15 Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas

Explore the highest-paying jobs in Texas. Learn how to land a lucrative position with longevity in your choice of cities across the state.

portrait of Meg Whitenton
by Meg Whitenton

Published on March 9, 2022 · Updated on May 16, 2022

Edited by Amelia Buckley
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15 Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas


Texas offers countless benefits to workers seeking higher-paying jobs in high-growth industries.

Texans enjoy opportunities in medicine, technology, and engineering, coupled with a lower cost of living than the national index. Jobs across Texas span a variety of fields and industries.

Surgeons and top corporate executives in Texas can earn top salaries. Workers can also pursue a variety of advanced healthcare, business, and engineering occupations with annual salaries between $100,000 and $200,000.

These salaries can help many Texans reduce their financial stress and enjoy all of the diverse scenery, culture, and recreation the state has to offer.

Texas is known for blistering summers and cowboy culture, but the expansive Lone Star State is also home to the nation's largest oil and gas market, the world capital of space exploration, and three of the nation's 10 most-populous cities.

Read on to learn why the highest-paying jobs in Texas only add to this state's appeal, and for more information about working in the Lone Star State, check out our Resources for Students in Texas page.

Working and Living in Texas

Texas encompasses both urban and rural opportunities for living and working in the state. Overall, the cost of living index in Texas is 93.9, lower than the national index of 100. The average household income in Texas was roughly $62,000 as of 2019, though many of the jobs listed below qualify workers for "high-income household" status, which requires annual earnings of at least $200,000.

For workers in Texas, the cost of housing is low, compared to national figures. Texans can save more than $50,000 when purchasing a home here instead of in another state with a higher cost of living.

In rural Texas, plots of land are available and abundant, ideal for workers in industries like agriculture, manufacturing, and oil and gas.

Texas also attracts city dwellers to its major cultural hubs in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, all of which rank among the 10 largest cities in the United States. Additionally, Houston is now regarded as the nation's most ethnically diverse metropolitan city.

These urban-metro areas employ healthcare, aeronautics, and engineering professionals in the midst of world-renowned performing arts institutions, legendary cuisine, and unique intercultural traditions.

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas?

Anesthesiologist

  • U.S. Average Annual Salary: $271,440
  • U.S. 2020-2030 Job Outlook: -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, and monitor the results.

The overall growth of anesthesiology jobs and some other specialized areas of medicine are projected to slow from 2020-2030 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.

Vice President, Marketing

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $239,060
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 8%

Vice presidents of marketing divisions are among an organization's top executives. They work directly under the president or CEO to develop and direct companywide marketing strategies and monitor analytics to ensure the organization meets long-term goals.

Like other top executives, vice presidents of marketing can earn a high salary in Texas, especially within the state's many Fortune 500 companies. Midland, Houston, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land employ some of the highest-paid top executives, including vice presidents of marketing, in Texas.

Chief Executive Officer

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $239,060
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): -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 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.

Surgeon

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $234,680
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 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, if applicable.

Texas employs the nation's second-highest concentration of surgeons, except ophthalmologists.

Family Physician/General Practitioner

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $220,390
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 5%

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.

Pulmonary Physician

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $201,560
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 5%

Pulmonary physicians specialize in respiratory-related illnesses and ailments, specifically involving the lungs. They often diagnose and treat patients for conditions including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonology qualifies as a specialization of internal medicine.

In Texas, annual salaries for these internal medicine physicians can exceed $200,000. They are employed in the highest concentrations in the Killeen-Temple area and in Houston and the surrounding suburbs.

Psychiatrist

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $195,170
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 13%

Psychiatrists are mental health physicians. They undergo much of the same academic and clinical training as an MD or DO. Psychiatrists assess and treat patients for mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders through methods including medication and psychotherapy. They must complete a bachelor's degree, medical school, and years of clinical training to enter the field.

Texas employs one of the largest concentrations of psychiatrists in the U.S., especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area. Here, psychiatrists earn an average annual wage of $215,040, higher than the state average and exceeding the minimum for "high-income household" status.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Physician

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $194,430
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): -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.

Pilot

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $194,100
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 13%

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, including American and Southwest, maintain headquarters in Fort Worth and Dallas, respectively.

Vice President, Engineering

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $239,060
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 8%

These vice presidents fill top executive roles, overseeing an entire department or division dedicated to engineering operations within a company or corporation. Vice presidents may work under a president, chief officer, or managing or executive director. Or they may assume some of the tasks of these jobs themselves within a smaller organization.

Chief executives are abundant in Texas, especially in Midland and across Houston and the surrounding suburbs of The Woodlands and Sugar Land. Indeed notes salaries exceeding $200,000 for vice presidents of engineering at companies like Spectrum and CommScope in Houston and statewide.

Dentist

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $184,410
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 8%

Dentists specialize in diagnosing and treating issues affecting a patient's oral health. They examine, clean, and repair patients' teeth and gums. Dentists must complete a dentistry training program and obtain licensure to practice in their state.

Generally, dentists continue to be in high-demand due to the aging U.S. population and studies increasingly linking oral health to overall wellness. Texas has the second-highest employment level in the U.S. for dentists. Longview is among Texas' highest-paying metro areas for dentists.

Oral Surgeon

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $184,300
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 8%

Oral surgeons operate on patients' teeth, gums, and jaws. They perform surgeries on the mouth, head, and neck as needed to repair conditions including impacted teeth, cleft palate, or cleft lip. Oral surgeons receive unique training in this specialized area of dentistry.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area earn among the top U.S. salaries in this field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas ranks fifth in the U.S. for the highest employment of oral surgeons, with the highest concentration of employment in the Houston metro area.

Petroleum Engineer

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $169,760
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 8%

Petroleum engineers invent new methods of drilling for oil and mining other petroleum products. They also develop ways to improve upon existing oil-extraction methods. Aspiring petroleum engineers typically need only a bachelor's degree to get started in the industry.

Unsurprisingly, Texas is the most populous and among the most lucrative states for petroleum engineers. Texas' many global oil and gas corporations attract senior petroleum engineers for higher-paying jobs, especially in Beaumont-Port Arthur, Houston, and Wichita Falls.

Chief Technology Officer

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $158,010
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 11%

Chief technology officers (CTOs) hold top executive positions, directing an organization's high-level tech operations. CTOs design, recommend, and implement technological upgrades and equipment to serve the organization's long-term performance goals. Some corporations also employ chief information officers, who typically supervise CTOs.

Most CTOs need at least a bachelor's degree and years of information technology management experience. Texas employs the nation's second-highest number of computer and information systems managers, which includes CTOs. These professionals enjoy high job growth as companies increasingly transition to globalization and e-commerce-based business models.

Lawyer

  • Texas Average Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $142,730
  • U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 9%

Lawyers and attorneys represent individuals, businesses, and governments in legal matters. They may work in a group practice or individually, but all lawyers must earn a Juris Doctor degree after completing a bachelor's degree. Additionally, lawyers in Texas must pass the Texas Bar Exam.

Job opportunities are plentiful for Texas lawyers. Texas employs the fourth-highest number of lawyers in the U.S., with over 46,000 practicing in the state.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Highest-Paying Jobs in Texas

What is a good salary for Texas? true

Though the concept of a "good" salary is relative, a competitive salary for Texas might be considered above around $64,030, which was the median household income for Texas in 2019.

While Texas boasts an overall cost of living lower than the national average, Texans must spend a significant portion of their earnings on transportation and utilities to continue to work and live in the state. Many of the jobs on our list qualify workers for "high income" status in Texas, which requires a salary of at least $200,000.

What is the minimum wage in Texas? true

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 nonessential 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? true

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.

Additionally, occupations including chief executives and engineers in the petroleum industry are enduringly popular in Texas, the oil and gas capital of the United States.

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 is the average cost of living in Texas?

Texans enjoy a cost of living lower than the national average. Best Places indexes the cost of living in Texas at 93.9, compared to the national index of 100, citing transportation and utilities as the highest expenses for Texas residents.

Compared to a national median cost of $291,700, Texans can purchase a home at a median cost of $243,600. Among the state's most populous states — Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas — the costs of living indexes are 96.5, 89.7, and 101.6, respectively.

What city in Texas has the highest-paying jobs?

Higher-paying job opportunities in Texas extend from its urban-metro hubs to the rural parts of the state.

Texas employs the majority of its top executives and healthcare practitioners and specialists in Houston and Dallas. Anesthesiologists and corporate vice presidents in these cities can earn salaries exceeding $200,000.

As a leading global producer of oil and gas, Texas also employs higher-paid workers in petroleum-related executive and engineering positions, many of which are located in smaller towns like Midland, Odessa, or the Houston suburbs. For example, vice presidents of engineering and petroleum engineers, heavily concentrated in areas like Midland and the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, can often earn salaries much higher than the national average.

Feature Image: FS Productions / Tetra images / Getty Images

Generation Z wants to know the best careers for the future. This guide breaks down the data on job growth, salaries, and careers with social impact. Looking for a job that doesn't require a bachelor's? Learn about 20 in-demand jobs you can get with a two-year degree. A great town is a key aspect of many students' college experience. Read on to learn about the best college towns in Texas.

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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