If you want a career that'll award you the biggest paycheck, follow the money ... straight to Kansas, to become an anesthesiologist.
There, you can earn an average of $287,410 per year, the highest annual wage by state and profession, according to a report from HowMuch.net. The cost information site analyzed data from the May 2016 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the highest- and lowest-paying jobs by state.
The Jobs With the Highest Pay, by State
1. Anesthesiologist in Kansas - $287,410 per year
2. Orthodontist in Alabama - $287,250 per year
3. Surgeon in New Jersey - $286,710 per year
4. Surgeon in Nebraska - $285,640 per year
5. Anesthesiologist in North Dakota - $285,290 per year
Unsurprisingly, those in the medical field have the highest earning power and are named tops for salary in every single state. Other highest-paid professions include surgeons, orthodontists, pediatricians, physicians and gynecologists — good news for those in med school wondering whether it'll pay off in the end. Even those at the bottom of the highest-paid group, OB/GYNs in Oregon, can expect to earn an average of $247,580 per year. Not bad.
On the flip side, don't head South if lush, clean hair is your passion — the report found that shampooers in South Carolina earn the lowest average wage in the country at $17,190 per year.
The Jobs With the Lowest Pay, by State
1. Shampooers in South Carolina - $17,190 per year
2. Shampooers in North Carolina - $17,790 per year
3. Manicurists and Pedicurists in New Mexico - $17,880 per year
4. Food Preparers in Louisiana - $17,920
5. Ushers, Lobby Attendants and Ticket Takers in Wyoming - $17,920
Jobs in the service and personal care industries fall in this bucket, including food preparers, ushers, dishwashers, gaming dealers, bartender helpers and others. If you're in Kansas and anesthesiology isn't your thing, definitely don't stick around to fulfill your Baywatch dreams — lifeguarding is the worst-paid job there (same goes for West Virginia, too). And you might not want to bank on those Chicago agencies if you're an aspiring model — that's the lowest-paid profession in the state of Illinois.
So in sum, if you want to make bank, becoming a medical doctor just about anywhere in the country will bring in lots of cash (minus your student loan payments, of course). And maybe consider tipping your shampooers, food servers and manicurists a little more for a job well done.