Highest paying jobs in Columbia for high school graduates

Written by:
July 20, 2022
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Highest paying jobs in Columbia for high school graduates

The average college graduate in 2020 earned $1,305 a week, while the average high school graduate takes home just $781, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Of course, college isn’t for everyone. There are many reasons high-school graduates may choose to not continue on to college, not the least of which being cost. Average tuition costs continue to rise each year, the exception being the 2020-2021 school year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Average tuition at a public, in-state university coming in at $9,687; tuition for out-of-state students at public schools, and for everyone at private universities, is significantly higher at $21,874 and $35,087, respectively.

Stacker compiled a list of the highest paying jobs for high school graduates in Columbia, SC using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2021 annual mean wage.

Keep reading to see which jobs in your city pay the most for high school graduates.

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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#50. Private detectives and investigators

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $46,900
- #89 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,100
- Employment: 32,200
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Jackson, MI ($93,360)
--- Bakersfield, CA ($91,080)
--- Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO ($87,760)
2 / 50
Kitawit Jitaton // Shutterstock

#49. Telecommunications line installers and repairers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $47,500
- #296 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 270

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,860
- Employment: 122,480
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($90,680)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($90,370)
--- Salinas, CA ($88,050)
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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#48. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $47,580
- #411 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 680

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,100
- Employment: 417,440
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($94,580)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($89,500)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($89,190)
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DenisProduction.com // Shutterstock

#47. Chefs and head cooks

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $47,910
- #303 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 370

National
- Annual mean salary: $58,740
- Employment: 101,490
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Leominster-Gardner, MA ($81,020)
--- Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area ($79,820)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($79,600)
5 / 50
Indypendenz // Shutterstock

#46. Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $48,340
- #164 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 540

National
- Annual mean salary: $51,440
- Employment: 105,400
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Huntsville, AL ($55,830)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($55,260)
--- Wausau, WI ($55,060)

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GolF2532 // Shutterstock

#45. Security and fire alarm systems installers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $49,210
- #91 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 150

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,150
- Employment: 68,920
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Eugene, OR ($70,940)
--- Salem, OR ($68,640)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($68,520)
7 / 50
Kot500 // Shutterstock

#44. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $49,670
- #242 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 680

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,090
- Employment: 253,010
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($75,900)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($73,400)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($70,480)
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G-Stock Studio // Shutterstock

#43. Production, planning, and expediting clerks

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $50,030
- #230 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 680

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,000
- Employment: 362,090
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Idaho Falls, ID ($74,970)
--- Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI ($71,160)
--- West North Dakota nonmetropolitan area ($67,770)
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Canva

#42. Automotive body and related repairers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $50,120
- #160 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 540

National
- Annual mean salary: $49,430
- Employment: 137,120
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Ann Arbor, MI ($71,350)
--- Ames, IA ($68,340)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($68,060)
10 / 50
Jacob Lund // Shutterstock

#41. Advertising sales agents

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $50,140
- #209 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 180

National
- Annual mean salary: $68,040
- Employment: 110,040
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($97,840)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($97,720)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($83,050)

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Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

#40. Chemical equipment operators and tenders

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $50,240
- #94 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 540

National
- Annual mean salary: $53,330
- Employment: 93,060
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Southwest Louisiana nonmetropolitan area ($91,300)
--- Billings, MT ($88,420)
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($76,050)
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Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#39. Electricians

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $50,340
- #387 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,230

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,550
- Employment: 656,510
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($93,900)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($91,090)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($86,600)
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Pressmaster // Shutterstock

#38. Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $50,780
- #82 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,950
- Employment: 54,960
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($81,390)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($80,460)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($73,070)
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goodluz // Shutterstock

#37. Real estate sales agents

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $51,000
- #235 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 880

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,990
- Employment: 168,740
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Midland, TX ($100,060)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($99,880)
--- Worcester, MA-CT ($93,400)
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Jat306 // Shutterstock

#36. Millwrights

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $51,680
- #157 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,080
- Employment: 44,400
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Kennewick-Richland, WA ($91,590)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($90,580)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($80,780)

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welcomia // Shutterstock

#35. Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $51,920
- #308 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 350

National
- Annual mean salary: $57,000
- Employment: 147,680
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Fairbanks, AK ($86,740)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($82,520)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($79,470)
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Unsplash

#34. Choreographers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $52,530
- #8 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 50

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,000
- Employment: 3,580
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($94,910)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($79,760)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($63,250)
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Erin Deleon // Shutterstock

#33. Postal service mail carriers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $52,970
- #366 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 900

National
- Annual mean salary: $53,180
- Employment: 333,570
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Modesto, CA ($57,160)
--- Bismarck, ND ($57,090)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($56,820)
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rlat // Shutterstock

#32. Postal service clerks

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $53,850
- #147 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 120

National
- Annual mean salary: $51,200
- Employment: 86,950
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houma-Thibodaux, LA ($59,410)
--- Florence, SC ($59,360)
--- Monroe, MI ($59,320)
20 / 50
Tim Goode/PA Images // Getty Images

#31. Sales representatives of services, except advertising, insurance, financial services, and travel

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $54,000
- #439 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,380

National
- Annual mean salary: $70,490
- Employment: 977,070
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($103,810)
--- Boulder, CO ($101,630)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($97,360)

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Peter Braakmann // Shutterstock

#30. First-line supervisors of farming, fishing, and forestry workers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $54,070
- #105 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 60

National
- Annual mean salary: $54,420
- Employment: 22,640
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- South Arkansas nonmetropolitan area ($85,480)
--- Northwestern Idaho nonmetropolitan area ($77,330)
--- Longview, WA ($74,500)
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Canva

#29. Chemical plant and system operators

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $56,190
- #31 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 210

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,460
- Employment: 29,710
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Lima, OH ($92,450)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($91,210)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($90,170)
23 / 50
Paolo Bona // Shutterstock

#28. Food service managers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $56,320
- #326 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 540

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,000
- Employment: 197,010
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Trenton, NJ ($91,320)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($89,860)
--- Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI ($87,750)
24 / 50
SritanaN // Shutterstock

#27. Industrial machinery mechanics

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $57,090
- #245 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,060

National
- Annual mean salary: $57,350
- Employment: 385,980
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Fairbanks, AK ($85,900)
--- Lake Charles, LA ($85,360)
--- Anchorage, AK ($82,890)
25 / 50
Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#26. Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $57,200
- #256 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 910

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,230
- Employment: 503,390
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($94,590)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($87,760)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($87,420)

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Unsplash

#25. Crane and tower operators

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $58,130
- #104 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $64,010
- Employment: 44,060
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($131,160)
--- Syracuse, NY ($103,350)
--- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($99,990)
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Pxhere

#24. Maintenance workers, machinery

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $58,430
- #46 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 280

National
- Annual mean salary: $51,960
- Employment: 65,240
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Western Wyoming nonmetropolitan area ($77,890)
--- Alaska nonmetropolitan area ($77,690)
--- Savannah, GA ($76,260)
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Canva

#23. Construction and building inspectors

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $58,820
- #217 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 280

National
- Annual mean salary: $66,470
- Employment: 113,770
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New Haven, CT ($121,510)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($107,330)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($106,190)
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GaudiLab // Shutterstock

#22. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $59,540
- #185 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 7,240

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,010
- Employment: 1,427,260
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($82,050)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($79,520)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($78,430)
30 / 50
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#21. Lodging managers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $61,140
- #119 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,270
- Employment: 31,790
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Hawaii / Kauai nonmetropolitan area ($122,290)
--- Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI ($121,090)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($111,410)

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Rebekah Zemansky // Shutterstock

#20. First-line supervisors of correctional officers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $62,570
- #109 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $67,600
- Employment: 53,420
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($114,400)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($113,220)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($112,950)
32 / 50
Luisa Leal Photography // Shutterstock

#19. Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $63,200
- #360 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 540

National
- Annual mean salary: $74,410
- Employment: 114,930
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($117,700)
--- Salinas, CA ($110,180)
--- North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area ($109,740)
33 / 50
sculpies // Shutterstock

#18. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $63,780
- #377 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,690

National
- Annual mean salary: $72,990
- Employment: 614,080
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($112,020)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($103,820)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($101,210)
34 / 50
Christian Lagerek // Shutterstock

#17. Gas plant operators

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $64,310
- #57 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 130

National
- Annual mean salary: $73,290
- Employment: 14,990
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($99,600)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($98,750)
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($97,080)
35 / 50
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#16. Insurance sales agents

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $64,420
- #179 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,610

National
- Annual mean salary: $69,100
- Employment: 409,950
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($104,230)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($103,470)
--- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($95,620)

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4 PM production // Shutterstock

#15. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $65,060
- #404 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,580

National
- Annual mean salary: $73,100
- Employment: 475,000
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bremerton-Silverdale, WA ($93,830)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($93,030)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($92,870)
37 / 50
Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#14. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $65,290
- #276 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 930

National
- Annual mean salary: $70,650
- Employment: 287,150
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Kennewick-Richland, WA ($104,350)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($95,200)
--- Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area ($92,500)
38 / 50
Stock Rocket // Shutterstock

#13. Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $65,690
- #291 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,990

National
- Annual mean salary: $73,500
- Employment: 1,278,670
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($102,280)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($92,660)
--- Napa, CA ($92,620)
39 / 50
Oleg Golovnev // Shutterstock

#12. First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $66,840
- #191 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,840

National
- Annual mean salary: $66,800
- Employment: 599,900
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($98,170)
--- Lake Charles, LA ($97,910)
--- West North Dakota nonmetropolitan area ($96,900)
40 / 50
Leszek Glasner // Shutterstock

#11. Property, real estate, and community association managers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $67,500
- #123 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 360

National
- Annual mean salary: $73,210
- Employment: 219,800
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($109,540)
--- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($106,420)
--- Piedmont North Carolina nonmetropolitan area ($105,220)

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Prath // Shutterstock

#10. Detectives and criminal investigators

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $67,710
- #257 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 450

National
- Annual mean salary: $89,300
- Employment: 105,980
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($132,210)
--- Anchorage, AK ($127,070)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($123,460)
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g-stockstudio // Shutterstock

#9. First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $72,900
- #356 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 830

National
- Annual mean salary: $90,120
- Employment: 240,290
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Portland-South Portland, ME ($129,860)
--- Durham-Chapel Hill, NC ($121,360)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($121,250)
43 / 50
michaeljung // Shutterstock

#8. Power plant operators

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $74,080
- #114 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 240

National
- Annual mean salary: $81,890
- Employment: 32,960
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Fresno, CA ($129,650)
--- Wenatchee, WA ($123,180)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($114,660)
44 / 50
Oil and Gas Photographer // Shutterstock

#7. Control and valve installers and repairers, except mechanical door

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $74,580
- #64 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,400
- Employment: 50,660
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA ($98,380)
--- Salt Lake City, UT ($94,070)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($92,800)
45 / 50
Canva

#6. First-line supervisors of police and detectives

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $74,600
- #321 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 350

National
- Annual mean salary: $97,180
- Employment: 122,310
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($182,700)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($170,740)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($164,600)

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Canva

#5. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $75,970
- #46 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 60

National
- Annual mean salary: $86,200
- Employment: 24,730
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($130,290)
--- Kansas City, MO-KS ($113,590)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($113,480)
47 / 50
Skycolors // Shutterstock

#4. Commercial pilots

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $77,940
- #178 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $110,830
- Employment: 37,120
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($185,920)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($184,260)
--- Savannah, GA ($177,450)
48 / 50
rawpixel.com // Shutterstock

#3. Real estate brokers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $88,600
- #33 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 110

National
- Annual mean salary: $81,630
- Employment: 44,610
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT ($152,460)
--- Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI ($133,810)
--- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA ($132,320)
49 / 50
Canva

#2. Transportation inspectors

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $102,010
- #7 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 30

National
- Annual mean salary: $81,320
- Employment: 27,360
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Portland-South Portland, ME ($112,260)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($111,930)
--- Anchorage, AK ($108,140)
50 / 50
Kelly Ogden // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers

Columbia, SC
- Annual mean salary: $103,580
- #107 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 310

National
- Annual mean salary: $105,100
- Employment: 132,210
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($159,890)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($154,170)
--- Trenton, NJ ($144,620)

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