It can seem challenging to find a future career that doesn’t involve a lot of hoops to jump through, but plenty of jobs in growing industries could be the right fit for you. Entry-level positions are popular because they let you go straight from your studies to work, which means your degree will start paying off immediately after you graduate. The following jobs pay well, have great growth potential, and present exciting opportunities for new grads. Here are some careers to consider straight out of college and what you need to do to get hired.
1. Registered nurse
Nursing has always been popular, but working as a registered nurse is becoming more attractive to students looking for jobs right after graduation. RNs typically work with patients in general daily hospital care since they lack specialized training. They administer medication, take vital signs, insert IVs, and more—although it varies depending on where you work and whether you’re certified.
- How much it pays: The popularity of nursing is growing because the pay is incredibly high for an entry-level position. Even though you’re coming in with little to no experience, the average income is around $77,600 and can go much higher depending on whether you work in a hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, or long-term care facility. Still, you’re likely going to make a lot right after graduation.
- How to land the job: There are a few ways to become an RN. You can get an associate or bachelor’s degree, but either way, you’ll have to get your nursing license by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before starting work. You’ll want to get a license in the state you plan to work in, which may not necessarily be where you live.
Related: Top Academic Paths to Help You Pursue Nursing and Medical Careers
Being a paralegal is excellent if you’re considering going into law because it’s relatively easy to get into and opens doors for higher-level related careers. The role involves working alongside lawyers and helping them with their daily tasks—for example, organizing legal research for a case or calling people in to interview. It’s mainly a lot of clerical work, but it might change based on which legal field you specialize in and the needs of your boss.
- How much it pays: Typically, paralegals earn around $58,300 a year on average, although salary varies based on location, skills, and certification. It’s an entry-level position for the most part, and your salary might be on the lower end to start. You can increase it by working on your soft skills or getting relevant certifications while in college. Most positions don’t require either, but they’ll help you negotiate higher initial pay.
- How to land the job: You must complete a relevant associate or bachelor’s degree to get hired, but most positions require four years of higher education. The degree will vary based on which legal field you want to work in. For example, corporate, family, and immigration law will have slightly different degree requirements.
3. HR assistant
Human resource (HR) jobs are all about paperwork and communication. For the most part, you’d be assisting with interviews, payroll, training, and record keeping. It’s a popular entry-level position because it’s fairly laid back and pays well.
- How much it pays: With this role, you’d make around $38,000 a year immediately after graduation. It also helps that nearly every business has an HR department, so job security is great. It’s also worth pursuing because your salary can increase by $15,500 if you have a bachelor’s degree.
- How to land the job: Becoming an HR assistant is relatively easy since all you need is a few years of higher education in a management or business field. Even though getting hired with only an associate degree is possible, many businesses require a bachelor’s at minimum. You can boost your chances by working on your soft skills in college since the role focuses strongly on communication and social skills.
Related: 9 Tips for Developing Soft Skills Before Graduation
4. Account coordinator
An account coordinator connects a company’s clients to their account managers by managing all the in-between communication and duties to maintain the business relationship, like reporting client concerns, assisting with promotional material, scheduling, and calling. The job is popular because it’s similar to customer service, so a lot of people already have relevant experience.
- How much it pays: Today, the average salary for an account coordinator is over $46,000, a high amount for an entry-level role right out of college. Your pay may be lower depending on where you apply and what skills you have, but it’s still an impressive amount. You can also get additional certifications before applying to look better to potential employers, but they’re not required for the role.
- How to land the job: Most companies require a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Communication, Business, or a similar field. You can choose from many different degrees because there aren’t strict requirements. Client-centric companies are found in various industries, allowing you to specialize your education to what interests you.
5. Lab technician
Lab technician jobs are becoming popular because they pay incredibly well right out of college and are relatively easy to get into. The role involves performing medical tests and analyzing lab results, meaning you’d collect blood samples and assist in patient diagnosis and treatment. It’s a fast-paced job but rewarding, especially since the pay is great. It’ll also open up doors if you want to pursue other medical careers in the future through specialization opportunities. For example, you could go into immunology to look for abnormalities in blood.
- How much it pays: The salary for a lab technician is fairly high, considering the average was around $57,800 in 2021. As with many jobs, it will vary depending on your skills, certifications, and specialty, but you’ll likely find a great-paying job right after graduation.
- How to land the job: You must get a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field to become a lab technician. While this seems straightforward enough, you might also have to get certified depending on where you live. For example, California requires a Medical Laboratory Technician License—which involves training and some experience—before you can practice. Look at the state you want to work in and determine if it requires certification.
Related: 6 Cool Alternative Careers for STEM Majors to Consider
Legal, medical, clerical, and marketing roles have great pay and present exciting entry-level opportunities for future career growth. These five jobs only require a bachelor’s degree—and sometimes only an associate—meaning you can go straight to working in your desired field. Although some will differ depending on where you live or how you specialize, they’re all popular positions you’ll have no problem getting with some planning and hard work.
If you’d like to break into one of the country’s most promising job markets, check out our article on the Top 10 Career Fields in America: What You Should Know.