What are Entry-Level Jobs?

wiseGEEK Writer

Entry-level jobs are available in many professions and they can be considered the starting point in pursuing a particular career. It’s often incorrectly assumed that entry-level jobs don’t require very much education. Actually, there are a number of careers with entry level work or starting points that presume people have a certain amount of education, which may depend on the type of profession. The biggest distinction is that people in a designated entry-level job don’t need as much work experience and usually won’t reap as many benefits or have as much authority as those with more experience. It is a place to start and a place from which a person works toward midlevel or advanced career opportunities.

Waiting tables is an entry-level job in many restaurants.
Waiting tables is an entry-level job in many restaurants.

There are some fields that do have few requirements for entry-level employees. In industries like manufacturing, food production, or service industries, most employers might want people to have a high school diploma or equivalent, and demonstrate good work habits. Some people in these fields continue to learn and advance, and might later hold positions with higher authority, and frequently greater pay. Becoming a manufacturing lead, supervising other workers at a restaurant, or ultimately being promoted to head waiter are ways people may move from entry-level jobs to ones needing more experience.

Certain entry-level jobs require significant education.
Certain entry-level jobs require significant education.

Some industries don’t have paid entry-level jobs, which can make great economic sense for a company. Instead, companies look for interns with specific types of experience who will fill what would normally be considered entry-level work. When people can afford to take an internship of this type, it may prove useful since it provides valuable experience that may later translate into greater career success. That being said, not everyone can afford to work unpaid, and this option is often not only unattractive but impractical for some workers.

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Certain entry-level jobs require significant education. Those who would be lawyers, professors, therapists, or others usually begin at the bottom by takings jobs as associates, assistants, or interns. Such people have significant training, but will have to prove themselves in starting positions before moving on. These jobs usually pay less than mid-level employment and they often are demanding, but they also offer people an opportunity to gain experience, which can then be parlayed into more satisfying work in the future.

It’s not always clear how long someone stays at entry-level. Some people might work an entry-level job for a lifetime and others either move on or move up depending on the reputation they build and the know-how they acquire. Even entry-level positions do come with occasional raises, which can make staying at one of these jobs acceptable. On the other hand, most of these jobs are supposed to be the entryway, the foot in the door that helps launch a career, and when employees are able to take advantage of training and willing to work hard, such work can lead to more exciting career prospects.

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