10 High-Paying Entry-Level Jobs

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high paying entry level jobs

In today's competitive job market, it can be hard to imagine that there are jobs that pay well but don't require years of experience. But many sectors offer high-paying entry-level jobs that are appealing to mid-career changers or recent college graduates (who are likely eager to get out from under a mound of student loan debt).

With the help of PayScale.com, a salary data and software company, AOL Jobs has compiled a list of 10 careers that offer high salaries to entry-level workers -- those who have been on the job for two years or less. Many of them require a college degree, but there are exceptions. (Note: The jobs listed below are a sampling of highly paid entry-level jobs and not a comprehensive, ranked list.)

Check out the list below and tell us what you think. And if you have other suggestions for great-paying entry-level jobs, let us know.

Merchandise Planner (plans, directs and coordinates the activities of buyers, purchasing officers and others involved in buying materials, products and services):

  • Median Annual Pay: $51,400.*
  • Degree: Bachelor's (merchandising, marketing, business or finance).**

Find a job as a merchandise planner.

Forensic Accountant (examines tax and business records for accuracy and irregularities):

  • Median Annual Pay: $51,400.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (accounting or finance -- certification may be required).

Find a job as a forensic accountant.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative (provides drug information and product samples to physicians and monitors prescribing patterns of physicians in a designated geographic area):

  • Median Annual Pay: $52,900.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (pharmaceutical science, pharmacology, toxicology or related fields).

Find a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative.

Power Plant Operator (controls systems that generate and distribute electric power, which may include shift work):

  • Median Annual Pay: $54,400.
  • Degree: High school diploma.

Find a job as a power plant operator.

Network Security Analyst (plans, installs and monitors security measures that protect computer networks and information):

  • Median Annual Pay: $55,700.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (information technology, mathematics or computer science).

Find a job as a network security analyst.

Software Developer (creates operating systems or applications for computers and other devices):

  • Median Annual Pay: $58,200.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (computer science).

Find a job as a software developer.

Actuarial Assistant (assists with setting insurance premium rates and performing related data research):

  • Median Annual Pay: $58,400.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (mathematics, actuarial science, statistics or finance).

Find a job as an actuarial assistant.

Investment Banking Analyst (provides financial services, investment advice and banking products to wealthy individuals and institutions):

  • Median Annual Pay: $69,100.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (business or finance).

Find a job as an investment banking analyst.

Business Technology Analyst (helps to improve business performance through the use of information technology):

  • Median Annual Pay: $69,900.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (business, information technology or computer science).

Find a job as an business technology analyst.

Petroleum Engineer (designs and develops methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth's surface and from older wells using novel methods):

  • Median Annual Pay: $87,600.
  • Degree: Bachelor's (engineering, preferably petroleum engineering).

Find a job as a petroleum analyst.

*Wages show are for full-time U.S. workers with 0 to 2 years of experience.
**Degrees shown are those typically held by workers for a specific occupation.

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