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12 Entry-Level Jobs with Big Earning Potential

No one ever promised you were going to graduate from college and, degree hot off the press, land yourself a job as CFO. But in today's job market, where competition is particularly keen, it seems as if even the mediocre jobs are few and far between.

Before you relegate yourself to flipping burgers, check out the 12 jobs we've listed here. These jobs, while appropriate for recent college grads looking to enter the work place, have reasonable starting salaries and excellent growth potential.

Graphic Designer: Designs and creates graphics for advertisements, logos, packaging, etc. for organizations and media.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, preferably in art, graphic design, or a related field.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level workers earn a median salary of $46K. Graphic designers with experience can work their way up to the position of Art Director.
Do You Have What It Takes? You are creative and artistic. You work well independently, but also take direction well. You care about presenting products and services in their best light.

Financial Analyst: Analyze financial information for banks, insurance companies, securities firms, and other businesses.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in finance, math, economics, accounting, or business management.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level workers earn a median salary of $47.1K. Opportunity for advancement is excellent, with many organizations picking up the tab for training programs, education, testing, and licensure.
Do You Have What It Takes? You love crunching numbers and analyzing data, and using math to implement solutions to complex problems.

Sales Representative: Sells products and services.
Education: Bachelor’s degree. Some companies require a degree in an area relevant to the product or service you are selling, while others desire personal experience.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level sales representatives have median earnings of $54.4K, including salary and bonuses. Those with good track records can eventually become sales managers and directors.
Do You Have What It Takes? You are competitive, outgoing, and could sell ice to an Eskimo.

Copywriter: Write advertising copy to be used in all types of media.
Education: Bachelor's degree in communication, media studies, public relations, journalism, or English.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level copywriters make a median salary of $41.8K. There's high growth potential in this career, with those who work their way up developing and managing entire advertising campaigns.
Do You Have What It Takes? You're creative, good with words, and you know what motivates people. You're comfortable working as part of a team, and have terrific listening and communication skills.

Human Resources Assistant: Work as part of the human resources team, assisting with payroll, benefits administration, job descriptions, and legal issues.
Education: Bachelor's degree, preferably in business or a related field.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level workers earn a median salary of 34.2K. Many organizations have built-in training and mentoring programs that allow relatively quick advancement to director and manager positions.
Do You Have What It Takes? You enjoy leading and working with people. You are good at research and analysis.

Public Relations Assistant: Promotes groups, individuals, and companies by writing, selecting, and releasing publicity material.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, preferably in public relations or communications.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level workers earn a median salary of 44.7K. The field has good growth potential, with those showing aptitude and success moving on to managerial positions with significantly more responsibility.
Do You Have What It Takes? You enjoy helping people, and have excellent listening and communication skills. Your writing and editing skills are superb.

Web Designer: Develops and designs Web applications and Web sites.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level Web designers earn a median salary of $50.8K. As experience is gained, Web designers gain more independence, work on more complex projects, and manage staffs.
Do You Have What It Takes? You have a combination of creative and technical skills, and keep up with the latest Internet developments. You enjoy working as part of a team, and have no trouble sticking to deadlines.

Marketing Coordinator: Helps carry out tasks associated with determining demand for products and services, and identifying potential customers.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, preferably in marketing, business, or economics.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level workers earn a median salary of $49.4K. Hard workers who demonstrate marketing savvy can rise to manager, director, or vice-president levels.
Do You Have What It Takes? You have excellent research skills, and are good at developing strategies. You understand trends, and know what motivates people.

Computer Programmer: Develop and write computer programs.
Education: Bachelor's degree, preferably in computer science.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level programmers earn a median salary of $53.6K. Successful programmers can eventually reach the managerial level, where they have more responsibility and people to supervise.
Do You Have What It Takes? In addition to having the necessary education and knowledge, you have excellent problem solving ability. You excel at creating programs based on specific needs and requirements.

Database Analyst: Manages databases, including developing, modifying, and coordinating databases.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level database administrators earn a median salary of $55.5K. Growth potential is high, with those who advance to the top managing entire databases and teams.
Do You Have What It Takes? You are methodical, have excellent attention to detail, and are good at determining requirements and needs.

Registered Nurse: Works as part of a medical team to assess patients, administer care to patients, and maintain medical records.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: The median salary of an entry-level registered nurse is $63.9K. RNs who complete additional post-basic education are eligible for more advanced, specialized roles.
Do You Have What It Takes? You enjoy helping people, and have excellent listening and communication skills. You are social, service-oriented, and can successfully work as part of a team.

Environmental Engineer: Perform engineering duties that help prevent or control environmental health hazards.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Earnings Potential and Advancement: Entry-level workers earn a median salary of $52.5K. While those just beginning often work under experienced engineers in an assistant capacity, as experienced is gained responsibility increases.
Do You Have What It Takes? You care about the environment, and love solving problems. You are excellent at research, and enjoy investigating facts to come up with solutions.

The sky’s the limit
When all is said and done, a well-planned career is a successful career. When you take the time to consider where you start—and where you could potentially go—the sky’s the limit!