With the cost of living on the rise in many parts of the country, you might be considering a career change.
Although you probably shouldn’t base your career choice solely on salary, it pays to know which positions can help you live comfortably in your state. To help you find those opportunities, GOBankingRates identified the highest-paying jobs in every state, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It probably won’t comes as a surprise to know that many of the most lucrative jobs are based in healthcare.
- Salary: $289,740
An orthodontist’s salary can go far in Alabama, which is one of the states with the lowest cost of living. And Alabama’s orthodontists have the distinction of having the best-paying job on our list, in any state.
Orthodontists make a good salary, but it can cost a lot to earn it. At the University of Alabama-Birmingham, for example, four-year tuition at the School of Dentistry can cost about $109,000. The figure is more like $252,000 for non-Alabama residents paying out-of-state tuition.
- Salary: $265,750
High pediatrician salaries help offset the high cost of living in Alaska. And you’ll benefit from the lack of a state income tax, which makes Alaska one of the states where you can keep more of your paycheck.
- Salary: $284,310
Being an orthodontist in Arizona is the No. 8 top-paying job in the country compared to the other jobs on this list. Overall, it’s one of the highest-paying healthcare jobs.
- Salary: $247,280
Internal medicine specialists in Arkansas benefit from living in a state with one of the lowest cost of living. However, among the highest-paying jobs in every state, an internist in Arkansas makes the second-lowest salary.
- Salary: $283,860
Anesthesiologists in California are among the top-paid professionals in all of the U.S. — their salary ranks No. 9 overall — which is a good thing because California is one of the most expensive states in America.
Colorado: Obstetrician and Gynecologist
- Salary: $277,770
Topping the list of jobs that pay well in Colorado is obstetrician and gynecologist. Although OB-GYNs make a high average salary in the state, the highest-paid public employee in Colorado makes millions.
- Salary: $269,350
Anesthesiologists are at the top of the bunch in the Constitution State, with their high salaries helping to offset the high cost of living. Connecticut has one of the highest living costs in the U.S., and housing in the Northeast state is particularly expensive.
- Salary: $286,400
Delaware surgeons earn a good living — the fourth-highest salary among all the highest-paying jobs in each of the states — but they put in the time to get there. In addition to medical school, surgeons have to endure a residency that is at least five years long.
Florida: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
- Salary: $288,450
The Sunshine State’s oral and maxillofacial surgeons earn the second-highest mean salary of all the highest-paying jobs across the states. Becoming a surgeon in this field requires a four-year graduate degree in dentistry, and a minimum of four years in a general surgery training program.
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- Salary: $280,880
Hawaiian podiatrists make a good salary by any standard, though their income is just above average for the highest-paid jobs in most other states. It’s important to have a healthy income in a state like Hawaii, which is one of the states with the highest cost of living.
Idaho: Obstetrician and Gynecologist
- Salary: $281,710
Idaho obstetricians and gynecologists enjoy a winning combination — high salaries with low living costs.
- Salary: $259,520
Illinois anesthesiologists don’t have the highest average salary on our list — the salary is actually the sixth-lowest. However, it’s still significantly more than what some of the highest-paying tech jobs offer.
- Salary: $273,570
Indiana anesthesiologists earn a salary that ranks toward the middle of this list.
Iowa: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- Salary: $264,910
Iowan salaries for oral and maxillofacial surgeons fall toward the bottom of this ranking, but they enjoy low costs relative to the rest of the nation. The overall Iowan price index comes in about 9 percent below the national average.
- Salary: $278,060
Kansas is one of the states with the lowest cost of living in the country, turning a job that pays well into one of the best jobs you can get. Kansas surgeons will find their money can go a long way in a state with below-average costs in every category, especially housing, averaging almost 23 percent lower than the rest of the nation.
- Salary: $270,300
If you want to earn a medical degree at the University of Kentucky, you should expect to spend over $65,000 a year if you’re a Kentucky resident and over $98,000 if you’re a non-resident. If those costs are too high, check out these other degrees that will pay off after graduation.
- Salary: $284,510
Anesthesiologists are at the top of the income charts in Louisiana, and their mean salary is also high compared to other states: It ranks No. 7 compared to the other highest salaries on this list.
- Salary: $287,030
Maine might be known for its lobster, but it’s also a great place to make a living as a surgeon. At $287,030, surgeons are well compensated for the high costs and long hours of getting a medical education. Their salary is the third-highest of all the highest-paying jobs across the states.
- Salary: $269,590
Surgeons in Maryland make a high salary, but the state’s costs are among the highest in the country. But in general, Maryland is one of the states with the highest incomes.
Massachusetts: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- Salary: $283,350
Maxillofacial surgeons in Massachusetts have to dedicate a large chunk of their salary to the high cost of living in the state. It’s one of the states with especially pricey housing.
- Salary: $281,570
Michigan surgeons earn a great living, with their $281,570 salary.
- Salary: $260,500
Internists in Minnesota earn the eighth-lowest of the highest salary jobs by state.
- Salary: $274,470
Mississippi carries the lowest cost of living of any state in America, so a pediatrician salary will go far.
- Salary: $271,750
Orthodontists, the top-earning workers in Missouri, might not have the highest salary among the 50 states, but Missouri’s cost of living makes that money go much further.
Montana: Obstetrician and Gynecologist
- Salary: $262,060
The Big Sky State is one of four where gynecologists are the top earners — but their mean salary is the 10th-lowest of the highest-salary jobs by state.
- Salary: $283,760
If you want to earn a lot in Nebraska, be a surgeon. With a mean salary of $283,760, Nebraskan surgeons earn the 10th-highest salaries in the country.
- Salary: $268,920
Nevada is one of the states where you can keep more of your paycheck. As a Nevada anesthesiologist, you’ll get to keep more of your $268,920 salary because you won’t have to pay state income tax.
New Hampshire: Physician
- Salary: $275,050
Physicians make the highest salary in New Hampshire, but their annual mean salary only ranks toward the middle of this list.
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New Jersey: Orthodontist
- Salary: $263,880
It’s a long haul to become an orthodontist in New Jersey. In addition to the years of dental school and residency, dental students in New Jersey can expect to pay upward of $47,000 per year on tuition — and more than $77,000 per year for out-of-state students.
New Mexico: Surgeon
- Salary: $281,960
If you’re a surgeon in New Mexico, you’ll earn one of the highest salaries in the whole nation. Costs in New Mexico aren’t bad, either. It’s one of the cheapest states in the country.
New York: Anesthesiologist
- Salary: $271,510
New York anesthesiologists, although highly paid, are not near the top of our list on a country-wide basis.
North Carolina: Surgeon
- Salary: $279,530
You can attend medical school for the princely sum of $57,100 per year at North Carolina’s prestigious Duke University. If you make it through your five-year-plus residency and become a surgeon, you’ll be rewarded with one of the country’s highest salaries.
North Dakota: Anesthesiologist
- Salary: $286,250
Earnings for North Dakota anesthesiologists are higher than earnings for most occupations on this list. In fact, anesthesiologists in the state earn the fifth-highest salary of all the top-paid professionals on this list.
- Salary: $277,020
All workers in Ohio, including anesthesiologists, benefit from the low cost of living in the state. At an average of 7.7 percent below the national average, the state is inexpensive by almost any measure. Housing costs are particularly affordable at 23.2 percent of the national average.
- Salary: $273,020
Oklahoma anesthesiologists enjoy a high average salary coupled with a low cost of living. Oklahoma costs average 10.8 percent below the national average.
Oregon: Obstetrician and Gynecologist
- Salary: $256,100
Oregon OB-GYNs have the fourth-lowest mean salary compared to the others on this list, but $256,100 is still nothing to sneeze at.
- Salary: $267,960
Pennsylvania is one of the many states where being an anesthesiologist will earn you the highest mean salary. The state also boasts one of the finest medical schools in the country, the University of Pennsylvania, where a year’s tuition will set you back over $63,000.
Rhode Island: Surgeon
- Salary: $278,300
Surgeons earn the biggest salaries in the smallest state in the nation. And you might need a surgeon’s salary to live comfortably in Rhode Island.
South Carolina: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- Salary: $267,960
As in many other states, surgeons take top billing on the salary scale in South Carolina, with the mean salary coming in at $267,960.
South Dakota: Anesthesiologist
- Salary: $285,880
South Dakota anesthesiologists undoubtedly welcome the combination of high average salaries and no state income tax. And their salaries are high not just in the state, but compared to other top-paid professionals as well: The mean salary ranks No. 6 on this list.
- Salary: $253,180
Money goes a long way in Tennessee, so anesthesiologists’ $253,180 mean salaries can seem like even more — even though that salary is the third-lowest compared to the others on this list.
- Salary: $261,670
Knocking people out for a living can garner you a knockout salary in Texas. And anesthesiologists get to keep more of that money, because Texas is one of the states with no income tax. However, the mean salary for an anesthesiologist in Texas is the ninth-lowest of the highest-salary jobs by state.
- Salary: $257,800
Utah boasts beautiful scenery and high salaries, especially if you are a dentist. However, at $257,800, Utah dentists have the fifth-lowest mean salaries compared to the other high-paying jobs on this list. But dentistry is a high-paying career that won’t kill you.
- Salary: $277,620
Vermont anesthesiologists are well compensated, but a lot of that money goes to high living expenses. Overall, Vermont’s cost of living is 20.7 percent above the national average, making it one of the most expensive states.
Virginia: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- Salary: $281,130
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons top the charts in terms of highest-paying jobs in Virginia, at $281,130.
- Salary: $260,390
Washington anesthesiologists might need to save more of their high salaries than earners in other states, as living costs can be high.
West Virginia: Physician
- Salary: $239,630
West Virginia physicians carry the highest salaries in the state, but the amount they earn is the lowest of the salaries paid by the other highest-paying jobs on our list. That’s pretty on par with the state as a whole, which has one of the lowest average household income in the U.S.
- Salary: $279,510
At 14 percent above average, Wisconsin’s health costs are among the country’s highest, and they help raise the state’s overall cost profile. Still, the $279,510 mean salary that surgeons enjoy goes a long way, with costs in most other categories remaining modest.
Wyoming: Obstetrician and Gynecologist
- Salary: $263,490
Salaries for Wyoming gynecologists are a bit lower than the mean salaries for top earners in other states. On the upside, Wyoming has no state income tax, and it’s a state with a low cost of living.
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John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.
Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the highest paying job in every state using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to show the highest paying job in every state.