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Median Starting Salaries for Different Careers

Starting to think about potential careers? Salary is a big piece of the equation!


As a teen, the thought of adult life can feel stressful, and choosing a career that will keep you afloat but that you also enjoy might seem overwhelming. After all, this is the rest of your life we’re talking about! But with some information and perspective, making these big decisions can be a little easier. 

If you’re a high school student who’s starting to consider your professional options, this article’s for you. With valuable data on the average starting salaries for some of the most popular professions, the insight in this article can help you make an educated decision about the paths to follow. Even if salary isn’t the determining factor, it does tend to play an important role in the decision-making process. With that in mind, you can explore a variety of career options and gain a better understanding of the financial prospects that each one offers. 

Potential Career Paths, Starting Salaries & Earning Potential

When building a successful career, choosing a path that truly motivates and interests you is crucial. It’s what sparks your passion and keeps you driven – especially on those long days at work when you feel tired.

That’s why it’s important to understand that there’s much more to a career than a starting salary. When you take earning potential into account, you can look beyond the initial paycheck and get an idea of how your income can grow over time. 

For this study, we chose the city of Los Angeles as our benchmark. According to, the average starting salary in LA is $38,563 for entry-level positions. Using this as a starting point, we will take a look at starting salaries across different professions to understand how your ideal career compares in terms of income.

Social Science / Impact Jobs

For those driven by a desire to make a difference, we rounded up some of the most fulfilling career options in the social sciences field. From government institutions at the local, state, and federal levels to nonprofits, foundations, and social service providers – there’s a place for mission-driven individuals to thrive.

Using the Salary Calculator, we put together a list of the starting salaries and median salaries after 10 years of work experience to give you a better idea of the earning potential in the following careers:

Social Worker $71,317 $74,207
Grant Writer $82,823 $85,447
Paralegal $72,930 $76,848
Community Relations Manager $109,323 $112,451
Communications Manager $135,169 $136,272
Journalist $62,340 $65,471
Preschool Teacher $42,341 $44,011

Remember, this list is just a snapshot of the potential career paths you can explore within policy and social impact. Use it as a launching pad to find the perfect fit for your passions and skill set, keeping in mind that making a difference can also be financially rewarding!


In today’s digitally-driven world, a career in information technology (IT) opens many exciting opportunities. From developing cutting-edge software and designing immersive user experiences to managing complex networks, the IT field encompasses a wider range of roles.

If you’re tech-savvy or simply interested in this field, here are some career paths that may interest you in the technology industry:

Software Engineer $88,614 $89,196
Data Analyst $72,155 $73,527
Cybersecurity Analyst $111,212 $116,276
Web Developer $54,832 $57,158
IT Project Manager $88,595 $91,340
User Experience (UX) Designer $87,758 $88,944
Network Engineer $82,967 $84,172

With technology as an expanding field, opportunities continue to grow, and career options are plenty! If tech is the industry for you, continue to explore the options and new developments to stay in the loop of new professional paths.

Medical / Healthcare

If your passion is in caring for others and you’ve always been fascinated by the human body, a career in the medical and healthcare industry might be your calling! 

While many of these positions require extensive education and training, here are some entry-level career opportunities along with their approximate median salaries and earning potential after 10 years of experience:

Registered Nurse $75,196 $76,375
Physical Therapist $104,251 $106,719
Pharmacist $167,291 $168,017
Medical Laboratory Technician $65,291 $67,549
Radiologic Technologist $68,405 $70,450
Physician Assistant (requires graduate education) $131,052 $135,588

As you start these careers, you may develop other interests within the field of medicine and expand your education to pursue these goals. Especially with ongoing scientific discoveries, it’s important to keep your knowledge updated when you choose a career in the medical field.

Business and Finance

Got a knack for numbers? Do you enjoy strategic thinking? Have you ever dreamed of taking the business world by storm? Then, the vast world of business and finance might be your ideal job.

Here are some career paths in the business and finance industry, along with their starting salaries and what you can expect once you’ve got 10 years of experience under your belt:

Financial Analyst $71,351 $72,321
Marketing Coordinator $70,097 $73,460
Human Resources (HR) Specialist $117,278 $121,741
Sales Representative $68,213 $73,807
Social Media Data Analyst $68,440 $75,287
Accountant $67,152 $68,063

Planning Your Career 

Congratulations! You’ve not begun to seriously look at your different career options. Remember, while financial considerations are important, they are only one aspect of the bigger picture. The most fulfilling careers offer a balance between your passions, your drive, personal values, and rewarding income.

It’s also important to keep a long-term perspective, so you can better understand how your salary will grow over time. And, while you’re learning about income for different careers, remember to consider how your location affects the income potential.

As you continue your career journey, we urge you to continue exploring your interests and pursuing your passion. Don’t be afraid to dream big and aim high – the professional world is yours for the taking!

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About the Author

Lucia Caldera

Lucia Caldera is a writer who specializes in personal finance. Her goal is to create approachable content that sparks financial wellness and unlocks personal growth. Lucia's work reflects her passion for financial education as the key to reducing the wealth gap for future generations.

Last updated on: November 27, 2023