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Not Average: Starting Salaries That Start High

By Bridget Quigg
If you’re ready to start a new career and want to earn the highest possible salary from the start, you need to know which fields are hot and high paid. Online salary and career site PayScale.com has scoured its database for the latest information about which jobs are paying top dollar to employees with less than two years of experience. The following is a list of the top seven.

1. Actuarial Analyst - $57,800

This well-paid gig is a competitive one to nab. Actuaries are typically employed by insurance companies and their job is to assess the risk of a certain event occurring and help create policies to minimize the cost of the risk. This could mean studying the likelihood of a sixteen year-old driver getting in an accident or a home toppling from an earthquake. Actuaries typically have bachelor’s degrees and pass various exams to gain full, professional status. Strengths in mathematics, statistics and business are essential, as well as a willingness to travel, if needed.

2. Oil & Gas Landman - $57,600

An oil and gas landman must have science and engineering chops, as well as in-depth knowledge of real estate law, deeds, mineral rights, oil and gas terms and more. Landmen help companies strike deals for land that could be rich in petroleum or other resources. They also may be involved in coordinating the extraction or mining process. Landmen must pass a series of exams throughout their career, as well as complete an apprenticeship early on. But, the payoff can be great since experienced landmen can earn six-figures. Bachelor’s degrees are typical.

3. Mechanical Engineer - $55,200

Do you like to take things apart so you can figure out how they work? You’d likely make a great mechanical engineer. A mechanical engineer plans and designs everything from tools to refrigerators and engines. They may also oversee how the equipment they design is installed or repaired. Mechanical engineers have a bachelor’s degree, take professional certification exams and can boost their income with further study in specialized area or earning a graduate degree.

4. Project Engineer, Construction - $52,600

Here’s a job for a strong leader who is organized and understands the construction business. A project engineer makes sure that a construction project is finished on time. They coordinate the workers, heavy equipment rental, materials delivery and other nuts and bolts of each day on the job. This can be a very stressful role and usually requires a bachelor’s degree, as well as construction experience, to get started.

5. Tax Accountant - $49,200

Who loves working on their taxes? Almost no one. So, if you are willing to provide people guidance and support on getting them done, you’re hired. A tax accountant helps businesses, individuals and organizations with filing their state and federal tax returns. Tax accountants typically have a bachelor’s degree, as well as some experience through an internship or part-time job.

6. Financial Analyst - $48,700

Business savvy and a mind for research are both helpful to a financial analyst. A financial analyst helps businesses, individuals and organizations make investment decisions. So, whichever industry the company is in or whatever investment level an individual is comfortable with, a financial analyst figures out their top investment options. As with many of the careers that are paid well from the start, financial analysts have bachelor’s degrees, typically in financial and business fields, as well as graduate degrees for those with the highest pay.

7. Internal Auditor - $46,700

Auditors are in high demand these days. Since the recession, there is a bigger emphasis among companies on watching their books so that an external audit doesn’t discover accounting mistakes. An internal auditor reviews a company or organization’s financials and makes sure that all of their accounting is done accurately. Most auditors have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, with some schools offering special coursework in the growing field of internal auditing.

Source: All salary data provided by online salary database PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with 0-2 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit-sharing.
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