Just starting out, but disheartened by the measly pay at most entry-level positions? Daunted by the amount of time it would take you to become financially solvent and start living the life you really want?
While it pays to remain humble, realizing you’ll have to work hard to ascend any ladder, there are a few jobs out there that pay surprisingly well, even for someone just starting out.
Here are 12 primo examples.
Video Game Design – Starting Pay $60K
Love video games? DREAM CAREER. You might not even need an undergraduate degree, just design sense and coding mastery. If you’ve got both the artistic and technical merit (a hard-to-come-by combination!), you can be rewarded from the get-go, with a salary upwards of $60k.
Air Traffic Control – Starting Pay $64K
You might be resigning yourself to a career of at times excruciating stress, but the pay starts high and can more than double in the course of your career. If you’re comfortable holding hundreds of thousands of lives in the balance every day you go to work, you might be looking at as much as $64k in your first year.
Nurse Midwifery – Starting Pay $80K
Love healing? Not squeamish? Being a nurse midwife might be a great career for you. It does require an advanced degree, but it’s much less intense than full-blown med school. Plus, the starting salary is over $80k, so loans aren’t quite so daunting. The demand is extremely high; salaries will continue surging as you build your practice.
Hardware Engineering – Starting Pay $65K
Again, you have to have the skills. Computer technology is geeky, intricate, and extremely demanding. But the compensation is high. $65k will turn into closer to $100k in just a few years.
Podiatry – Starting Pay $116k
Sure, you have to get your doctorate. And not be weirded out by feet. But you might be looking at six figures in your first year of practice—more if you specialize. Your med school loans shouldn’t be a problem with that kind of cash.
Dentistry – Starting Pay $180k
Years of training, then an astronomical income. School, school, and more school, plus four years and a handful of professional exams for licensure and certification. But the money is a dream: think about $180k in the first year.
Psychiatry – Starting Pay $80k
You’ll need med school, a residency, licenses and certifications—years and years of expensive training, but you’ll make about $80k a year to start. And that will continue going up.
Actuary – Starting Pay $60k
You can make up to $60k a year at the entry level—provided you can synthesize math and statistics skills with financial theory and find work for an insurance or pension company.
Landscape Architecture – Starting Pay $60k
This is not just a fancy way of saying “gardener.” Landscape architects usually have at least one degree in the field and know a lot more than how to prune a rosebush. It’s a great career for someone who loves the outdoors and the environment, and has that extra aesthetic sense to make things beautiful. First-year salaries hover around $45k, but with bonuses usually tip the scales at $60k.
Pharmacology – Starting Pay $100k
The lady who fills your prescriptions might be just about your age, but chances are she’s making twice the money. After undergrad, there’s a four-year “PharmD” program to get through, but starting salaries are over $100k.
Market Research Analysis – Starting Pay $50k
You can easily net over $50k in your first year if you can work with numbers, patterns, trends, and work with focus groups to read markets and corporations. This job requires at least a bachelor’s degree.
Pharmaceutical Sales – Starting Pay $50k – 85k
If you’ve got charisma and can sell, it hardly matters what you’re selling. You might not even need a degree if you can supply prior (and successful) sales experience. You’ll have to travel quite frequently and memorize a bunch of scientific and financial details, but you can make between $50 and $85k right away.
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