8 of the best entry-level jobs by industry

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If you're just starting out in your career, try one of these entry-level careers, with high growth potential, good pay and advancement opportunities.

When you’re looking for your first job out of school, it can be tempting to accept the first offer that comes your way; however, it’s important to choose your first job carefully. Landing a good entry-level job will give you a strong foundation upon which to build a career. A good entry-level job will help you learn the right skills for advancement and can propel you to success at a faster rate than settling for something just to pay the bills.

Of course, identifying a good entry-level job is easier said than done. It’s important to take into account factors like room for advancement, base pay, benefits, and learning and development opportunities. To make it even easier for you, we’ve provided a list of some of the best entry-level jobs by industry, with good pay and high growth.

Engineering: Civil engineer

As long as there is demand for the construction of dams, bridges, buildings and other structures, society will need civil engineers, who conceive, design and oversee infrastructure projects in the public and private sector. In addition to the high demand, a job in civil engineering pays well, and because the field is so vast, there are a number of specialized areas where one can focus based on personal interest.

Median annual pay for a Civil Engineer is $84,770, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Fastest Growing Occupations, and projected growth (from 2016 to 2026) is faster than average, at 11 percent.

Finance: Financial analyst

Someone who is good with numbers is valuable. Someone who can understand what those numbers mean and report on potentials and data has a bright future. Financial analysts offer guidance to independent investors and companies. While financial analysts can be personal business owners, a good entry-level position would be working in a company where you could make connections and network.

Median annual pay for a Financial Analyst is $84,300, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Fastest Growing Occupations, and projected growth (from 2016 to 2026) is at a faster-than-average 11 percent.

Health care: Registered nurse

Flexible scheduling, ample pay and plenty of opportunities for advancement make nursing one of the best entry-level positions out there. There are many paths to becoming a nurse, and many go one of three routes: getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing, getting an associate’s degree in nursing, or getting a diploma from an approved nursing program. Once you’re licensed, you can choose to work in a variety of environments, from hospitals, physicians’ offices or nursing care facilities to outpatient clinics, schools or even the military.

Median annual pay for a Registered Nurse is $70,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Fastest Growing Occupations, and projected growth (from 2016 to 2026) is much faster than average, at 15 percent.

Information technology: Database administrator

If you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject, consider entry-level work as a database administrator. As data grows, so does the need for these professionals, which means you will be in demand and compensated nicely. Database administrators use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They’re the ones making sure an organization’s data is protected from unauthorized access.

Median annual pay for a Database Administrator is $87,020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Fastest Growing Occupations, and projected growth (from 2016 to 2026) is at a faster-than-average 11 percent.

Information technology: Computer systems analyst

Another option if you want to go into IT, where professionals are in high demand and opportunities are growing rapidly, is a computer systems analyst. While many of these individuals have bachelor’s degrees in computer or information science, many firms hire individuals with business or liberals arts degrees and skills in IT or computer programming. Computer systems analysts (sometimes called systems architects) find ways to help companies operate more efficiently and effectively by studying their current computer system and procedures.

Median annual pay for a Computer Systems Administrator is $88,270, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Fastest Growing Occupations, and projected growth (from 2016 to 2026) is a healthy 9 percent.

Legal: Paralegal

The high demand for paralegals isn’t dying down anytime soon. While most paralegals have at least an associate’s degree or certificate in legal studies, that’s not necessarily a requirement. In fact, many employers hire college graduates with a bachelor’s degree and train them on the job. Paralegals often work in law firms to support lawyers by maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research and drafting documents, among other tasks.

Median annual pay for a Paralegal or Legal Assistant is $50,410, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Fastest Growing Occupations, and projected growth (from 2016 to 2026) is 15 percent - much faster than average.

Marketing: Public relations specialists

Almost any time you hear about a company doing something innovative, unique or philanthropic, there is usually a public relations specialist behind it. Public relations specialists work on the behalf of companies or individuals to create and maintain a positive public image. This entails speaking with media, putting out press releases and using social media to raise brand awareness and shape the public’s perception of their client.

Median annual pay for a Public Relations Specialist is $59,300, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Fastest Growing Occupations, and projected growth (from 2016 to 2026) is a healthy 9 percent.

Marketing: Market research analyst

If numbers are infinitely exciting to you, a good entry-level position in the marketing department is that of analyst. Marketing departments are seeing an increased need to be able to understand the customer data in performance campaigns. Market research analysts study market conditions to help companies understand what consumers want and what they’re willing to pay for it.

Median annual pay for a Market Research Analyst is $62,230, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Fastest Growing Occupations, and projected growth (from 2016 to 2026) is 23 percent - much faster than average.

No matter what entry-level position you choose, the most important things to keep in mind are room for advancement, acquiring skills and adding to your network. If you can come out of your first entry-level position with a great skill set, a few good references and an understanding of your career and work preferences, you had a successful first job.