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8 of the best entry-level jobs by industry
CareerBuilder | December 28, 2021
A good entry-level job will help you learn the right skills to advance in your career.
When you’re looking for an entry-level job, it's tempting to accept the first offer that comes your way, especially if it's your first job. Sometimes you take a position simply to build your resume and pay the bills. But it’s important to choose your job carefully. Landing a good entry-level job will give you a strong foundation upon which to build a career, so you should seek out positions in an industry you find exciting.
Of course, identifying good entry-level positions is easier said than done. There are a lot of important things to take into account: room for advancement, base pay, benefits, development opportunities, and your own work preferences. To make things a little easier, we’ve made a list of some of the best entry-level jobs, organized by industry. Note that entry-level jobs aren't necessarily jobs you can get without any qualifications. Rather, they are starting points in a given field, and may have education, certification, or job training requirements, such as a college degree.
Whether you’re a recent graduate looking for your first shot, or a more experienced worker searching for a new start in a fresh field, one of these entry-level jobs could be right for you.
8 of the top entry-level positions by industry
Transportation and material moving
This industry serves as a massive circulatory system, organizing and transporting passengers and cargo around the country and the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in this industry is expected to grow 9% by 2030.
If you're interested in the transportation and material moving industry, consider answering the call of the open road by becoming a heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver. These workers transport goods from place to place, earning good pay along the way. It's a great job for those who like to be alone with their thoughts. To be a successful entry-level candidate, you'll need to earn a high school diploma or the equivalent, like a GED, and attend professional truck driving school. All truck drivers will need to earn a commercial driver's license, or CDL, to enter the profession.
Food preparation and serving
This high growth field is expected to expand much faster than average, increasing employment by 20% from 2020 to 2030 and adding 2.3 million jobs. If you have culinary talent, this is the field for you.
You might be an artist in the kitchen, but it's unlikely that you'll walk straight into a job as a head chef. First you'll need to gain experience in the industry, perhaps as a food preparation worker. You'll report to a chef, cook, or food service manager, learning the ropes under their instruction. This role does not have any formal education requirements, but if you want to move up to a chef position someday, you should earn a high school diploma or the equivalent and consider enrolling in culinary school.
Average salary for food preparation workers: $15 per hour
This field is all about helping people maintain, improve, and manage their health. An aging population is expected to drive a 16% growth in healthcare employment by 2030, adding an estimated 2.6 million new jobs.
In particular, employment of home health aides is expected to rise an eye-popping 33%. These workers assist people who have disabilities or chronic illnesses with daily activities such as dressing. Most home health aides have a high school diploma or the equivalent, but this is not a requirement for every role. If you're interested in pursuing more education in the healthcare field, you might also consider becoming a registered nurse. These workers need to earn an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing, or attend an approved nursing program. RNs must also earn a license to enter the profession.
Average salary for home health aides: $16 per hour
Computers and information technology
We've all ended up at the help desk with a forgotten password, but the tech field goes far beyond that. Tech workers play a major role in virtually every industry. The field is expected to grow at the faster-than-average rate of 13 percent, putting IT professionals in high demand at a variety of companies. If you understand the phrase "programming languages" or have a list of ideas for new mobile apps, you'll probably feel at home in IT.
If the ever-changing tech industry appeals to you, you could excel in software development. These tech experts create and maintain the applications and software programs that keep a business running. You'll need to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field to get a job as a software developer, though some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree.
Average salary for software developers: $111,000 per year
Business and finance
An analytical mind and entrepreneurial spirit will serve you well in the world of business and finance, which is expected to grow by 8 percent. This field includes an incredibly diverse range of positions, from accountants to human resources specialists, offering you a variety of career tracks.
A vital part of any marketing department, these workers earn bachelor's degrees and develop strong analytical and communication skills, using data analysis to predict consumer needs. If you're interested in telling a story through numbers, we've got good news for you: this role is expected to balloon by 2030, with a growth rate of 22 percent that leaves the average job outlook in the dust. The BLS Occupational Handbook explains this increased need like this: "(The) increasing usage of data and market research in order to understand customers and product demand, and to evaluate marketing strategies, will lead to growing demand for market research analysts."
Workers in this industry, such as attorneys, are experts in the minute details of the law. Some work in the court system or in private law practices, while others work for businesses on internal legal services teams.
Paralegals often work in law firms to support lawyers by maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents, among other tasks. The field is expected to grow at a faster rate than most professions, at a rate of 12 percent. Paralegals need an associate's degree, a certificate in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree.
Average salary for paralegals: $64,000
Retail workers assist customers with purchase decisions and transactions in stores. While the rise of e-commerce has impacted the retail industry, this field still offers hundreds of thousands of new jobs each year.
Working as a cashier is a great way to build invaluable transferable skills that will serve you in a variety of roles, particularly for young people and recent graduates who don't have much of a work history yet. You'll hone communication and interpersonal skills, sales abilities, and problem-solving skills. While employment for cashiers is in decline, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects some 546,900 new cashier jobs each year through 2030.
Average salary for cashiers: $12 per hour
Start your career right with an entry-level job
Getting an entry-level job is a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of an industry. You'll build resume skills, meet new people, gain work experience, and, with hard work and a little luck, unlock your growth potential. Prove yourself, and you could get a promotion, earn higher pay, and take the next steps toward your ultimate career goals.
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