Careers

The 15 best high-paying entry-level jobs

An aerospace engineer works on a plane.
Monty Rakusen | Getty Images
An aerospace engineer works on a plane.

While your first job might not be your forever job, it could be the basis for your future salary.

Especially for entry-level employees, who think they need to accept whatever number is offered, failing to negotiate a higher salary could impede earnings for years to come.

So when personal finance site WalletHub released a ranking of the best and worst entry-level jobs, shedding light on positions that will set you up for new opportunities, salary growth and long-term success, CNBC decided to highlight the jobs that offer the highest pay.

WalletHub compared 109 entry-level positions, focusing on three main factors: immediate opportunity (40 percent), growth potential (40 percent) and job hazards (20 percent). Within these categories, each job was ranked on 12 metrics, including median starting salary, projected job growth by 2014 and income growth potential.

When sorting the list by salary, engineering and other STEM jobs dominate. High-paying positions in law make a strong showing near the top as well.

These are the 15 best high-paying entry level jobs:

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Getty Images

15. Software engineer

Median starting salary: $64,573
Median annual salary: $100,690
Overall rank: 8
Growth potential rank: 22

14. Civil engineer

Median starting salary: $65,232
Median annual salary: $83,540
Overall rank: 52
Growth potential rank: 21

13. Network engineer

Median starting salary: $65,277
Median annual salary: $101,210
Overall rank: 16
Growth potential rank: 6

12. Hardware engineer

Median starting salary: $65,991
Median annual salary: $115,080
Overall rank: 42
Growth potential rank: 41

Electrician Electrical Engineer
Joho | Cultura RM | Getty Images

11. Electrical engineer

Median starting salary: $66,026
Median annual salary: $94,210
Overall rank: 5
Growth potential rank: 38

10. Systems engineer

Median starting salary: $68,127
Median annual salary: $84,310
Overall rank: 2
Growth potential rank: 32

9. Electronics engineer

Median starting salary: $68,732
Median annual salary: $99,210
Overall rank: 9
Growth potential rank: 24

8. Aerospace engineer

Median starting salary: $69,735
Median annual salary: $109,650
Overall rank: 15
Growth potential rank: 19

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Keith Douglas | Getty Images

7. Geophysicist

Median starting salary: $71,721
Median annual salary: $89,780
Overall rank: 44
Growth potential rank: 55

6. Chemical engineer

Median starting salary: $71,842
Median annual salary: $98,340
Overall rank: 10
Growth potential rank: 13

5. Employment law attorney

Median starting salary: $83,142
Median annual salary: $118,160
Overall rank: 29
Growth potential rank: 1

4. Patent attorney

Median starting salary: $86,196
Median annual salary: $118,160
Overall rank: 27
Growth potential rank: 1

Lawyer jury in court
Robert Daly | Getty Images

3. Attorney

Median starting salary: $89,052
Median annual salary: $118,160
Overall rank: 17
Growth potential rank: 1

2. Drilling engineer

Median starting salary: $89,167
Median annual salary: $128,230
Overall rank: 67
Growth potential rank: 17

1. Tax attorney

Median starting salary: $93,899
Median annual salary: $118,160
Overall rank: 22
Growth potential rank: 1

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