Many people who graduate with a bachelor’s degree also graduate with thousands of dollars in student loans: The average amount of student loan debt for bachelor’s degree recipients was $37,172, CNBC reported in 2018.
Unfortunately, earning an undergraduate degree doesn’t mean you’ll earn big bucks right out of college, but some entry-level jobs provide bigger paychecks than others. GOBankingRates analyzed Salary.com data to determine the 15 lowest- and 15 highest-paying careers that require a bachelor’s degree, as well as the top three cities for each profession.
Click through to read more about the lowest- and highest-paying entry-level jobs you could land.
The 15 Lowest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs
You could find it hard to make ends meet with the following low-paying entry-level professions. Before applying for your first job out of college, you might want to reconsider taking one of these jobs you’ll love with pay you’ll hate.
1. Stock Loan Clerk
Average median salary: $31,763
Stock loan clerks research the availability of stock to cover short sales and are responsible for the lending and borrowing process. They also maintain records of all stock loan procedures. New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are the best cities to score a job as a stock loan clerk.
2. Customer Success Representative
Average median salary: $34,036
Customer success representatives respond to non-technical customer inquiries by phone or email. They are responsible for diagnosing problems and communicating the solution or requested information to the customer. They also are responsible for referring the customer to another service or department if they cannot solve the customer’s problem. Chicago is the most popular city for this position, followed by New York and Los Angeles.
You might want to think twice before accepting a customer success representative position — not only is the pay low, but it’s also one of the jobs with the least security, a previous GOBankingRates study found.
3. eCommerce Customer Service Representative
Average median salary: $34,268
An eCommerce customer service representative, who could work at a company such as Amazon, responds to customer inquiries about online purchases or service orders. They also can help customers with product selection, answer basic questions and make suggestions. These customer service representatives also document customer issues and input them into a ticketing system, and offer solutions to problems or refer the customer to someone else who can provide a solution. This job is most common in New York, Riverside, Calif., and Lynchburg, Va.
4. Technical Support Representative
Average median salary: $34,608
Technical support representatives help support and assist clients with their technical inquiries via email, phone and other remote methods. These inquiries can relate to installation, operational functions, troubleshooting or maintenance. The technical support representative also provides the customer with preventative recommendations to improve product performance and usability. The most popular cities for this position are Chicago, Boulder, Colo., and Orlando, Fla.
5. Fraud Detection Associate
Average median salary: $34,792
Fraud detection associates monitor account activity and perform analyses to detect customer fraud. They also identify areas for increased security procedures and report the fraud to prevention associates. New York, Phoenix and Omaha, Neb., are the most popular cities for this position.
6. Community Organizer
Average median salary: $34,839
Community organizers work as the bridge between a service organization and its community by developing, coordinating and promoting the organization’s activities that appeal to a target population. Community organizers might also oversee volunteer workers. The most community organizer jobs can be found in Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago.
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7. Bankruptcy Specialist
Average median salary: $37,296
Once a loan bankruptcy is filed, the bankruptcy specialist is responsible for ensuring that all relevant information is documented and filed with the appropriate attorneys. Bankruptcy specialists also ensure compliance with loan bankruptcy regulations and monitor accounts throughout the process. The most popular cities for bankruptcy specialists are Memphis, Tenn., Dallas and Philadelphia.
8. Administrative Assistant
Average median salary: $40,004
Administrative assistants provide support for a variety of functions for an individual, team, department or other group in an organization. Responsibilities include scheduling and communicating travel, meetings and other group activities, as well as responding to internal and external routine inquiries. New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles are the most popular cities for this profession.
9. Sales Assistant
Average median salary: $40,594
Sales assistants create reports for a company’s sales team and provide customer service. They also perform some administrative duties. The most popular cities for sales assistants are New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
10. Mortgage Loan Officer
Average median salary: $40,992
Mortgage loan officers interview applicants, collect financial data and documents and make recommendations for loan products for borrowers seeking residential mortgage loans. They also assist the buyer throughout the purchase process. The best cities for mortgage loan officer jobs are Grand Forks, N.D., Denver and Mesa, Ariz.
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11. HR Service Center Representative
Average median salary: $41,923
HR service center representatives respond to employee questions and inquiries about benefits and human resources policies. They also maintain information systems, prepare documents and process paperwork. HR service representatives are responsible for resolving issues with benefits programs, income continuance, paid time off and retirement and pension plans. Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., are the most popular cities for this profession.
12. Development Coordinator
Average median salary: $43,682
Development coordinators support, grow and maintain a nonprofit organization’s fundraising or membership programs. The most popular cities for development coordinator jobs are Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago.
13. Interior Designer
Average median salary: $44,289
Interior designers develop plans and designs for the interior of a residential, commercial or industrial space based on a client’s wants and needs. The designers are responsible for planning the layout and use of a space as well as all the decorative elements. In addition, interior designers create drawings and presentations, come up with cost estimates and coordinate contractor work. New York is the most popular city for this profession, followed by Chicago and Washington, D.C.
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14. Environmental Engineering Technician
Average median salary: $44,534
Environmental engineering technicians are responsible for determining if soil, groundwater or the surrounding atmosphere is polluted by conducting the appropriate analysis. They also implement corrective action if necessary. The most popular cities for this profession are Washington, D.C., Houston and Baltimore.
Average median salary: $44,675
A geologist is a researcher who specializes in the study of rocks — including the formation, dissolution and content of rock layers — and the effects of internal pressures, heat, water, pollution and erosion. Geologists also identify and test mineral deposits. Houston, Dallas and Denver are the most popular cities for geologists.
The 15 Highest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs
You spent time and money to earn your bachelor’s degree, and if you choose the right job that pays well, you can make that investment worthwhile. Click through to find out which entry-level jobs are the highest-paid.
1. Business Development Associate
Average median salary: $63,458
Business development associates are responsible for identifying and developing strategic relationships with potential business partners or customers. Their responsibilities could include creating a pipeline of new business opportunities and working with other teams, such as marketing, sales and product development, to launch new business development initiatives. Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago are the most popular cities for this high-paying profession.
2. Software QA Analyst
Average median salary: $63,460
Software QA analysts test software to make sure it is meeting expected quality standards. This involves preparing data sets, fixing errors, tracking defects and documenting test results. Analysts also can help create new tests and plans and should be familiar with software development and quality assurance methodologies. The most popular cities to be a software QA analyst are Chicago, Atlanta and Portland, Ore.
3. Business Intelligence Specialist
Average median salary: $63,914
Business intelligence specialists support and maintain applications that enhance business decision-making abilities, and these employees identify and solve technical issues. If you start your career in this position, you probably won’t need a side gig to bring in extra money. New York is the most popular city for this job, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago.
4. Financial Associate (Public) I
Average median salary: $65,125
Financial associates who work in the public sector gather and analyze financial data related to public projects — including housing, utilities and other municipal activities — and might make recommendations based on their analysis. New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., are the most popular cities for this profession.
5. Design Engineer
Average median salary: $65,637
Design engineers help design new products and make improvements to existing ones. As part of the job, they research, evaluate and analyze products, parts and processes for cost efficiency and reliability. This profession is most popular in San Jose, Calif., Chicago and San Diego.
6. Implementation Specialist
Average median salary: $65,839
Implementation specialists are responsible for helping external clients implement technical systems, software or hardware that support business processes based on client needs. The specialists also test and troubleshoot system setups and provide training support during and after the implementation process. Orlando, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and Tucson, Ariz. are the best cities for implementation specialist jobs.
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7. Graphical User Interface Programmer
Average median salary: $65,983
Graphical user interface programmers review, analyze and modify programming systems that support a graphical user interface for products and programs. The programmers also develop code to support existing applications. The most popular cities for GUI programmers are all in California: San Jose, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
8. Content Specialist
Average median salary: $66,230
Content specialists help create the content that appears on websites — and this might be a high-paying job you didn’t know existed. Content specialist work involves coordinating and integrating work done by writers and designers to produce a layout that meets their company’s standards, and producing and editing website material. Content specialist positions are most popular in New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.
9. Trader (Corporate Bonds) I
Average median salary: $68,827
Corporate bonds traders buy and sell corporate bonds in a timely manner. They review orders to ensure they are accurate and abide by regulations, carry out trades and maintain their corporation’s accounts. The cities where this profession is the most popular are New York, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.
10. Product Engineer
Average median salary: $69,470
Product engineers work within budget and scheduling restraints to perform engineering design evaluations and complete other projects. They provide technical support, analyze project requirements, perform technical calculations and review reports on production, malfunction and maintenance to determine or solve problems. The best cities for product engineers are Houston, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
11. Community Development Representative
Average median salary: $70,136
Community development representatives act on behalf of a company during community and economic development activities and initiatives. The reps also form and maintain relationships with other community groups and organizations to identify business development opportunities. The most popular cities for community development representatives are New York, Seattle and Boston. If you’re looking for a job in this profession, you might consider moving to Seattle — it’s one of the cities where incomes are growing the fastest, a previous GOBankingRates study found.
12. Cash Management Officer
Average median salary: $70,907
Cash management officers support business banking clients with their cash management needs, as well as ensure client retention and customer satisfaction. Chicago, New York and Dallas are the most popular cities for this profession.
13. Aerospace Engineer
Average median salary: $71,674
Aerospace engineers design and supervise the construction of aircraft and aerospace products and parts. These engineers also conduct research on flight characteristics and analyze the results of stress tests on crafts and parts. The most popular cities for aerospace engineers are Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Seattle.
14. Data Architect
Average median salary: $75,745
Data architects design and build databases for data storage and processing. Chicago is the most popular city for this profession, followed by Atlanta and San Jose, Calif.
15. Commercial Real Estate Loan Officer I
Average median salary: $76,589
Commercial real estate loan officers solicit and service real estate commercial loans. Their responsibilities include evaluating loan applications and requesting appraisals and credit reports. The most popular cities for this profession are Dallas, Chicago and New York.
The 15 Highest- and 15 Lowest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs
The average median salary for entry-level jobs for bachelor’s degree recipients ranges from less than $32,000 to more than $76,000. Customer service and support jobs, as well as assistant jobs, tend to pay low salaries. Top-paying jobs tend to be in the engineering, technology and business fields, so getting a bachelor’s degree in computer science, statistics, mathematics or business could end up providing the biggest return on investment.
Click through to read more about boring jobs that pay $100k or more.
Methodology: GOBankingRates used Salary.com data on salary ranges for entry-level jobs to rank the 15 highest- and 15 lowest-paying jobs. Once all those jobs were identified, GOBankingRates included the top three cities for each job.