they do: Environmental engineers design systems and solutions related to protecting the environment. They try to improve water, air, and land resources. They design infrastructure to reduce environmental hazards and promote health. They usually work on large projects, including waste management, pollution control, and water treatment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 12-percent employment growth for environmental engineers from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
Education requirements: Many environmental engineer entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related subject.
Median Salary: $84,890 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN
What they do: Working with engineers and scientists, environmental engineering technicians take care of a variety of tasks to prevent dangerous materials from degrading the environment. Environmental engineering technicians survey the effects pollution has on the environment. They also test, inspect, operate, and decontaminate an array of equipment used to control and remediate environmental pollution. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts an impressive 10-percent employment growth from 2014 to 2024.
Education requirements: Most environmental engineering technicians have an associate’s degree in a subject such as environmental engineering technology, hazardous materials, information systems technology or environmental technology. These programs are available at vocational schools and community colleges.
Median Salary: $49,170 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
HEALTH DATA ANALYST
What they do: In the booming healthcare field, health data analysts help design, produce, and analyze health data reports and computer applications and procedures. Due to the recent emphasis on electronic health records, the healthcare industry is relyng more and more on data, making health data analysts vital. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 15-percent employment growth through 2024 for health information technicians, including data analysts, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Education requirements: Most health data analyst entry-level jobs require an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in health information technology or in a related subject. A bachelor’s degree is often preferred. A strong background in computer sciences is helpful. The certification provided by the American Health Information Management Association recognizes expertise and validates specialized competence.
Median Salary: $38,040 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians with no degree).
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What they do:Tax examiners review a company’s fiscal reporting system and make sure the company adheres to Internal Revenue Service guidelines, as well state and local directives.
Education requirements: Many companies prefer to hire people who have a degree in accounting, taxation, or auditing.
What they do: Landscape architects use their technical skills and creative talent to create functional, attractive outdoor settings. They use natural elements such as bushes, trees, and land to create attractive environments for buildings, highways, shopping centers, parks, residential areas, and other types of settings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 5-percent job growth for landscape architects from 2014 to 2024, which is average for all occupations.
Education requirements: Many landscape architects have a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. However, some landscape architects have a master’s degree.
Median Salary: $63,480 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
What they do: Logisticians are the unsung heroes of global commerce. They ensure that merchandise moves properly and speedily across the world. Logistics has become a boardroom issue; companies are looking for people to make improvements in supply-chain management and to lower costs. Logisticians are responsible for the complete life cycle of a product, including acquisition, distribution, internal allocation, and delivery, as well as the final disposal of resources.
Education requirements: Many entry-level jobs require a degree in logistics, supply-chain management, industrial engineering, or business studies.
MARKET RESEARCH ANALYST
What they do: Market research analysts research what types of products customers want, as well as what types of people will purchase products, and at what price. They also determine the demand for potential products and services. After gaining experience by assisting others, they obtain their own projects.
Education requirements: Typically, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for an entry-level job as a market research analyst.
What they do: Multimedia animators use computers to create characters, special effects, and landscapes for much of the media people consume. With creativity and imagination, multimedia animators produce images and special effects for movies, cartoons, television shows, websites, mobile technologies, computer games, commercials, and more.
Education requirements: There are no specific education requirements; however, most employers prefer candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The jobs with more responsibility and higher pay typically require a bachelor’s degree. Degrees are available in subjects such as media design, multimedia, computer animation, graphic design, video and animation production, and multimedia design and development.
NETWORK SYSTEMS AND DATA COMMUNICATIONS ANALYST
What they do: Information technology is vital to many companies because it transmits, stores, and analyzes information. Network systems and data communications analysts help companies store and share information via computer systems and networks, such as computer databases and the Internet. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 8-percent employment growth for network systems and data communications analysts from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Education requirements: Many entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, such as computer science.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT
What they do: The job of occupational therapist assistant is a good fit for people who have a passion for helping people. They’re part of a team which helps improve the lives of clients with physical, mental, emotional, and developmental impairments and disabilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 40-percent job growth for occupational therapist assistants from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. You’ll need a graduate degree to become an occupational therapist.
Education requirements: Employers typically prefer candidates with an occupational therapy assistant associate’s degree or a one-year certificate in the subject.
Median Salary: $56,070 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
What they do: Paralegals perform many of the tasks lawyers perform; however, they’re prohibited from performing duties regarded as within the scope of the practice of law. They’re an integral part of a legal team. Some of their most important tasks include helping lawyers get prepared for trials, closings, hearings, and corporate meetings. Paralegals also perform research. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a high 8-percent job growth from 2014 to 2024, which is slightly above average for all occupations.
Education requirements: Community colleges and vocational schools offer paralegal associate’s degrees. People who already have a college degree can get a certificate in paralegal studies. A small number of schools provide bachelor’s and master’s degrees in paralegal studies.
What they do: Petroleum engineers design methods for extracting oil and gas reserves from deposits below the earth. After the deposits have been discovered they work with geologists and other specialists to determine the drilling methods. They also monitor drilling and production operations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts an 10 percent employment growth for petroleum engineers from 2014 to 2024.
Education requirements: They typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Some schools provide a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering.
Median Salary: $128,240 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
PHARMACEUTICAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE
What they do: Pharmaceutical sales representatives spend a lot of time talking to hospital personnel, pharmacists, doctors, and staff members of retirement homes in order to increase the visibility of the company’s products and increase sales. The job rewards persistence, assertiveness, and knowledge.
Education requirements: Most jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Employees get on-the-job training.
Median Salary: $60,530 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, for Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives)
PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSISTANT
What they do: Physical therapy assistants help improve the quality of life of patients. They help physical therapists provide care to patients who have limited use of their body due to injury or a disability. Physical therapy assistants provide exercise and instruction, as well as therapeutic methods such as mechanical traction, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound. They also provide massages and gait and balance training. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 40-percent job growth for physical therapists assistants from 2014 to 2024.
Education requirements: Most physical therapist assistants have completed a physical therapy assistant associate’s degree program. Most states require physical therapist assistants to have an associate’s degree. They’ll need a graduate degree to become a physical therapist.
Median Salary: $45,290 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
What they do: Purchasing agents buy items and services for a company, including finished products, parts, and raw materials for manufacturing. They ensure the company has the goods and services it requires to operate efficiently. When making purchases, balancing quality with cost is a major consideration.
Education requirements: Most employers prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree.
What they do: Registered nurses treat and educate patients. They also help prevent disease. If you’re seeking a personally and financially rewarding job, a registered nurse position is worthy of your consideration. Nursing also provides good job security. There are a variety of specialties to choose from. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 16-percent employment growth for registered nurses from 2014 to 2024.
Education requirements: You can become a registered nurse with just an associate’s degree in nursing and then advance in your career by acquiring a bachelor’s degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you’re allowed to take an accelerated BSN program which can be completed in from 12 to 18 months.
Median Salary: $68,450 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
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What they do: From video games to missile systems to the iPhone, software engineers create software for today’s computational devices. They both develop and design software, including business applications, network control systems, operating systems, and middleware. Their tasks evolve quickly due to changes in technology and new areas of specialization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 17-percent employment growth for software engineers from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Education requirements: Many positions require just a bachelor’s degree. Some of the complex jobs require a master’s degree. They typically obtain a degree in software engineering, computer science, or mathematics.
What they do: Web developers translate a company’s marketing or informational content into an effective, functional website. They create and edit images and graphics. Talented web designers are in demand.
Education requirements: Many employers prefer web designers with formal education and training. Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in web design, as well as diplomas and certificates, are available. A degree or certificate can increase your chances of getting a web designer position.
Median Salary: $66,130 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)
WIND TURBINE TECHNICIAN
What they do: Wind turbine technicians are part of the growing field of alternative energy. They inspect and repair wind turbines for electrical, hydraulic, and other problems. They also perform maintenance on the equipment. Some wind turbine technicians help assemble and construct wind turbines. They play a vital role in the alternative energy industry.
Education requirements: Many employers require an associate’s degree; some employers also want certification. Some community colleges and technical schools offer programs with names such as wind energy and turbine technology, wind energy technology, wind energy technician, renewable energy technology, renewable electricity technician, and wind turbine technician.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 108-percent employment growth for software engineers from 2014 to 2024, making it among the fastest growing occupations.
Median Salary: $52,260 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016)