15 Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas

The highest-paying jobs in Texas can let you live comfortably in the state's largest cities. Learn more about these well-paying career opportunities.
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Updated on September 22, 2023
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  • Many well-paying jobs in Texas are in the healthcare field.
  • You may need a master's or doctorate to qualify for Texas jobs with a high salary.
  • Texas public colleges charge much less in tuition than private schools.
  • You can find the best-paying jobs in Texas in the state's biggest cities.

A report from Texas Economic Development shows the state has a low unemployment rate of 4.1% as of August 2023, near the national average unemployment rate. This means Texas has a strong economy with many opportunities for job-seekers. Texas also features an affordable cost of living, making it attractive to experienced professionals and students preparing to enter the workforce.

Many healthcare and management jobs in Texas pay an average salary of or above $150,000 per year. These and other careers require many years of education and training.

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What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas?

Healthcare positions make up four of the five best-paying jobs in Texas. All salary data in this section comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

1. Cardiologists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $413,510
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 3%

As physicians specializing in the cardiovascular system, cardiologists diagnose and treat conditions such as heart attacks and coronary artery disease. Other typical tasks may include performing surgery.

A typical Texas cardiologist makes $60,000 more than the national average salary for cardiologists. You can use a higher salary to pay down student debt faster or save for long-term financial goals.

2. Ophthalmologists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $331,980
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 6%

Ophthalmologists treat patients with eye conditions that include glaucoma and nearsightedness. They see many patients throughout the day and keep extensive records charting patients' progress.

Texas ophthalmologists specializing in adult care make about $60,000 more per year than the national average. You can further increase your salary potential by gaining experience and board certification.

3. Surgeons

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $331,980
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 3%

Surgeons treat a variety of ailments and illnesses by operating on patients. They may specialize in a field such as oncology or reconstructive surgery. Surgeons at MD Anderson Cancer Center, a global cancer treatment facility in Houston, are among the city's highest-paid public employees.

Surgeons must obtain a bachelor's degree and attend medical school. They then complete several years of clinical internships and residency programs. Surgeons typically spend 1-3 additional years undergoing field training in their preferred specialization. Texas employs the nation's second-highest concentration of surgeons, except ophthalmologists.

4. Chief Executives

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $314,060
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 6%

CEOs — also known as executive directors, managing directors, or presidents — occupy the highest executive position within a corporation or nonprofit institution. They oversee subordinate managers to ensure an organization maintains seamless operations and meets long-term financial and productivity goals.

Education requirements for CEOs often vary from a bachelor's to a master's degree. While some top executive positions value high-level management experience over an advanced degree, many employers prefer candidates with an MBA. The highest-paying metro areas for CEOs in Texas include Houston and its surrounding suburbs and Midland.

5. Anesthesiologists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $298,710
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 1%

Anesthesiologists are physicians who specialize in providing pain relief for surgical patients. They also assess and administer the right amount of anesthetics to patients for other conditions like chronic pain and labor and childbirth, monitoring the results.

The overall growth of anesthesiology jobs and some other specialized areas of medicine are projected to slow from 2021-2031 due to advances in technology that may reduce the need for traditional, one-on-one medical care. However, anesthesiologists are among the most populous specialized medical provider groups in all of Texas.

6. Radiologists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $297,320
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 4%

Radiologists analyze patients' medical scans to diagnose or guide instruments during surgery. Radiation oncologists use radiation therapy to treat specific forms of cancer.

Texas jobs in radiology pay about the same as the national average. Even so, making nearly $300,000 can let you live comfortably in any of the state's biggest cities, such as Houston or Dallas.

7. Obstetricians and Gynecologists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $294,250
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 2%

Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) treat female patients for issues involving the reproductive system, including cervical cancer, ovarian cysts, and menopause. They also advise and treat women during pregnancy and through childbirth.

Physicians working in this specialization are highly concentrated in Texas, especially in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston-the Woodlands-Sugar Land areas. Killeen-Temple is one of the highest-paying metro areas for OB/GYNs in the state.

8. Physicians

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $274,650
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 2%

Family physicians and general practitioners (GPs) typically hold either doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) credentials. They diagnose and treat a variety of ailments, illnesses, and injuries for patients of all ages. They may practice a specialization such as emergency, internal medicine, or pediatrics.

Physicians and GPs need at least a bachelor's degree to enter medical school. Then, they must spend a minimum of 1-3 years meeting clinical field practice requirements. This period may be longer for specialized practitioners. Texas family physicians' salaries often exceed $200,000.

9. Pediatricians

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $250,850
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 1%

Pediatricians treat patients from birth to young adulthood. Unique responsibilities include educating parents on healthcare best practices and diagnosing physical or mental developmental disorders.

Texas pediatricians earn about $50,000 more than the national average. Specializing in pediatric surgery or ophthalmology can further increase your salary potential.

10. Neurologists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $235,780
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 3%

Neurologists use their many years of medical training to treat brain and spinal cord disorders, including epilepsy, stroke, and tremor. Typical responsibilities include performing physical exams and analyzing blood tests.

Texas neurologists earn about $30,000 less than their peers in other states. Positions in large cities may offer you a better salary.

11. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $212,940
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 6%

Pilots study aeronautics and aviation to learn to operate private and commercial aircraft. They must plan their flight path according to the weather and federal aviation standards and prepare and maintain their aircraft to ensure it is safe and operational at all times.

The state of Texas is second-highest in the nation for employment of airline and commercial pilots. Texas offers higher-paying salaries for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers. Major airlines, such as American and Southwest, maintain headquarters in Fort Worth and Dallas, respectively.

12. Dentists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $162,900
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 6%

Dentists perform many roles besides filling cavities, such as educating patients about procedures, analyzing lab work, and referring patients to other medical professionals. You can become a dentist by going to dental school after college.

Dentists in Texas earn slightly less than the U.S. average. You may find the highest-paying jobs in Texas in the state's biggest city, Houston.

13. Nurse Anesthetists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $208,940
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 12%

Nurse anesthetists with a master's degree and a license interview patients, administer anesthesia, and monitor vital signs. Typical job sites include hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, and psychiatric institutions.

Texas nurse anesthetists earn about $80,000 more per year than the national average. However, keep in mind that the best-paying positions may exist in Texas cities with a high cost of living.

14. Psychiatrists

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $198,250
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 9%

Psychiatrists use their medical degrees and long residencies to treat psychological disorders. Unlike psychologists, they can prescribe medication. Other responsibilities include diagnosing mental illness and collaborating with other medical professionals.

Expect to earn about $50,000 more than the typical psychiatrist by working in Texas. A higher salary can help offset any debt you take on during college or medical school.

15. Athletes and Sports Competitors

  • Mean Annual Salary in Texas (May 2022): $189,800
  • U.S. Job Outlook (2021-2031): 36%

Athletes and sports competitors prepare for game day by practicing, maintaining equipment, and using coaches' feedback to improve. You also work with special trainers and physiologists to maintain stamina and avoid injury. You can prepare for this career in high school or college by joining a varsity team.

Texas athletes and sports competitors earn more than double the national average. Expect to make less starting out.

What Is the Cost of Living in Texas?

A Missouri Economic Research and Information Center report shows that Texas ranks as the seventeenth most affordable state in the nation. The average Texan pays less for groceries, healthcare, housing, and transportation than the typical American. You may face higher costs living in a major city.

According to the National Council for Education Statistics, Texas residents paid just $8,016 in tuition and fees during the 2020-2021 school year. Out-of-state students paid over three times as much at the same public four-year schools. However, all public school students saved significantly compared to degree-seekers at a private Texas college or university.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas

What is a good salary in Texas?

A BLS report from May 2022 shows that Texans making at least $57,300 per year earn more money than half of all residents. This figure also exceeds the national median salary of $45,760.

Earning less than $57,300 may mean making some quality-of-life compromises in Texas' largest cities. A Zumper report from September 2023 shows that the average rent in Austin exceeds $1,500 per month. You may also pay more for food, utilities, and transportation living in a large city.

What is the minimum wage in Texas?

The minimum wage in Texas is $7.25 per hour as of March 2022. Based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's living wage calculations, Texas' current minimum wage is not enough to enable workers in the state to meet their basic needs — housing, shelter, and food. And they can't afford to purchase non-essential luxury items to improve their quality of life.

The minimum wage in Texas has not changed since 2009, despite nationwide efforts to raise the minimum wage for low-wage workers in most states. In January 2022, 21 states, not including Texas, adjusted their minimum wage for inflation or increased their rate for hourly workers.

What jobs are in high demand in Texas?

The most popular jobs with higher wages in Texas include top executives and healthcare practitioners. Surgeons, family practitioners, psychiatrists, and dentists can earn annual salaries near or above $200,000. And moderate-to-high job growth over roughly the next decade is projected in these fields.

High-demand and higher-paying positions in Texas also include lawyers, pilots, and vice presidents specializing in marketing or engineering. Metro areas, including Dallas and Houston, employ large concentrations of these professionals, as do rural areas, including Midland, Killeen, and Temple.

What city in Texas has the highest-paying jobs?

A 2021 KVIA analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Houston and Dallas suburbs feature the state's highest-median incomes, over $200,000 per year. This information suggests that these two cities offer the state's best-paying jobs.

Qualifying for one of the highest-paying jobs in Texas may require an advanced degree, professional certification, and many years of experience. Work with your college's career advisors to create a career action plan.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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