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10 jobs that pay beginners well

Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder Writer

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Not all incomes are equal. A surgeon, a retail clerk and a high school teacher don't earn the same amount. Even within each occupation, salaries vary based on experience, training and location.

One expectation that many people have is that workers new to the professional world won't make much money. Consider the stereotype that new college graduates have to move back in with their parents because they can't afford to support themselves. The stereotype isn't entirely unfounded. Walk into the apartments of most 20-somethings and you'll see bare walls and furniture that was probably passed down from someone else. Tight budgets are just a part of starting your professional life.

As with all things, there are exceptions. Not every new worker is trying to earn enough to pay the bills. Some fresh-faced workers earn more than most Americans ever will.

While the majority of newbies shouldn't expect to see big numbers on their pay stubs, others should. Author Laurence Shatkin's book "250 Best-Paying Jobs" highlights the careers with the best salaries. Included in the 250 best-paying jobs are careers that offer large salaries from the start.

"Within these occupations, the workers who earn at the 10th percentile -- meaning that 90 percent of the workers in the occupation earn more than they do -- still earn at least $51,540," Shatkin says. "This means they earn more than 75 percent of all American wage-earners."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for all workers is $44,410. So an entry-level worker who is earning $51,540 or more is arguably off to an impressive financial start.

Whether you want to switch careers and enter a new industry or you're just curious who's racking up the cash more quickly than you, here are 10 of the careers Shatkin highlights in the book that pay newbies very well:

1. Airline pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers
Starting wage:
 $55,330*
Median wage: $103,210**

2. Chemical engineers
Starting wage:
 $53,730
Median wage: $90,300

3. Computer and information scientists, research
Starting wage:
 $57,480
Median wage: $100,660

4. Education administrators, elementary and secondary school
Starting wage:
 $55,580
Median wage: $86,970

5. Financial managers
Starting wage:
 $53,860
Median wage: $103,910

6. Lawyers
Starting wage:
 $54,460
Median wage: $112,760

7. Mathematicians
Starting wage:
 $53,570
Median wage: $99,380

8. Nuclear engineers
Starting wage:
 $68,300
Median wage: $99,920

9. Orthodontists
Starting wage:
 $100,980
Median wage: $166,400

10. Prosthodontists
Starting wage:
 $72,710
Median wage: $118,400

*Starting salary figures based on data pulled from the book "250 Best-Paying Jobs."

**Median salary figures based on May 2010 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Bing: How to negotiate a higher starting salary

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/abalderrama.



Last Updated: 18/11/2011 - 3:38 PM


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