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The Best-Paying, Fastest-Growing Jobs in Each State

John Csiszar

If you’re looking for a new job, a good place to start is checking lists of the best-paying jobs. To improve your chances of finding the right job, you might also want to cross-reference that list with a compilation of the fastest-growing jobs. This way, you’ll be fishing in a pond that is stocked with lots of opportunities and pay.

To help out, GOBankingRates used data from CareerBuilder to determine jobs with the highest projected growth rates over the next five years. The data was cross-referenced with state salary information gathered from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for those particular jobs. We also took a look at the current number of open jobs in those industries as listed on CareerBuilder. 

All data has been sorted by state. Thus, you can see at a glance what the best-paying, fastest-growing job is in each individual state plus the District of Columbia, along with the median pay for that industry in case you’re looking to make a career change.

Last updated: Oct. 2, 2019  

Alabama

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers
  • Alabama annual mean wage: $96,400

Software developers help create and design computer programs for businesses. As of publication, 304 software developer job openings in Alabama were listed on CareerBuilder. The number of software developer jobs in the state is expected to rise by 17% between 2018 and 2023, which translates into 1,072 new jobs over that time period.

Alaska

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Registered nurses
  • Alaska annual mean wage: $89,310

The duties of a registered nurse are extensive and often life-saving. RNs are tasked with doing anything and everything within their power to provide care and support to patients. This high-paying career is growing rapidly in Alaska, where 914 RN jobs are expected to be created between 2018 and 2023. That equals a five-year growth rate of 16%.

Arizona

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Nurse practitioners
  • Arizona annual mean wage: $110,750

Nurse practitioners are qualified to assess and provide patient care without the oversight of a doctor. As such, they are critical components of patient care when no doctors are available. The projected five-year growth rate of this industry is 25% in Arizona, with 839 additional jobs expected to be created from 2018-2023.

 

Arkansas

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physical therapists
  • Arkansas annual mean wage: $81,430

If you’re looking for a job as a physical therapist, Arkansas is a good place to look. The number of physical therapist jobs in the state is expected to grow 21% between 2018 and 2023, equaling 432 new opportunities. Physical therapists earn a high wage in exchange for helping rehab patients with physical disabilities.

California

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Occupational therapy assistants
  • California annual mean wage: $67,470

Occupational therapy assistants are not the highest-paid workers in California, but it’s still an inviting profession. The number of jobs in the field is expected to climb 29% from 2018-2023, amounting to 626 new opportunities. It’s one of the few top-paying jobs that workers can qualify for with just an associate’s degree.

Colorado

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Operations research analysts
  • Colorado annual mean wage: $90,270

Operations research analysts use mathematical modeling and other methods to help management make informed decisions. These analysts prepare, review and maintain items ranging from purchase orders and product specifications to contracts, budgets and logistics networks. An estimated 301 operations research analyst jobs should be added in Colorado from 2018-2023, representing a five-year growth rate of 27%.

Connecticut

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Nurse practitioners
  • Connecticut annual mean wage: $118,020

Nurse practitioners in Connecticut earn a high wage that’s nearly double the median of all jobs in the state — and the occupation is growing at a solid rate. The number of nurse practitioner jobs in Connecticut should rise by 16% between 2018 and 2023, which translates into an additional 376 openings.

Delaware

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Securities, commodities and financial services sales agents
  • Delaware annual mean wage: $87,390

Jobs for securities, commodities and financial services sales agents are experiencing tremendous growth in Delaware, with an additional 461 expected to be added from 2018-2023. This amounts to a 21% growth rate. These agents earn more than 60% above the median wage for all occupations in the state.

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District of Columbia

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • District of Columbia annual mean wage: $112,510

Software developers are in high demand in most of the U.S., but particularly so in the nation’s capital. This six-digit career is projected to see a 26% five-year growth rate in D.C., translating to an additional 746 jobs by 2023.

Florida

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Medical scientists, except epidemiologists
  • Florida annual mean wage: $82,990

Medical scientists conduct experiments and lab research designed to improve the country’s health. Duties include conducting and analyzing clinical trials and preparing reports for analysis and peer review. The occupation is expected to grow 25% in Florida from 2018-2023, with an estimated 600 new jobs coming online during that period.

Georgia

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Film and video editors
  • Georgia annual mean wage: $64,470

Film and video editors don’t earn the highest salaries in the land, but that might change due to the rising demand for their services. In Georgia, jobs in this field are expected to increase by a whopping 49% from 2018-2023, amounting to 777 additional jobs.

 

Hawaii

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physical therapists
  • Hawaii annual mean wage: $90,540

Hawaii is an expensive state, but if you get a job there as a physical therapist, you should have no problem affording the cost of living. The number of physical therapist jobs in Hawaii is expected to climb by 12% between 2018 and 2023. This projects out to 134 new jobs by 2023.

Idaho

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Market research analysts and marketing specialists
  • Idaho annual mean wage: $53,500

At $53,500 per year, the annual mean salary for market research analysts and marketing specialists in Idaho might seem low to be on a list of high-paying jobs. However, these professionals earn 23% above the median wage for all occupations in the state. Openings in the field are projected to rise by 22% from 2018-2023, creating 420 new jobs in the process.

 

Illinois

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physician assistants
  • Illinois annual mean wage: $108,260

Physician assistants act as the right hand for doctors, performing a wide variety of medical procedures and examinations on behalf of or in conjunction with the supervising physician. Physician assistants are paid well for their efforts in Illinois, averaging over $100,000 a year. Approximately 481 new physician assistant jobs are anticipated to be created in the state from 2018-2023, translating to a 17% five-year growth rate.

Indiana

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physician assistants
  • Indiana annual mean wage: $96,090

Indiana is another state where physician assistants are in demand, although their average yearly salaries don’t quite crack the $100,000 barrier. Jobs in the field are expected to grow by 23% in Indiana from 2018-2023, resulting in 325 additional opportunities.

Iowa

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physician assistants
  • Iowa annual mean wage: $110,550

Physician assistants are also in high demand in Iowa — and paid very well for the work they do. Physician assistants average well more than double the state’s annual mean wage of $46,150. This occupation is expected to grow 18% in Iowa from 2018-2023, opening up an additional 191 jobs.

Kansas

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Kansas annual mean wage: $85,380

Kansas might not be the first state you think of when you hear the words “software developer,” but those working in this fast-growing field earn nearly double the state’s mean annual wage. More than 1,100 new software developer jobs are anticipated to come to the state from 2018-2023, representing a 19% growth rate.

Kentucky

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physician assistants
  • Kentucky annual mean wage: $91,010

Add Kentucky to the list of states where physician assistants are both in-demand and well-paid. If you’re looking for a physician assistant job in the state, you can anticipate 169 new openings to pop up from 2018-2023, giving the occupation a 16% five-year growth rate. Salaries are more than double the average paid for all occupations in Kentucky.

Louisiana

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Louisiana annual mean wage: $81,640

Louisiana is a good state to be in for software developers. Not only can you earn nearly double the state average salary, but the number of jobs in the field is expected to grow by 29% from 2018-2023. That translates into 525 new software developer jobs opening up in Louisiana.

 

Maine

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Maine annual mean wage: $90,190

If it seems like software development is the place to be, you’re right — it’s the hottest occupation in a large number of states. In Maine, the occupation’s projected growth rate is 15% from 2018-2023. This amounts to 272 new software development jobs during that time period.

Maryland

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Flight attendants
  • Maryland annual mean wage: $56,000*

The primary function of a flight attendant is to ensure the safety of passengers onboard. Secondarily, flight attendants look after the overall comfort of passengers. In Maryland, 252 new flight attendant jobs are expected to be added between 2018 and 2023, resulting in a 19% five-year growth rate.

*National average; no state-specific data available from BLS

Massachusetts

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Computer and information research scientists
  • Massachusetts annual mean wage: $116,920

Computer and information research scientists in Massachusetts earn among the highest average salaries on this list, at nearly $117,000 per year. As of publication, more than 1,000 of these high-wage jobs were posted on CareerBuilder for Massachusetts. An additional 191 are expected to be added in the state from 2018-2023, resulting in a five-year growth rate of 18%.

 

Michigan

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Occupational therapy assistants
  • Michigan annual mean wage: $52,410

Occupational therapy assistants earn one of the lowest average wages on our list, coming in a bit above $50,000 a year in Michigan. However, that’s still above the state’s median wage and the field is growing rapidly. An estimated 225 new occupational therapy assistant jobs are expected to come to Michigan from 2018-2023, representing a five-year growth rate of 19%.

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Minnesota

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physician assistants
  • Minnesota annual mean wage: $116,200

Looking for a job that will grow by 20% over the next several years? Try being a physician’s assistant in Minnesota, where the field should add 441 more jobs by 2023. Salaries for physician assistants in Minnesota are more than double the state’s mean annual wage.

Mississippi

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Mississippi annual mean wage: $85,470

Software developers are in an enviable position in many states, and Mississippi is one of them. With a projected growth rate of 23% from 2018-2023, software development jobs in Mississippi should increase by 254 during that time frame. Pay is extremely high for software developers in a state with an annual mean wage of only $39,420.

Missouri

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Missouri annual mean wage: $93,880

Missouri already has a lot of software developers — nearly 16,000, according to the BLS — but nearly 2,800 more are expected to be added in the Show-Me State by 2023. This amounts to a five-year job growth rate of 19%. As in other states, software developers earn a high salary in Missouri — nearly double the statewide average.

Montana

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Montana annual mean wage: $87,120

Software developers also take top billing in the Big Sky State, where jobs are expected to grow by 24% from 2018-2023, resulting in an additional 241 positions. In addition to rapid growth, the software development field pays very well. Developers in Montana average about twice the mean annual wage for all occupations in the state.

Nebraska

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physical therapists
  • Nebraska annual mean wage: $80,130

As in many states, physical therapists are in high demand in Nebraska, with 308 additional jobs expected to come online from 2018-2023. That represents a 20% five-year growth rate in the field. Physical therapists here earn considerably more than the state’s average yearly income of $46,710. At the time of publication, there were more than 30 physical therapist jobs listed on CareerBuilder for Nebraska.

Nevada

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Nevada annual mean wage: $105,640

Many people think of the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas when someone mentions Nevada, but the state is also home to some pretty glamorous, high-paying tech jobs. Software developers reign supreme here, earning a six-figure salary that’s well more than double the state’s annual mean wage. These jobs are anticipated to grow by about 25% from 2018-2023 in Nevada, translating into 911 additional jobs.

New Hampshire

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • New Hampshire annual mean wage: $110,740

New Hampshire’s software developers pull down more than double the state’s average yearly wage. Another 1,078 software developer jobs are expected to become available in the state by 2023, representing a five-year growth of 18%.

New Jersey

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physical therapist assistants
  • New Jersey annual mean wage: $68,000

Physical therapist assistants aren’t full-fledged physical therapists, but they still pull down a respectable salary in a rapidly growing industry. In New Jersey, CareerBuilder listed more than 80 job openings for physical therapist assistants at the time of publication. The profession is expected to grow by 28% from 2018-2023, representing 419 new jobs in the Garden State.

New Mexico

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • New Mexico annual mean wage: N/A

Software developers in New Mexico are in high demand, with 305 new jobs expected to become available between 2018 and 2023. That represents a five-year growth rate of 21%. Although salary data for the job is not available in New Mexico, the mean annual wage for software developers nationwide is $108,080.

New York

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physical therapist assistants
  • New York annual mean wage: $52,720

Physical therapist assistants in New York actually earn less than the mean state wage by about $9,000 a year. However, the field is growing rapidly, with 1,224 jobs expected to be added between 2018 and 2023, representing a five-year growth rate of 27%. At the time of publication, CareerBuilder showed 119 jobs available for physical therapist assistants in New York.

North Carolina

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • North Carolina annual mean wage: $103,280

North Carolina’s software developers are in a good position financially, earning well more than double the state’s mean annual wage of $47,200. If you’re a software developer looking for a job, consider the Tar Heel State, where the high-paying industry is set to welcome an additional 5,257 jobs by 2023, a five-year gain of 19%.

North Dakota

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • North Dakota annual mean wage: $80,620

North Dakota has never been known as a hot spot for tech workers, but one of the state’s fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs is that of a software developer. Software developers in North Dakota easily outearn the average worker in the state, and the field is expected to add 180 jobs from 2018-2023, a five-year gain of 17%.

Ohio

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physician assistants
  • Ohio annual mean wage: $105,410

Physician assistants in Ohio earn more than twice as much as the state’s mean annual wage of $48,220. An estimated 545 new physician assistant jobs are expected to come to the Buckeye State between 2018 and 2023, for a five-year growth rate of 17%.

Oklahoma

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Rotary drill operators, oil and gas
  • Oklahoma annual mean wage: $57,620

Befitting an oil-rich state like Oklahoma, the fastest-growing high-paying jobs in the state are rotary drill operators for the oil and gas industry. An additional 338 jobs in the field are expected to be added by 2023, representing a five-year growth rate of 17%. Salaries for these workers are about 30% above the statewide average of $44,220 a year.

Oregon

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Postsecondary teachers
  • Oregon annual mean wage: $76,450*

Demand is rising for postsecondary teachers in Oregon, with an estimated 4,840 job openings between 2018 and 2023, for a five-year growth rate of 24%. Salaries in this profession are roughly 47% above the average wage for all occupations in Oregon.

*For English & Literature postsecondary teachers

Pennsylvania

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Nurse practitioners
  • Pennsylvania annual mean wage: $98,250

Nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania earn nearly double the statewide average for all occupations. More than 1,000 nurse practitioner jobs are expected to open up in the state through 2023, a five-year gain of 17%. As of publication, about 1,400 nurse practitioner job openings in Pennsylvania were listed on CareerBuilder.

Rhode Island

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Rhode Island annual mean wage: $96,850

Rhode Island is another state where software developers can earn nearly $100,000 per year. Even the smallest state in the country is expected to need another 307 software developers by 2023, representing a five-year gain of 14%. About 100 such openings in Rhode Island were listed on CareerBuilder at the time of publication.

South Carolina

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • South Carolina annual mean wage: $90,830

Demand for software developers is booming in South Carolina, with 1,337 jobs expected to open between 2018 and 2023. That represents a 26% gain over that period. Salaries are high in this tech-related field, with the average software developer pocketing more than double the state’s annual mean wage.

South Dakota

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • South Dakota annual mean wage: $75,000

South Dakota is another state brimming with opportunities for software developers, with job openings in the field expected to grow by 19% from 2018-2023. These 203 additional jobs carry high wages as well, paying nearly 80% above the South Dakota state average.

Tennessee

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Tennessee annual mean wage: $87,630

Software developers rule the roost in Tennessee, earning about double the state average and benefiting from ample job opportunities. As of publication, more than 600 openings in the field were listed on CareerBuilder for Tennessee. A total of 1,747 new software developer jobs are expected to open up in the Volunteer State by 2023, representing a 24% five-year growth rate.

Texas

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Nurse practitioners
  • Texas annual mean wage: $111,060

Everything’s bigger in Texas — especially salaries and job openings for nurse practitioners. Pulling down more than $111,000 per year, nurse practitioners make well more than double the Texas state average of $49,720 a year. The Lone Star State is expected to add 2,841 nurse practitioner jobs between 2018 and 2023, for a five-year growth rate of 25%.

Utah

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Producers and directors
  • Utah annual mean wage: $67,800

Want an exciting job in show business without having to live in Los Angeles? Check out Utah, where producer and director jobs are estimated to grow by 28% between 2018 and 2023. This translates to an additional 302 job openings in this field, which pays about 41% more than the Utah state mean annual wage of $47,920.

Vermont

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • Vermont annual mean wage: $97,720

Vermont’s software developers are in an enviable spot, pulling down nearly $100,000 per year and with job security to boot. An estimated 196 additional software developer jobs are expected to become available in Vermont from 2018-2023, for a five-year growth rate of 19%.

Virginia

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physician assistants
  • Virginia annual mean wage: $99,340

Virginia may be for lovers — at least according to the state’s marketing slogan — but it’s also a great place to look for a physician assistant’s job. An expected growth rate of 19% from 2018-2023 should bring 538 new physician assistant jobs to Virginia in the coming years. Wages are great to boot, coming in just shy of $100,000 and well above the state average of $55,310 a year.

Washington

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Nurse practitioners
  • Washington annual mean wage: $117,650

The Pacific Northwest is home to a rapidly growing field of high-paying jobs, and nurse practitioners are among them. Nurse practitioners in Washington not only earn high salaries, but there should also be plenty of opportunities, with an estimated 743 jobs to be added between 2018 and 2023. That translates into a five-year growth rate of 22%. Although Washington is a high-income state overall, nurse practitioners here earn nearly double the statewide average.

West Virginia

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Software developers, applications
  • West Virginia annual mean wage: $87,490

West Virginia is a lower-income state overall, but try telling that to its software developers. While the average yearly salary in the state is $42,370, software developers earn more than double that. The number of these jobs in West Virginia are expected to grow by 22% between 2018 and 2023, equating to an additional 306 openings.

Wisconsin

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Physician assistants
  • Wisconsin annual mean wage: $107,920

Wisconsin might be known for its cheese, brats and football, but it’s also a great state if you’re a physician’s assistant. Salaries are well above $100,000, meaning Wisconsin’s physician assistants earn well more than double the statewide average of $47,350. An estimated 331 physician assistant jobs are expected to be added in Wisconsin through 2023, representing a five-year growth rate of 17%.

Wyoming

  • Fastest-growing high-wage job: Business operations specialists, all other
  • Wyoming annual mean wage: $74,090*

Wyoming is one of the few states not dominated by software developers or medical workers. Here, business operations specialists represent the fastest-growing high-paying job, with an average annual salary of more than 50% above the state average. The projected growth rate isn’t huge, however, at only 7% between 2018 and 2023, or 98 additional jobs.

*2017 data

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