6 High Paying Entry-Level Jobs for College Grads

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Generating some cash towards your student loan debt payments could mean adopting a new savings plan or finding new and creative ways to garner extra money in your pocket. Nothing compares, however, to a steady paycheck to bolster your finances.

For the newly minted grad looking to jumpstart their career prospects, getting hired can be difficult since those between the ages of 20 to 24 have an unemployment rate that tops 8 percent. So can landing the best paying jobs with ample room for advancement — they often depend on the field in which you earn your degree.

Here are six of the fastest growing, best paying jobs to earn you the most money at the entry level, straight out of college.

6 best paying jobs for college graduates

1. Investment banker

Average starting salary: $73,000

Arguably the highest paid job one can obtain with a bachelor’s degree (with an average median salary into the low six figures), becoming an investment banker doesn’t mean you’ll simply be crunching numbers all day. No, you’ll need to channel your inner Warren Buffett to stand among the brightest and best.

Becoming an investment banker requires a good eye for economics, math, or business, so you should have a degree in at least one of those three fields. Whether you’re Wall Street-bound or looking for a smaller-scale gig, expect a high pressure working environment and long hours protecting your clients’ funds and predicting the best investments for them.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, investment banking will have grown 10 percent between 2014 and 2024.

2. Software developer

Average starting salary: $54,000

Software developers wear many hats and can sometimes carry different titles. A new bachelor’s degree holder in a field like computer or information science, math, or engineering offers enough diversity that you could be designing video games, writing complex computer coding like C++, or developing software.

An entry-level software developer may hold the title of software engineer, and depending on the company or firm you work for, you may hold a more integral role managing the organization’s entire IT structure or support system.

Engineers are often recruited by everyone from larger companies to smaller startups. Though one drawback is a constant learning curve to stay abreast of new technologies and skills as they emerge, it’s one profession that’s future-proof against becoming obsolete. If Apple or Microsoft come calling, you can climb into a six-figure salary.

3. Actuary

Average starting salary: $65,000

What actually is an actuary? Using a combo of math, statistics, and financial theories, actuaries assess and analyze the financial consequences and outcomes associated with risk-taking business moves.

Companies — mostly insurance firms — employ actuaries when determining the rates they assess to customers. A solid mathematical education and proficiency mean you could find yourself branching out to work for the government, banks, other financial institutions, or health care organizations and hospitals.

The BLS predicts a whopping 18-percent job growth in the actuarial field by 2024.

4. Network systems administrator

Average starting salary: $62,000

When your company’s computer systems crash, who do you call? If you’re thinking of a career in software engineering or development, a computer science degree can also qualify you to become a network systems administrator, the person who gets the system back up and running.

The network admin doesn’t just fix bugs or reconnect faulty Wi-Fi connections. Your role is much more critical than that. You’ll need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to predicting and safeguarding your network against hackers, viruses, and security issues that could compromise your organization financially and professionally.

There’s a lot of responsibility attached to being in charge of an entire network (or several), such as developing proprietary firewalls and other software, as well as overseeing phone connections — thus, your starting-to-median income will show for it.

Newbie network admins can pull an initial salary in the low $60,000s as a starting engineer, but a fully fledged admin with the right technical acumen may earn closer to $100,000.

5. Engineering

Average starting salary: $53,000

An engineering degree can open up so many doors in the field that it’s a smart and financially sound career move for anyone looking to be well-compensated immediately following graduation.

Engineering students have a wide variety of concentrations to choose from: Nuclear or electrical engineers earn a median salary that tops $90,000, where you’ll have a leading role in developing processes, fixing issues, and finding solutions.

Like software development, engineering is a diverse, wide profession. Agricultural engineers, civil engineers, chemical engineers, and petroleum, aerospace, and environmental engineers are just a small sample of career choices to make.

6. Internet marketing

Average starting salary: $41,000

In a nutshell, marketing is the practice of advertising and finding opportunities to sell a product, a service, or something else of value to someone else. Internet marketing is the use of the web to broaden a company’s marketing efforts and customer base to increase its revenue and reach.

But internet marketing is more than just being a social media coordinator. A savvy marketer will need to be a branding whiz who knows instinctively how to leverage email, search engine optimization, blogs, podcasts, videos, and other outlets to maximize your company’s presence.

To start as a marketing specialist, a bachelor’s degree in marketing won’t earn much at first — only the low $40,000s — but the career and income growth can expand exponentially. (Marketing managers can take home $120,000+ annually.)

It’s one of the most secured and open-ended professions unlikely to die out, either — the internet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Research the best paying jobs

The best jobs for recent college grads don’t have to be elusive when you choose what you study wisely.

Parents and kids should talk about the costs of college to determine how much tuition may cost for that engineering or computer science degree at your school of choice. After that, research how much the job will pay upon graduation and beyond to see your earning potential.

By taking these financials into account, you’ll know what college will cost, how much to borrow in loans, and what the curriculum entails — but most importantly, what your future earnings will be to keep you ahead of your loans and out of debt.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.89% – 6.66%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.99% – 5.34%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.97% – 8.54%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of October 1, 2020.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 10/26/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


5 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 11/13/2020 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.97% to 8.54% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% to 8.77% Fixed APR with AutoPay.