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Top 10 List of High Paying Careers and Best Average Starting Salaries

With the cost of living soaring, it makes sense that jobs offering the best starting salaries are increasingly sought-after--by everyone from recent college graduates to career-changers. This article touts a handy list of high paying careers that might surprise you.

By Cherie Berkley

You may be striking out on a new career path, but that hopefully doesn’t mean your salary has to start low on the totem pole. PayScale.com has created the following list of high paying careers with the highest average starting salaries. Most all of these hot jobs has an average starting salary well over $50,000. So, with no further ado, here is a top ten list of high salary careers with the best starting salaries.

High Salary Careers

1. Investment Banking Analyst. If you are good with numbers and solving real-world problems, this hot job pays handsomely in the early years. Not to mention its strong long-term earning potential with bonuses and benefits that can take you far beyond the average starting salary.
Average Starting Salaries of $81,800+

2. Business Analyst, Computer Software. Data mining is a hot field with strong career potential. There’s also strong potential with the salary of business analyst jobs, and they offer one of the best starting salaries today. Normally used by financial institutions such as banks, data miners sort through vast amounts of information that help companies make the best use of the information in their data warehouses. A master's degree in computer science, physics, or statistics is usually required.
Average Starting Salaries of $52,000+

3. Forensic Computer Analyst. Computer forensics is the analysis of information contained within and created with computer systems and computing devices. Forensic computer analysts frequently contribute to white-collar criminal investigations and investigate causes of computer meltdowns, computer system misuse, or crime details contained within computer systems. Given the computer forensic salary potential, more people are beginning to investigate this growing career. 
Average Starting Salaries of $47,700+

4. Junior Associate Lawyer. The financial scales of justice certainly tip toward starting salaries for associate lawyers. And looking beyond lawyer starting salaries, after five years' experience the average salary jumps to $89,210. Depending on the field of specialty, the long-term earning potential is almost limitless. Big-shot lawyers like Sen. John Edwards (malpractice) and celebrity criminal defense attorney Mark Gerago have cleaned up millions in their careers.
Average Starting Salaries of $65,500+

5. Physical Therapist. What is the starting salary for physical therapists? Let’s just say that if anatomy is your thing, physical therapy may be your path to greener pastures. Physical therapists can specialize in areas such as hand or back therapy to boost their marketability – and salary potential. 
Average Starting Salaries of $62,000+

6. Nurse Practitioner (ARNP). If a doctor cannot squeeze you in for an appointment, chances are there is a nurse practitioner standing by in his or her place. While nurse practitioners don’t command the big bucks that physicians do, their services certainly don’t come cheap. This career path has among the best starting salaries.
Average Starting Salaries of $79,500+

7. Electrical Engineer. It is easy to do the math on how marketable engineers are. Companies dig deep to lure young electrical engineers and other subspecialties across the board. Electrical engineers focus on using electricity to transmit energy. Payscale.com shows that with experience, electrical engineering salaries can reach up to $81,078. Average Starting Salaries of $55,100+

8. Software Engineer. Software engineers design, write, and test computer programs. Computer networking and information technology are hot fields on the list of high paying careers.
Average Starting Salaries of $60,050+

9. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. You don’t have to be a physician or even a science major to make big bucks in medicine. Just about anyone with a college degree and a killer personality can be trained in pharmaceutical sales. Pharmaceutical sales reps make sales calls to doctors’ offices, peddling the latest drugs from the companies they represent. Seasoned pros can make six figures in this field.
Average Starting Salaries of $64,700+

10. Veterinarian. Do you love animals? Veterinarians can combine a passion for their warm, furry friends with great earning power. With growing animal research and interest in pet care, veterinarian medicine is bound to remain a popular profession for years to come.
Average Starting Salaries of $60,600+

No matter what your skill, passion, or personality, the job market offers numerous professions that also have above-average starting salaries. Just keep your eyes open and reach for the green.

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