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Published
Sep 20, 2022
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Updated
Sep 21, 2022

Salary Statistics by State and Profession in 2022

Becca Dershowitz

The highest paid state is Massachusetts, and the lowest paid state is Mississippi. In addition, find out which professions are paid the highest and lowest.

Have you ever wondered what the average salary for a worker in the United States is? Income depends on so many factors: level of education, amount of experience, number of working hours, cost of living. In this research piece, we will break down the average salary, by profession and state across the U.S.

What Is the National Average Salary?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary in 2021 was $58,260. This is an increase of $1,950 from 2020. In 2020, with the average national wage was $56,310. 

Average Salary by State

Salaries vary from state to state. The cost of living and the various industries that thrive in a state impact how much money employees are offered. In addition, the local state governments determine rates for minimum wage. 

Highest paid state: Massachusetts

The state with the highest average salary is Massachusetts. The mean annual wage in Massachusetts is $72,940. Despite being the seventh smallest state in the country, Massachusetts is the third most densely populated area in the United States.

Massachusetts also has one of the highest educational attainment levels in the country — which often leads to higher-paying jobs. Another factor to receive a higher salary is the level and years of experience in the role. 

Although not a state, it's worth noting that Washington, D.C.'s annual mean wage is $98,370.

Lowest paid state: Mississippi

The state with the lowest average salary is Mississippi. The mean annual wage in Mississippi is $42,700.

Mississippi happens to be one of the lowest cost of living states, due to factors like low economic output and low educational funding. Economic output per job is low in Mississippi, making it the "least productive" state according to CNBC. Mississippi's funding for K-12 education programs is one of the lowest in the country, according to the Education Data Initiative.

Full list of average salaries by state

Alabama: $48,110

Alaska: $63,480

Arizona: $55,170

Arkansas: $46,500

California: $68,510

Colorado: $62, 900

Connecticut: $66,130

Delaware: $59,820

Florida: $51,950

Georgia: $53.940

Hawaii: $59,760

Idaho: $47,940

Illinois: $59,650

Indiana: $50,440

Iowa: $51,140

Kansas: $49,680

Kentucky: $48,170

Louisiana: $47,740

Maine: $53,230

Maryland: $65,900

Massachusetts: $72,940

Michigan: $55,160

Minnesota: $60,480

Mississippi: $42,700

Missouri: $51,390

Montana: $49,340

Nebraska: $52,110

Nevada: $51,080

New Hampshire: $59,270

New Jersey: $67,120

New Mexico: $51,860

New York: $70,460

North Carolina: $53,100

North Dakota: $53,380

Ohio: $53,170

Oklahoma: $48,360

Oregon: $59,070

Pennsylvania: $55,490

Rhode Island: $62,120

South Carolina: $ 47,490

South Dakota: $46,810

Tennessee: $49,330

Texas: $54,230

Utah: $53,400

Vermont: $55,450

Virginia: $62,330

Washington: $68,740

West Virginia: $46,490

Wisconsin: $53,120

Wyoming: $52,110

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

Top 10 Professions With the Highest Salaries

Here are the top 10 professions with the highest salaries: 

  1. Cardiologists: $353,970
  2. Anesthesiologist: $331,190
  3. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons: $311,460
  4. Emergency Medicine Physicians: $310,640
  5. Orthopedic Surgeons, Except Pediatric: $306,220
  6. Dermatologists: $302,740 
  7. Surgeons: $297,800
  8. Radiologists: $301,720
  9. Obstetricians and Gynecologists: $296,210
  10. Pediatric Surgeons: $290,310

Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

There seems to be a theme for most of the professions with the highest paying salaries. All of the top ten professions fall within the medical/health care field. 

For the nine professions falling under the Physicians and Surgeons category, a medical degree is required. This is typically another four years of schooling in addition to four years of an undergraduate program. This required schooling can cost upwards of $200,000, varying due to institution type and location. After medical school, another three to nine years in internship and residency programs is required, depending on specialty. Most physicians and surgeons work full time — some more than 40 hours per week — and can make ~$120 per hour.  

One of the top ten highest paying professions falls within the Dentistry industry. After completing an undergraduate degree, dentists get a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry/Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Training for a dental specialty can take two to six years to complete. This additional schooling could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Wages vary depending on the dentist’s location, number of hours worked, specialty, and number of years in practice.

Top 10 Professions With the Lowest Salaries

Here are the top 10 professions with the lowest salaries: 

  1. Shampooer: $25,160
  2. Fast food cooks: $25,490
  3. Hosts and Hostesses: $26,000
  4. Fast Food and Counter Workers: $26,060
  5. Amusement and Recreation Attendants: $26,110
  6. Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers: $26,390
  7. Cashiers: $26,770
  8. Recreational protective services (for example, Lifeguards and Ski Patrol): $27,320
  9. Dishwashers: $27,350
  10. Childcare Workers: $27,680

Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

The top ten professions with the lowest salaries span a variety of industries. They vary within the personal care industry, food preparation and serving industry, sales, and protective service occupations.  

These jobs typically pay by the hour. Many are service jobs that require earning tips in order to make a decent income. Many of these jobs also don’t require more than a high school diploma and often offer on-the-job training.

Wrapping Up

Income can have a strong influence on the quality of life for most adults in the U.S. You can leverage this information to inform your career path and where you choose to live. 

With the noticeable wage gap in the U.S., another factor to consider is industry. Having 20 years of experience as a shampooer will still earn a lower salary than those entering a career in the medical/healthcare industry, for example. The industry you work in has a major impact on your annual earnings. 

How does your salary compare to the national average? What about others in your position? You can use our list of salary websites to compare your income and know your worth.

Becca Dershowitz

Becca is a former teacher and Teal's Research Associate.

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