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The Most Wanted Jobs in Every State

·11 min read

Supply and demand is a basic economic principle that applies to almost any type of market, and the labor market is no exception. Simply put, you could be the best mime who ever lived, but you’re probably not going to pull down as much as an average NBA player. If the demand doesn’t exist for your particular skill set, it’s unlikely that employers will offer as much in salary or benefits — especially when they need those resources to attract top candidates in other fields where they’re scrambling to fill openings. And that’s something you definitely need to keep in mind when considering a profession. Sure, it’s a consideration alongside things like your personal passion or abilities, but it’s one you shouldn’t overlook lest you end up working too hard for too little for years to come.

That’s why GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to conduct a study of the most in-demand professions in each state. By pairing the projected growth rate of positions in that state with the average annual salary for the position, the study whittled it down to the one job in each state that’s currently growing the fastest and paying the most. That combination means that each of these positions isn’t just one where there’s a lot of new openings, but one where employers are also throwing more money into snapping up the best candidates.

So, here’s a closer look at the most wanted job in every state, ranked by how each state’s most wanted job ranks compared to those elsewhere.

Last updated: Sept. 1, 2020

50. Alabama

  • Most wanted job: Information security analyst

  • Average annual salary: $92,500

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 37.2%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 112,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

49. Oklahoma

  • Most wanted job: Home health aide

  • Average annual salary: $23,380

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 36.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 3,253,000

  • Typical entry-level education: High school or equivalent

48. Maryland

  • Most wanted job: Photographer

  • Average annual salary: $39,640

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 75.3%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 132,100

  • Typical entry-level education: High school or equivalent

47. Idaho

  • Most wanted job: Respiratory therapist

  • Average annual salary: $57,700

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 51.7%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 134,000

  • Typical entry-level education: Associate’s degree

46. South Dakota

  • Most wanted job: Software developer, applications

  • Average annual salary: $75,000

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 29.1%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,365,504

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

45. Hawaii

  • Most wanted job: Software developer, applications

  • Average annual salary: $84,340

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 27.7%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,365,500

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

44. Mississippi

  • Most wanted job: Software developer, applications

  • Average annual salary: $85,470

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 27.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,365,502

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

43. Kansas

  • Most wanted job: Information security analyst

  • Average annual salary: $86,160

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 30.3%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 112,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

42. Pennsylvania

  • Most wanted job: Statistician

  • Average annual salary: $85,180

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 33.1%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 47,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

41. Colorado

  • Most wanted job: Interpreter and translator

  • Average annual salary: $70,050

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 54.1%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 76,100

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

40. North Dakota

  • Most wanted job: Rotary drill operator, oil and gas

  • Average annual salary: $66,440

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 60.0%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 19,300

  • Typical entry-level education: None

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39. Iowa

  • Most wanted job: Operations research analyst

  • Average annual salary: $81,990

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 39.7%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 109,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

38. Nebraska

  • Most wanted job: Information security analyst

  • Average annual salary: $84,540

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 38.2%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 112,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

37. Wisconsin

  • Most wanted job: Veterinarian

  • Average annual salary: $90,120

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 34.4%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 84,500

  • Typical entry-level education: Doctoral or professional degree

36. Vermont

  • Most wanted job: Software developer, applications

  • Average annual salary: $97,720

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 25.5%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,365,507

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

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35. Rhode Island

  • Most wanted job: Software developer, applications

  • Average annual salary: $96,850

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 28.4%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,365,503

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

34. Missouri

  • Most wanted job: Information security analyst

  • Average annual salary: $91,210

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 41.9%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 112,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

33. Kentucky

  • Most wanted job: Nurse practitioner

  • Average annual salary: $99,790

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 32.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 240,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

32. Minnesota

  • Most wanted job: Statistician

  • Average annual salary: $95,930

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 39.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 47,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

31. West Virginia

  • Most wanted job: Nurse practitioner

  • Average annual salary: $100,690

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 33.6%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 240,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

30. New York

  • Most wanted job: Solar photovoltaic installer

  • Average annual salary: $48,630

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 104.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 9,702

  • Typical entry-level education: High school or equivalent

29. Tennessee

  • Most wanted job: Software developer, applications

  • Average annual salary: $87,630

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 52.5%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,365,505

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

28. Ohio

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $105,410

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 30.9%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

27. Arkansas

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $99,280

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 39.3%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

26. Louisiana

  • Most wanted job: Software developer, applications

  • Average annual salary: $81,640

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 63.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,365,501

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

25. Connecticut

  • Most wanted job: Statistician

  • Average annual salary: $101,820

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 37.0%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 47,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

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24. New Jersey

  • Most wanted job: Solar photovoltaic installer

  • Average annual salary: $55,140

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 101.1%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 9,701

  • Typical entry-level education: High school or equivalent

23. Montana

  • Most wanted job: Nurse practitioner

  • Average annual salary: $103,510

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 37.3%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 240,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

22. Maine

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $110,030

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 28.9%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

21. Alaska

  • Most wanted job: Dental hygienist

  • Average annual salary: $114,320

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 23.4%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 219,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Associate’s degree

20. Indiana

  • Most wanted job: Nurse practitioner

  • Average annual salary: $103,200

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 38.7%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 240,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

19. North Carolina

  • Most wanted job: Statistician

  • Average annual salary: $101,010

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 42.0%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 47,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

18. New Mexico

  • Most wanted job: Information security analyst

  • Average annual salary: $106,360

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 36.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 112,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

17. South Carolina

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $103,710

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 40.5%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

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16. Illinois

  • Most wanted job: Nurse practitioner

  • Average annual salary: $105,800

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 38.3%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 240,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

15. Georgia

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $103,190

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 42.9%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

14. Massachusetts

  • Most wanted job: Statistician

  • Average annual salary: $108,670

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 36.2%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 47,300

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

13. Texas

  • Most wanted job: Wind turbine service technician

  • Average annual salary: $55,340

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 109.1%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 6,600

  • Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award

12. Virginia

  • Most wanted job: Nurse practitioner

  • Average annual salary: $105,170

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 43.7%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 240,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

11. New Hampshire

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $111,080

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 36.1%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,801

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

10. Michigan

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $110,240

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 37.7%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

9. Oregon

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $113,570

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 38.6%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

8. California

  • Most wanted job: Solar photovoltaic installer

  • Average annual salary: $46,390

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 130.6%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 9,700

  • Typical entry-level education: High school or equivalent

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7. Florida

  • Most wanted job: Physician assistant

  • Average annual salary: $105,930

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 49.5%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 118,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

6. Delaware

  • Most wanted job: Personal financial advisor

  • Average annual salary: $126,880

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 31.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 271,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

5. Wyoming

  • Most wanted job: Petroleum engineer

  • Average annual salary: $115,250

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 49.1%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 33,500

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

4. Utah

  • Most wanted job: Software developer, applications

  • Average annual salary: $99,070

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 71.4%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,365,506

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

3. Arizona

  • Most wanted job: Nurse practitioner

  • Average annual salary: $110,750

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 57.7%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 240,700

  • Typical entry-level education: Master’s degree

2. Nevada

  • Most wanted job: Electrical and electronic equipment assembler

  • Average annual salary: $32,990

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 207.5%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 1,868,100

  • Typical entry-level education: High school or equivalent

1. Washington

  • Most wanted job: Marketing manager

  • Average annual salary: $155,580

  • Projected job growth from 2006-2026: 67.8%

  • Number of jobs in 2018: 286,800

  • Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: For every state, GOBankingRates found the 10 occupations with the highest projected growth rate between 2016 and 2026, according to Projections Central (funded by the U.S. Department of Labor). To screen out niche occupations, GOBankingRates excluded all occupations with fewer than 500 employed in 2016. Then, each occupation was scored against the others in its state on its: 1) projected growth rate and 2) average annual wage as of May 2018, according to the BLS. Each occupation was then assigned a total score (the sum of its score in the two categories above). The “most wanted” job in each state was determined to be the occupation with the best total score. To be included in the ranking, occupations had to have information available on both their projected growth rate and average annual wage. All data was compiled on and up-to-date as of Feb. 4, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Most Wanted Jobs in Every State