Highest Paying Jobs in Texas

A Credit Karma Study

Updated

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The highest-paying jobs in the Lone Star State compete quite well with highest paying jobs in other states. The highest paying job in Texas — cardiologist — earns a cool $361,990 a year on average. In fact, the top five highest-paying jobs in Texas are all doctors of some kind.

To identify the highest paying jobs in Texas, Credit Karma compiled and analyzed a variety of publicly available datasets from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The five highest paying jobs in Texas are:

  • Cardiologists: $361,990
  • Ophthalmologists (non-pediatric): $337,120
  • Dermatologists: $321,600
  • Orthopedic surgeons, (non-pediatric): $314,970
  • Obstetricians and gynecologists: $292,560

But Texas still has a lot of other high-paying positions outside of medicine. Read on for details.

Highest paying jobs in Texas

In Texas, as in the vast majority of states, jobs in the “Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations” group are among the top highest paying jobs in the state. This group includes positions like school nurses and dental hygienists, but it’s doctors — specifically medical specialists —   who command most of the top salaries.

This table shows the highest-paying job in Texas for each of BLS’s major occupational groups.

Major occupational group Occupation title Annual mean wage

Healthcare practitioners and technical

Cardiologists

$361,990

Management

Chief executives

$264,210

Transportation and material moving

Airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers

$210,160

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

Athletes and sports competitors

$186,980

Architecture and engineering

Chemical engineers

$164,470

Life, physical, and social science

Physicists

$152,660

Legal

Lawyers

$150,350

Educational instruction and library

Health specialties teachers (postsecondary)

$148,800

Computer and mathematical

Computer and information research scientists

$146,180

Sales and related

Sales engineers

$118,490

Business and financial operations

Personal financial advisors

$110,450

Protective service

First-line supervisors of police and detectives

$93,430

Production

Gas plant operators

$88,820

Installation, maintenance, and repair

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers, transportation equipment

$83,470

Construction and extraction

Construction and building inspectors

$75,980

Healthcare support

Occupational therapy assistants

$70,770

Community and social service

Directors, religious activities and Education

$69,890

Office and administrative support

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

$64,040

Personal care and service

Gambling service workers

$57,780

Farming, fishing and forestry

Fallers

$52,050

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers

$50,270

Food preparation and serving-related

Chefs and head cooks

$46,260

Texas is one of 10 states in which cardiologists have the highest-paying positions overall, leading all other jobs in the “healthcare practitioners and technical occupations” group with an annual mean wage of $361,990. In the “management occupations” group, the highest-paying job is for chief executives, with an average annual wage of $264,210. And the highest-paying job in the “transportation and material moving occupations” group is airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers, which earn an annual average income of $210,160.

As is the case in 26 other states, lawyers have the highest-paying job in the “legal occupations” group with an average annual pay of $150,350.

Also in line with 32 other states: The highest-paying job within the “protective service occupations” group is first-line supervisors of police and detectives, who bring in an average annual wage of $93,430.

Other notable high-paying jobs in Texas

Here are some other unique findings about Texas’s highest-paying jobs:

  • Directors of religious activities and education: This is the highest-paying job in the “community and social service occupations” category, with an average annual wage of $69,890. In 19 out of 50 states, the highest-paying job in this category is social workers.
  • Gas plant operators: Texas is known for its fossil fuels and energy resources, and gas plant operators earn the highest wages under the “production occupations” group. Their mean annual wage is $88,820.
  • Chemical engineers: Engineers tend to have some of the higher salaries across all 50 states. In Texas, chemical engineers have an average annual wage of $164,470, making this the highest-paying job in the “architecture and engineering occupations” category. Chemical engineer is the highest-paying job under this occupational group in six states.

High-paying jobs and cost of living in Texas

A major factor to keep in mind about Texas is that it has an affordable cost of living compared to the rest of the U.S. Its overall cost of living index score from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) is 92.1, well below the baseline of 100. It ranks as the 15th lowest state in terms of overall cost of living.

This low cost of living can help Texas earnings go further than in other, more expensive states. Plus, there’s no state income tax in Texas to boot — though property taxes are on the higher side compared to the rest of the nation.

It’s worth noting that, for example, food service worker occupations earn an average of $25,950 a year in Texas, which is low compared to $29,450 for the national average. “Healthcare support occupations” also earn less on average in Texas than the national average — $28,470 in Texas versus $33,330 for the country overall. But Texas’s lower cost of living may offset at least some of that difference, depending on where in the state you live.

Our cost of living calculator can help you get a sense how far your salary may — or may not — go in one city or another.

Methodology

To identify the highest-paying jobs in every state, we analyzed all U.S. states, then scored and ranked them based on the following criteria and then compiled a report on Texas specifically:                             

  • Annual mean wage for occupations, with occupations chosen based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) that categorizes an occupational level as “detailed”; other SOC occupation levels such as “major”, “minor”, and “broad” were excluded for being too general in their occupational title.                                 
  • Hourly mean wage for occupations, with occupations chosen based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) that categorizes an occupational level as “detailed”; other SOC occupation levels such as “major”, “minor”, and “broad” were excluded for being too general in their occupational title.

Sources

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Employment Statistics – May 2021