A Complete Guide to Entry Level Salary – What Is The Entry Level Job Salary?

Spread the love

When you get your first full-time job, it can be exhilarating to kick off your career. However, as you wait for the words, “You’re hired!”, there might be one small thing you’re not so sure about: Money.

How can you know what to say when an employer inquires about your salary expectations? How much should you anticipate receiving, and how can you determine whether the offer is genuine? Do you need to—gasp—negotiate? Warning: This is a spoiler: probably!)

When you are just starting out in your career, you might not be comfortable talking about salary. No worries: That is perfectly normal. I’ve been assisting college students with their first paychecks for years as a career advisor, and I have some advice for you.

Even if you have the education, training, or certifications required to work in a particular job or industry, you will likely earn significantly less at the beginning of your career than after a few years of experience. The base pays for people who are just starting out in their careers with their first job in a particular industry, profession, or field is referred to as an entry-level salary.


We discuss the significance of entry-level salaries, the national average for entry-level salaries in the United States, the factors that influence this number, and how you can negotiate your entry-level salary in this article.

Because they determine the starting salary potential for individuals entering a particular industry or field for the first time, entry-level salaries are crucial. Most of the time, roles that are open to people who are just starting out in their careers and don’t have much professional experience besides internships are called entry-level positions.

You can determine your earning potential for a role by determining how much you will earn when you first enter a profession. This enables you to determine whether that particular career will be financially viable for you and your needs.

Examining entry-level salaries not only enables you to evaluate and match a career to your financial requirements, but it also provides you with useful information as you search for employment. When presented with a job opportunity, you will gain insight into the industry standards so that you can make informed decisions.

For instance, if you are aware of the typical base salary, you will have an idea of how much you are worth as an entry-level employee, which will assist you in determining whether or not the wages offered by an employer are reasonable.

The average entry level salary

In the United States, entry-level positions typically earn $40,153 per year on average. Even thougQh this is the average base salary, it can be as low as $26,000 or as high as $56,000 for entry-level positions and certain areas.

Contrary to the majority of positions that pay minimum wage, entry-level jobs typically still require at least some skills or training. However, the state’s mandated minimum wage has a significant impact on the compensation for entry-level positions, which varies greatly from employer to employer and region to region.

Employers are required to adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established a federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This amounts to $15,080 annually if employed full-time in a salary position. However, as long as it meets or exceeds the federal minimum wage, each state is free to establish a minimum wage that is appropriate for the local economy and cost of living.

How much do entry level jobs pay per year? $25,000 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $40,000 is the 75th percentile. The average annual salary for an Entry Level position in the United States will be $33,318 as of February 28, 2023. In the event that you require a straightforward salary calculator, that amounts to approximately $16.02 per hour. This amounts to $640 per week or $2,776 per month.

The majority of Entry Level salaries currently range between $25,000 (25th percentile) and $40,000 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) earning $47,000 annually across the United States, despite ZipRecruiter reporting annual salaries as high as $55,000 and as low as $16,500. There may be numerous opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience, as the average pay range for an Entry Level can vary by as much as $15,000.

How much is the average entry-level salary?

There is a wide range of data on the average entry-level salary, and for good reason. The industry in which the position is located, the company’s location, the responsibilities of the position, and the candidate’s education level and type of degree all influence starting salaries.

To demonstrate how broad, the typical baselines can be: The average starting salary for the Class of 2019 was $53,889, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), while ZipRecruiter lists the average entry-level salary for each state as $25,712 to $35,793.

Trying to find a general average can be helpful. In any case, disregarding any of the specifics, the approximations out there probably will not be extremely helpful. You will have a better chance of success if you find information that is more specific to your situation.

The average entry-level salary by state and profession

The state in which you are looking for work, the industry or position you are entering, and the employer that is offering you a position all play a role in determining entry-level salary ranges. Most of the time, entry-level jobs that require more technical skills, advanced education, or training pay more than jobs that have much fewer strict requirements for employment.

The cost of living and the demand for a particular industry have a significant impact on entry-level pay, as previously mentioned. The following states typically have salaries for entry-level positions that are higher than the national average, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

What can you do to increase your entry level job salary earning potential?

You should do the following once you have determined what an entry-level salary typically looks like in your field and region:

1. Research

Start doing research on the business or organization you want to work for to find out what skills and experience you have that would be most useful to this employer.

2. Develop your resume

The next step is to work on your resume to highlight your skills and experience that will set you apart and help you fit in with the company’s values, mission, and vision. Give examples of particularly impressive accomplishments and experiences, such as academic honors or an internship in which you excelled. It increases your chances of receiving the highest salary possible by highlighting relevant strengths.

3. Gain experience

Before applying, acquire skills or experience that would increase your chances of being hired and earning more money. You can do this by taking courses, finishing on the web instructional exercises, leading exploration or proposing to deal with a venture for a neighborhood business for nothing.

If you are a graphic designer, for instance, you could offer to redesign the logo of a nearby restaurant and then include the completed work in your portfolio. It will show your determination, ambition, and eagerness to learn, even if your professional experience only includes free work for your portfolio.

Can you negotiate an entry-level salary?

Negotiating an entry-level offer will be difficult or impossible in many positions and industries, especially structured programs like medicine, consulting, and finance. When deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, it is crucial to take into account the company’s benefits, vacation time, culture, and other perks.

Analyzing the potential long-term advantages of this employer or position is also helpful. For instance, working at a lower salary for a company that is a leader in its industry could help your career and resume in the long run.

You will need to do some research about the company and think about the experience that the opportunity would give you in order to make a truly informed decision about salary versus benefits.

How can you figure out your target entry-level salary?

The self-assurance you will gain from knowing what you should be earning at your first job is well worth the time and effort you put into your research.

Based on averages from numerous sources, I recommend establishing a target salary range. Ensure consistency when collecting data points during your research. Choose a few possible job titles you’d like to pursue, such as software engineer and software developer or marketing coordinator and marketing assistant, after narrowing your search. Next, focus solely on salaries that are based in the area where you want to work.

Due to differences in the cost of living, location plays a significant role in establishing a salary range. In rural South Carolina, software engineering jobs probably pay less than in San Francisco. You will be able to determine a more precise average by being consistent with the kinds of positions and locations you examine. Once you’ve covered those fundamentals, use the methods below to determine your ideal starting salary range.

  1. Use online tools
  2. Talk to your network
  3. Check out professional associations
  4. Find first destination data
  5. Anticipate your budget

1. Use online tools

There are numerous free online resources that can assist you in determining the appropriate salary range for your first job, taking into account all of the relevant factors. To get you started on your research, here are some resources:

  • Salary information is broken down by state and occupation by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • PayScale can show you average salaries by employer, job, degree or major, certifications, relevant skills, industry, location, or even which school you went to.
  • You can get a salary estimate by entering the job title and location into Salary.com. You can also compare jobs to gain additional insight into benefits offered by employment.
  • AngelList has a compensation device for work searchers who are exploring the startup scene. AngelList can be helpful when you’re thinking about compensation packages that might include a combination of salary and equity, for instance, because startups frequently offer different types of compensation than more established businesses.

2. Talk to your network

In some cases, the best chunks of life guidance are accumulated through individuals you trust — and what your compensation ought to be is no exemption! Connections in your field or industry can be especially beneficial. When it comes to advice regarding compensation, I’ve found former internship supervisors, faculty, and friends who were enrolled in your degree program to be extremely helpful. They might be able to fill in some of the gaps in your other research and offer suggestions and insights that might not be obvious from the hard data.

When you reach out to your network, I recommend taking into consideration the nature of your relationship with each person and approaching the conversation in a way that they won’t feel obligated to share their own salary if they are uncomfortable with it because discussing salary can be sensitive.

For instance, here are some ideas for starting a conversation with your former internship supervisor over lunch: I can’t wait to start my first full-time job! With my experience, I’m trying to determine the appropriate salary for roles as a business analyst in the Boston area. Can you offer any advice regarding the typical salary range for entry-level positions based on your experience in this sector? They should be able to share their broader expertise without feeling pressured to reveal personal information in response to a question like this.

If you don’t have a mentor, supervisor, friend, or family member in your field, you might be able to find people through other networks who would be willing to help you. You could, for instance, use the alumni mentor network at your college.

3. Check out professional associations

Most people don’t think of professional associations very often because they provide membership and support for people in the same career field. Typically, these organizations collect pertinent salary data, highlight trends, and provide additional salary tools specific to that industry.

Non-members may have access to their information, and students may be eligible for discounted memberships. A free student membership in the American Society of Civil Engineers, for instance, gives students access to regional entry-level salaries for civil engineers (score!).

If a professional association does not conduct their own salary surveys, they may share relevant salary research from other reputable sources, such as this helpful article from the American Marketing Association, which provides salary ranges for specific roles and describes the overall compensation landscape for marketers.

4. Find first destination data

If you just graduated or are about to, your college probably has graduate/career outcomes data, also known as first destination data. It usually comes from a survey that is taken every year to find out where former students are six months after graduating.

Fortunately, this includes their salaries, which can serve as a useful benchmark! A general average entry-level salary may be made public by some colleges, while others may break it down by major or industry.

NACE offers similar free reports if the data are difficult to locate through your college. In their first destination data, you can look up average starting salaries by class year, degree level, region, and academic discipline.

5. Anticipate your budget

There will be a lot of new things to think about if this is your first full-time job and you are also making other first-time life moves! Take some time to figure out how your expected cost of living will compare to your future salary. This way, when you hear a salary figure, you can be confident that you will be able to pay your rent and know that it is within a reasonable range for your experience and background.

You might want to think about the following questions:

  • How much is the average rent in the area?
  • How much will you have to pay toward a car, insurance, or public transportation fees?
  • How about monthly student loan payments and other debt?
  • How much do you expect you’ll need to spend every month on food? What about other basics like cleaning supplies or toilet paper?
  • Will you be moving from a family health insurance plan to your own (which means paycheck deductions)?
  • What will your take-home pay be after taxes? (You can use this tool to estimate!)
  • What would you like to save?
  • How much do you want to spend on leisure activities or hobbies?
  • Have you factored in some wiggle room for miscellaneous one-time expenses? (You’ll need furniture for your new apartment!)
  • Do you have an emergency fund or will you be working to save one up?

5 tips to achieve your target of entry level salary

You need to find a job that will actually pay you that much in order to understand how your time and expertise may be valued. Knowing the compensation landscape is essential. Here are a few quick hints to help:

  1. When possible, filter by experience level and salary when searching for jobs
  2. Show you’re an ideal match
  3. Showcase your additional strengths
  4. Prepare for salary-related questions and discussions
  5. Learn about negotiation

1. When possible, filter by experience level and salary when searching for jobs

You can use job search engines that let you filter jobs by salary and experience (so you can, for instance, look for entry-level accounting jobs with salaries above $45,000). 

Assuming you have an objective compensation as a primary concern, you can focus on your application endeavors on passage level jobs that match your compensation assumptions and skip concentrating intensely on those that don’t. One preventative note: Since not all job postings include salary information, this kind of filter might miss opportunities that might be a good fit.

2. Show you’re an ideal match

Throughout the hiring process, show that you are an excellent fit for the position. This way, employers will be more likely to see that you are deserving of a solid offer at the top of their pay range. So, how can you start this off right? 

Make sure that everyone who reads your resume and cover letter understands that you possess the qualifications they are looking for by customizing them. Prepare to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are an ideal candidate for the position, and ensure that you are prepared to respond to common interview questions with this in mind.

3. Showcase your additional strengths

Check to see if you have any additional, highly desirable skills, qualifications, or experience that you can bring to the position. Do you have any particular achievements that set you apart? 

Do you have in-depth knowledge of a tool or piece of software that is required or could be useful? It is essential to emphasize any additional skills you bring to the table, such as your knowledge of Tableau and your capacity to significantly enhance their data analytics.

4. Prepare for salary-related questions and discussions

Do this prior to anticipating receiving an offer. Learn how to respond to interview questions about salary expectations and (possibly illegal) salary history, as well as common salary lines that can surprise you and disadvantage you. Prepare ahead of time!

5. Learn about negotiation

When you get an offer, the salary may not always be in the range you anticipated based on your research. Negotiation discussions are extremely helpful in this situation. Negotiation can be a bit intimidating and mysterious. By reviewing salary negotiation tips, you can learn what it is all about and how to do it well, taking some of the guesswork out of the process.

How do you decide whether or not to negotiate your offer? What about whether or not to accept it?

If the employer doesn’t tell you upfront that there is a hard salary cap or if you know that all new graduates start at the same base salary at this company, I highly recommend negotiating (yes, even for an entry-level position).

I can imagine your anxiety regarding this. Knowing that most employers expect candidates to negotiate and seeing what the company thinks from their perspective can help people feel more at ease, in my opinion. Because you didn’t ask for more, you might have missed out on benefits or money. Therefore, you should generally attempt to negotiate, particularly if your research indicates that the range ought to be higher.

Consider the entire compensation package, including any benefits provided by the company. For instance, do they provide affordable employee health insurance, 401(k) matching, or a company car? Is it possible to earn substantial commissions or receive a significant annual bonus? Beyond salary, consider the following aspects, which may be subject to negotiation, that could make your overall offer more appealing:

  • Start date
  • Relocation and/or moving expenses
  • Signing bonus
  • Work schedule (hours or days of the week)
  • Remote, hybrid, or flexible work
  • Position location (if they have multiple offices)

When looked at as a whole, an offer with a lower salary might be more valuable. Even if the first-year pay is higher, keep in mind what a signing bonus or other one-time bonus would mean in the long run and keep in mind that raises are frequently calculated as a percentage of your base salary. As a result, a lower base salary could mean slower long-term compensation growth.

Be aware that you might not always be able to negotiate your desired salary or increase your overall compensation package. Consider how this position may align with other objectives, such as whether it is your ideal job or in a convenient location for family and friends, before declining any offer.

What if, according to your research, your salary offer is very competitive and even generous, and it includes everything you desire? Excellent, and congrats! There is absolutely no need for you to negotiate before you accept the offer.

It’s exciting to get ready for your first job, and hopefully these suggestions will take some of the stress and guesswork out of figuring out the salary. To establish a solid understanding of your value, needs, and potential areas to maximize your offer, try any or all of the aforementioned methods. I can assure you that accepting your first full-time job will boost your confidence significantly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How much does an entry level in United States make?

In the United States, the average annual salary for an Entry Level is $38,218. To view Entry-Level salaries in your area, sort by location. Estimates of salaries are based on 1905 anonymous Entry Level employee salaries submitted to Glassdoor.

What is the highest salary for an entry level in United States?

The highest salary for an Entry Level in United States is $59,528 per year.

What is the lowest salary for an entry level in United States?

The lowest salary for an Entry Level in United States is $24,537 per year.

Leave a Comment