Highest paying jobs in Houston for high school graduates

Written by:
July 2, 2021
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Highest paying jobs in Houston for high school graduates

The average college graduate in 2019 earned $78,000 a year, while the average high school graduate takes home just $45,000, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. To put it in perspective, the average annual wage for workers in the U.S. that same year was $51,916.27.

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.

Just because you decide higher education isn’t in the cards doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a lifetime of low-paying jobs. You just need to be strategic about the career you choose. Stacker compiled a list of the highest paying jobs for high school graduates in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2020 annual mean wage.

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

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DenisKlimov // Shutterstock

#50. Aircraft cargo handling supervisors

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $56,120 (#29 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 310

National
- Annual mean salary: $59,620
- Employment: 10,020
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($83,080)
--- Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN ($77,290)
--- Austin-Round Rock, TX ($71,970)
- Job description: Supervise and coordinate the activities of ground crew in the loading, unloading, securing, and staging of aircraft cargo or baggage. May determine the quantity and orientation of cargo and compute aircraft center of gravity. May accompany aircraft as member of flight crew and monitor and handle cargo in flight, and assist and brief passengers on safety and emergency procedures. Includes loadmasters.
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Rebekah Zemansky // Shutterstock

#49. First-line supervisors of correctional officers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $56,460 (#84 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 530

National
- Annual mean salary: $67,600
- Employment: 53,420
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($115,020)
--- Trenton, NJ ($113,630)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($113,070)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of correctional officers and jailers.
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Luisa Leal Photography // Shutterstock

#48. Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $56,580 (#219 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 2,520

National
- Annual mean salary: $74,410
- Employment: 114,930
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($114,820)
--- Redding, CA ($112,850)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($111,810)
- Job description: Install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems. May erect poles and light or heavy duty transmission towers.
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Canva

#47. Traffic technicians

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $56,900 (#11 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $53,140
- Employment: 7,430
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($88,490)
--- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($76,870)
--- Pittsburgh, PA ($65,580)
- Job description: Conduct field studies to determine traffic volume, speed, effectiveness of signals, adequacy of lighting, and other factors influencing traffic conditions, under direction of traffic engineer.
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Canva

#46. Cooling and freezing equipment operators and tenders

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $56,990 (#1 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 30

National
- Annual mean salary: $39,610
- Employment: 8,020
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($56,990)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($55,070)
--- Kansas City, MO-KS ($51,700)
- Job description: Operate or tend equipment such as cooling and freezing units, refrigerators, batch freezers, and freezing tunnels, to cool or freeze products, food, blood plasma, and chemicals.

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VGstockstudio // Shutterstock

#45. Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $57,110 (#1 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 5,450

National
- Annual mean salary: $45,710
- Employment: 110,020
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($57,110)
--- Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR ($56,620)
--- Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY ($54,400)
- Job description: Make and confirm reservations for transportation or lodging, or sell transportation tickets. May check baggage and direct passengers to designated concourse, pier, or track; deliver tickets and contact individuals and groups to inform them of package tours; or provide tourists with travel or transportation information.
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Canva

#44. Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $57,370 (#5 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $51,830
- Employment: 10,580
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- St. Louis, MO-IL ($68,580)
--- Birmingham-Hoover, AL ($63,820)
--- Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ ($63,740)
- Job description: Tend, control, or operate power-driven, stationary, or portable pumps and manifold systems to transfer gases, oil, other liquids, slurries, or powdered materials to and from various vessels and processes.
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DenisProduction.com // Shutterstock

#43. Chefs and head cooks

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $57,490 (#86 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,140

National
- Annual mean salary: $58,740
- Employment: 101,490
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($98,210)
--- Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI ($90,840)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($86,460)
- Job description: Direct and may participate in the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.
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ITisha // Shutterstock

#42. Bailiffs

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $58,470 (#13 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 170

National
- Annual mean salary: $51,730
- Employment: 18,120
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($72,570)
--- Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN ($72,160)
--- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA ($71,400)
- Job description: Maintain order in courts of law.
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Nagy-Bagoly Arpad // Shutterstock

#41. Insulation workers, mechanical

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $58,490 (#17 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 2,940

National
- Annual mean salary: $55,470
- Employment: 27,700
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($106,690)
--- Syracuse, NY ($90,050)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($81,980)
- Job description: Apply insulating materials to pipes or ductwork, or other mechanical systems in order to help control and maintain temperature.

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Paolo Bona // Shutterstock

#40. Food service managers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $58,830 (#168 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 3,920

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,000
- Employment: 197,010
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($97,610)
--- Trenton, NJ ($95,640)
--- Waterbury, CT ($88,100)
- Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities of an organization or department that serves food and beverages.
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Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#39. Model makers, metal and plastic

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $59,030 (#8 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 30

National
- Annual mean salary: $58,180
- Employment: 3,400
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX ($73,480)
--- Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI ($72,620)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($71,390)
- Job description: Set up and operate machines, such as lathes, milling and engraving machines, and jig borers to make working models of metal or plastic objects. Includes template makers.
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Chok Chokchai // Shutterstock

#38. Separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, and still machine setters, operators, and tenders

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $59,380 (#10 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 640

National
- Annual mean salary: $46,850
- Employment: 47,930
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Anchorage, AK ($69,860)
--- Fort Collins, CO ($67,060)
--- Columbus, OH ($66,440)
- Job description: Set up, operate, or tend continuous flow or vat-type equipment; filter presses; shaker screens; centrifuges; condenser tubes; precipitating, fermenting, or evaporating tanks; scrubbing towers; or batch stills. These machines extract, sort, or separate liquids, gases, or solids from other materials to recover a refined product. Includes dairy processing equipment operators.
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Peter Braakmann // Shutterstock

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $59,520 (#22 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $54,420
- Employment: 22,640
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Oklahoma City, OK ($76,240)
--- Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI ($75,500)
--- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL ($75,140)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of agricultural, forestry, aquacultural, and related workers.
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LStockStudio // Shutterstock

#36. Brokerage clerks

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $60,090 (#21 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 850

National
- Annual mean salary: $58,460
- Employment: 44,720
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($75,240)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($73,770)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($69,860)
- Job description: Perform duties related to the purchase, sale, or holding of securities. Duties include writing orders for stock purchases or sales, computing transfer taxes, verifying stock transactions, accepting and delivering securities, tracking stock price fluctuations, computing equity, distributing dividends, and keeping records of daily transactions and holdings.

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Unsplash

#35. Crane and tower operators

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $60,460 (#52 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 2,710

National
- Annual mean salary: $64,010
- Employment: 44,060
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($89,250)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($84,670)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($84,410)
- Job description: Operate mechanical boom and cable or tower and cable equipment to lift and move materials, machines, or products in many directions.
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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#34. Insurance sales agents

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $61,910 (#176 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 6,440

National
- Annual mean salary: $69,100
- Employment: 409,950
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($109,540)
--- Birmingham-Hoover, AL ($105,840)
--- Fond du Lac, WI ($105,190)
- Job description: Sell life, property, casualty, health, automotive, or other types of insurance. May refer clients to independent brokers, work as an independent broker, or be employed by an insurance company.
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GaudiLab // Shutterstock

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $61,990 (#77 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 28,700

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,010
- Employment: 1,427,260
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bremerton-Silverdale, WA ($78,770)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($77,030)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($75,820)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative support workers.
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goodluz // Shutterstock

#32. Real estate sales agents

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $62,630 (#57 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 5,800

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,990
- Employment: 168,740
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Salinas, CA ($106,280)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($101,300)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($98,580)
- Job description: Rent, buy, or sell property for clients. Perform duties such as study property listings, interview prospective clients, accompany clients to property site, discuss conditions of sale, and draw up real estate contracts. Includes agents who represent buyer.
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Canva

#31. Boilermakers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $63,490 (#19 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,930

National
- Annual mean salary: $67,430
- Employment: 14,020
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($103,050)
--- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD ($87,180)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($87,050)
- Job description: Construct, assemble, maintain, and repair stationary steam boilers and boiler house auxiliaries. Align structures or plate sections to assemble boiler frame tanks or vats, following blueprints. Work involves use of hand and power tools, plumb bobs, levels, wedges, dogs, or turnbuckles. Assist in testing assembled vessels. Direct cleaning of boilers and boiler furnaces. Inspect and repair boiler fittings, such as safety valves, regulators, automatic-control mechanisms, water columns, and auxiliary machines.

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Tim Goode/PA Images // Getty Images

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $63,600 (#140 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 23,820

National
- Annual mean salary: $70,490
- Employment: 977,070
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($115,620)
--- Lawrence, KS ($97,910)
--- Boulder, CO ($94,870)
- Job description: Sell services to individuals or businesses. May describe options or resolve client problems.
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Unsplash

#29. Choreographers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $63,610 (#4 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,000
- Employment: 3,580
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($91,380)
--- Spartanburg, SC ($70,940)
--- New Haven, CT ($68,140)
- Job description: Create new dance routines. Rehearse performance of routines. May direct and stage presentations.
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Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

#28. Chemical equipment operators and tenders

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $63,790 (#14 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 7,890

National
- Annual mean salary: $53,330
- Employment: 93,060
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Billings, MT ($77,010)
--- Hattiesburg, MS ($73,780)
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($71,630)
- Job description: Operate or tend equipment to control chemical changes or reactions in the processing of industrial or consumer products. Equipment used includes devulcanizers, steam-jacketed kettles, and reactor vessels.
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Syda Productions // Shutterstock

#27. Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $65,720 (#46 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 8,830

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,230
- Employment: 503,390
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($92,040)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($89,100)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($86,180)
- Job description: Provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, and handling information requests, as well as performing routine administrative functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings. May also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff.
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SritanaN // Shutterstock

#26. Industrial machinery mechanics

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $66,950 (#28 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 14,170

National
- Annual mean salary: $57,350
- Employment: 385,980
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI ($84,180)
--- San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA ($84,150)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($77,580)
- Job description: Repair, install, adjust, or maintain industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems. May also install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to plans.

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Canva

#25. Construction and building inspectors

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $68,330 (#68 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 4,420

National
- Annual mean salary: $66,470
- Employment: 113,770
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($103,820)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($102,920)
--- Salinas, CA ($98,360)
- Job description: Inspect structures using engineering skills to determine structural soundness and compliance with specifications, building codes, and other regulations. Inspections may be general in nature or may be limited to a specific area, such as electrical systems or plumbing.
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ded pixto // Shutterstock

#24. Wellhead pumpers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $69,220 (#5 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,090

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,500
- Employment: 12,050
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($79,020)
--- Austin-Round Rock, TX ($75,580)
--- Greeley, CO ($74,100)
- Job description: Operate power pumps and auxiliary equipment to produce flow of oil or gas from wells in oil field.
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First Class Photography // Shutterstock

#23. Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $71,150 (#1 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 50

National
- Annual mean salary: $55,510
- Employment: 38,460
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($71,150)
--- Mobile, AL ($59,990)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($59,790)
- Job description: Assemble, fit, fasten, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, such as tails, wings, fuselage, bulkheads, stabilizers, landing gear, rigging and control equipment, or heating and ventilating systems.
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Christian Lagerek // Shutterstock

#22. Gas plant operators

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $71,740 (#16 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 2,390

National
- Annual mean salary: $73,290
- Employment: 14,990
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($98,230)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($97,370)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($92,160)
- Job description: Distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.
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sculpies // Shutterstock

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $71,930 (#124 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 21,220

National
- Annual mean salary: $72,990
- Employment: 614,080
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($107,870)
--- Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA ($103,930)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($100,620)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of construction or extraction workers.

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Pressmaster // Shutterstock

#20. Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $71,970 (#2 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,950
- Employment: 54,960
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Salem, OR ($73,530)
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($71,970)
--- Greeley, CO ($71,560)
- Job description: Search real estate records, examine titles, or summarize pertinent legal or insurance documents or details for a variety of purposes. May compile lists of mortgages, contracts, and other instruments pertaining to titles by searching public and private records for law firms, real estate agencies, or title insurance companies.
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Canva

#19. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $72,950 (#48 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 580

National
- Annual mean salary: $86,200
- Employment: 24,730
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($109,710)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($105,080)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($101,990)
- Job description: Assemble, install, repair, or maintain electric or hydraulic freight or passenger elevators, escalators, or dumbwaiters.
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Kitawit Jitaton // Shutterstock

#18. Telecommunications line installers and repairers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $73,860 (#24 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 2,740

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,860
- Employment: 122,480
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Fresno, CA ($93,060)
--- Salinas, CA ($91,790)
--- Champaign-Urbana, IL ($89,000)
- Job description: Install and repair telecommunications cable, including fiber optics.
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Canva

#17. Chemical plant and system operators

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $74,660 (#5 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 4,750

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,460
- Employment: 29,710
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Corpus Christi, TX ($86,970)
--- Lima, OH ($84,710)
--- Charleston, WV ($76,830)
- Job description: Control or operate entire chemical processes or system of machines.
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4 PM production // Shutterstock

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $75,070 (#101 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 11,260

National
- Annual mean salary: $73,100
- Employment: 475,000
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($95,680)
--- Bremerton-Silverdale, WA ($93,140)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($92,810)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of mechanics, installers, and repairers. May also advise customers on recommended services. Excludes team or work leaders.

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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#15. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $77,820 (#35 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 3,700

National
- Annual mean salary: $70,650
- Employment: 287,150
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($97,980)
--- Waterbury, CT ($92,160)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($88,750)
- Job description: Review settled claims to determine that payments and settlements are made in accordance with company practices and procedures. Confer with legal counsel on claims requiring litigation. May also settle insurance claims.
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Oleg Golovnev // Shutterstock

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $78,300 (#25 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 14,690

National
- Annual mean salary: $66,800
- Employment: 599,900
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Baton Rouge, LA ($101,930)
--- Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX ($100,590)
--- Longview, WA ($99,590)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of production and operating workers, such as inspectors, precision workers, machine setters and operators, assemblers, fabricators, and plant and system operators. Excludes team or work leaders.
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Stock Rocket // Shutterstock

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $79,250 (#48 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 29,890

National
- Annual mean salary: $73,500
- Employment: 1,278,670
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Danbury, CT ($112,810)
--- Napa, CA ($101,850)
--- Santa Fe, NM ($93,680)
- Job description: Sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses or groups of individuals. Work requires substantial knowledge of items sold.
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michaeljung // Shutterstock

#12. Power plant operators

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $81,870 (#45 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 720

National
- Annual mean salary: $81,890
- Employment: 32,960
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($114,420)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($107,830)
--- Redding, CA ($106,030)
- Job description: Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.
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Oil and Gas Photographer // Shutterstock

#11. Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $82,600 (#11 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 4,890

National
- Annual mean salary: $77,610
- Employment: 40,480
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($96,510)
--- Billings, MT ($95,130)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($92,800)
- Job description: Operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

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Canva

#10. Transportation inspectors

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $82,740 (#41 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,290

National
- Annual mean salary: $81,320
- Employment: 27,360
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Portland-South Portland, ME ($119,270)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($117,900)
--- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($104,370)
- Job description: Inspect equipment or goods in connection with the safe transport of cargo or people. Includes rail transportation inspectors, such as freight inspectors, rail inspectors, and other inspectors of transportation vehicles not elsewhere classified.
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Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

#9. Lodging managers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $83,310 (#16 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 420

National
- Annual mean salary: $65,270
- Employment: 31,790
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY ($108,990)
--- Reno, NV ($106,060)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($105,560)
- Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate activities of an organization or department that provides lodging and other accommodations.
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Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#8. Postmasters and mail superintendents

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $87,300 (#13 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $79,660
- Employment: 13,880
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ ($96,130)
--- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL ($95,920)
--- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ($92,630)
- Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate operational, administrative, management, and support services of a U.S. post office; or coordinate activities of workers engaged in postal and related work in assigned post office.
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Lovely Bird // Shutterstock

#7. Power distributors and dispatchers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $89,060 (#17 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 160

National
- Annual mean salary: $93,260
- Employment: 9,940
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($141,200)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($126,870)
--- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA ($120,200)
- Job description: Coordinate, regulate, or distribute electricity or steam.
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Leszek Glasner // Shutterstock

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $92,640 (#19 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $73,210
- Employment: 219,800
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Charleston-North Charleston, SC ($117,770)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($113,800)
--- Boulder, CO ($107,230)
- Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate the selling, buying, leasing, or governance activities of commercial, industrial, or residential real estate properties. Includes managers of homeowner and condominium associations, rented or leased housing units, buildings, or land (including rights-of-way).

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g-stockstudio // Shutterstock

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

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $92,650 (#63 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 6,440

National
- Annual mean salary: $90,120
- Employment: 240,290
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN ($124,150)
--- Durham-Chapel Hill, NC ($122,460)
--- Leominster-Gardner, MA ($119,130)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of sales workers other than retail sales workers. May perform duties such as budgeting, accounting, and personnel work, in addition to supervisory duties.
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Skycolors // Shutterstock

#4. Commercial pilots

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $95,860 (#60 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 960

National
- Annual mean salary: $110,830
- Employment: 37,120
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sioux City, IA-NE-SD ($153,990)
--- Medford, OR ($152,730)
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($152,290)
- Job description: Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots. Excludes regional, national, and international airline pilots.
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Prath // Shutterstock

#3. Detectives and criminal investigators

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $95,880 (#45 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,910

National
- Annual mean salary: $89,300
- Employment: 105,980
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($127,380)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($127,090)
--- Anchorage, AK ($126,530)
- Job description: Conduct investigations related to suspected violations of federal, state, or local laws to prevent or solve crimes.
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Canva

#2. First-line supervisors of police and detectives

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $100,630 (#85 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 1,380

National
- Annual mean salary: $97,180
- Employment: 122,310
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($200,090)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($182,810)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($182,720)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
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Kelly Ogden // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Annual mean salary: $112,760 (#41 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 3,660

National
- Annual mean salary: $105,100
- Employment: 132,210
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($163,580)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($137,680)
--- Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ ($136,410)
- Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate transportation, storage, or distribution activities in accordance with organizational policies and applicable government laws or regulations. Includes logistics managers.

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