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The Best (and Worst) Entry-Level Jobs

Topics: Data & Research

One of the most pervasive jokes about job hunting in pop culture today is the classic posting, “Entry-Level Job: 3-5 Years Experience Necessary.” Of course, not all entry-level jobs are created equal. Some occupations fare better than others in terms of opportunity, starting salary, and potential for growth.

entry level

(Photo Credit: Wilfred Iven/

So what makes an entry-level job the “best” job? When WalletHub took to the task of ranking the best and worst entry-level jobs, they did it on a point system ranking three main categories: immediate opportunity (starting salary, unemployment rate, etc.); growth potential (the one your dad probably asks about); and job hazards.

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While it’s tempting to think that the best job is the one you get, there’s more to it: you want to think long-term. The key is in finding a job that opens you up to a long road of growth, development, and ultimately some of that coveted experience that makes you marketable at your next interview.

With all of that in mind, here are a few of the best and worst jobs, according to WalletHub’s findings.

Best: Engineer

Engineer is a job that gives you a lot of great immediate exposure, and pretty solid growth opportunity. In other words, it’s a job that’s got room to move up, but you’ll get to developing skills pretty much from day one.

According to our data, an Entry-Level Civil Engineer can expect a median salary of $55,995.

Average: Landscape Architect

Smack in the middle of their list was a career that may not otherwise have been on your radar. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the sort of job that’s going to get you a ton of immediate experience, but it did rank fairly well in opportunities for growth, and right in the middle for hazards. And as a specialized career, there are university programs designed specifically for aspiring landscape architects.

According to PayScale, an Entry-Level Landscape Architect could see a median salary of $45,401.

Worst: Welder

It wasn’t long ago that some politicians were decrying the fact that we’ve stigmatized the trades workers and glorified the academics. This list, it would seem, does not have good news for those same politicians. It’s not that welders don’t make an honest living, or that a trade isn’t a prudent choice for many Americans. But ultimately, the immediate exposure, prospect of growth, and on-the-job hazards all indicate that starting your career as a Welder simply does not leave a whole lot of room for development.

The PayScale data for an Entry-Level Welder says they can expect a median salary of $38,906.

See WalletHub’s full list of best and worst entry-level jobs here.

Tell Us What You Think!

Was this list way off? Do you think there are worse or better entry-level jobs out there? How’s your entry-level job working out? Tell us your stories and strong opinions in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter!

Peter Swanson
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Best and worst is narrowly defined in this article. I’ve had the worst and the best jobs. I began welding and mechanics in a small farm town at 14 working for my father. It’s a daily problem solving and solutions job that requires innovation, skill, and mechanical ability. By 18 my father wanted me to go to college but I could have easily joined his business as a full partner. Instead I joined the military and became an electronics tech.… Read more »


@Duh – The level of job is based on experience, not qualifications. Which is why the “3-5 Years Experience Necessary” is seen as comical, and in some cases a nuisance. Unless you had a job and gained sufficient experience during your studies within your field, you would still be considered entering an entry level position upon starting your career – after studies. Most companies (if not all) have a habit of posting entry level jobs, but require experience… in doing… Read more »


How is “engineer” an entry level job. Did you forget the 4 year degree you have to get first?

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