Highest paying jobs in Denver for high school graduates

Local News

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DENVER (STACKER) — 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 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 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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#50. Aircraft cargo handling supervisors

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $59,480 (#26 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 170

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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#49. Structural iron and steel workers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $59,760 (#49 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 470

National
– Annual mean salary: $58,650
– Employment: 71,490
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Trenton, NJ ($91,360)
— Rockford, IL ($90,160)
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($89,740)
– Job description: Raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks. May erect metal storage tanks and assemble prefabricated metal buildings.

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#48. Legal secretaries and administrative assistants

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $59,920 (#13 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 2,110

National
– Annual mean salary: $52,750
– Employment: 160,950
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($76,350)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($76,220)
— Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($73,740)
– Job description: Perform secretarial duties using legal terminology, procedures, and documents. Prepare legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas. May also assist with legal research.

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $60,150 (#90 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 340

National
– Annual mean salary: $62,400
– Employment: 50,660
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Santa Rosa, CA ($95,240)
— Madison, WI ($90,020)
— Salinas, CA ($87,650)
– Job description: Install, repair, and maintain mechanical regulating and controlling devices, such as electric meters, gas regulators, thermostats, safety and flow valves, and other mechanical governors.

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $60,170 (#18 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 190

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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Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $60,630 (#19 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 1,510

National
– Annual mean salary: $49,430
– Employment: 137,120
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Santa Rosa, CA ($81,730)
— Midland, TX ($76,760)
— Raleigh, NC ($75,460)
– Job description: Repair and refinish automotive vehicle bodies and straighten vehicle frames.

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#44. First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $60,850 (#27 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 1,160

National
– Annual mean salary: $54,040
– Employment: 103,730
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Anchorage, AK ($85,110)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($77,260)
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($76,940)
– Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers engaged in landscaping or groundskeeping activities. Work may involve reviewing contracts to ascertain service, machine, and workforce requirements; answering inquiries from potential customers regarding methods, material, and price ranges; and preparing estimates according to labor, material, and machine costs.

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#43. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $60,950 (#118 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 5,420

National
– Annual mean salary: $61,100
– Employment: 417,440
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($106,100)
— Fairbanks, AK ($94,280)
— Kankakee, IL ($93,420)
– Job description: Assemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. May install heating and cooling equipment and mechanical control systems. Includes sprinkler fitters.

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#42. Industrial machinery mechanics

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $60,980 (#82 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 1,790

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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#41. Millwrights

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $61,160 (#45 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 440

National
– Annual mean salary: $59,080
– Employment: 44,400
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Elmira, NY ($94,190)
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($90,570)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($85,090)
– Job description: Install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, or other drawings.

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#40. Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $61,220 (#107 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 5,430

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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#39. Correctional officers and jailers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $61,250 (#33 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 2,140

National
– Annual mean salary: $52,340
– Employment: 405,870
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Bakersfield, CA ($85,850)
— Stockton-Lodi, CA ($84,790)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($83,050)
– Job description: Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institutions in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, prison, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.

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#38. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $62,420 (#52 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 760

National
– Annual mean salary: $51,890
– Employment: 119,380
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($99,130)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($89,730)
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($86,080)
– Job description: Operate or control an entire process or system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or wastewater.

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#37. Real estate brokers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $63,610 (#44 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 2,490

National
– Annual mean salary: $81,630
– Employment: 44,610
– Metros with highest average pay:
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($134,770)
— Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ ($129,820)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($116,510)
– Job description: Operate real estate office, or work for commercial real estate firm, overseeing real estate transactions. Other duties usually include selling real estate or renting properties and arranging loans.

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#36. Insurance sales agents

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $63,820 (#156 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 5,870

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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#35. Private detectives and investigators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $64,680 (#22 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 150

National
– Annual mean salary: $60,100
– Employment: 32,200
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($88,550)
— Fresno, CA ($79,220)
— Anchorage, AK ($77,960)
– Job description: Gather, analyze, compile, and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

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#34. Bailiffs

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $66,010 (#6 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 110

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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#33. Occupational health and safety technicians

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $66,380 (#16 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 280

National
– Annual mean salary: $57,870
– Employment: 20,950
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($80,790)
— Knoxville, TN ($77,510)
— Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ($76,950)
– Job description: Collect data on work environments for analysis by occupational health and safety specialists. Implement and conduct evaluation of programs designed to limit chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic risks to workers.

Credit: Pixabay

#32. Meter readers, utilities

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $67,170 (#7 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 150

National
– Annual mean salary: $46,160
– Employment: 26,490
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($84,560)
— Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($76,260)
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($71,420)
– Job description: Read meter and record consumption of electricity, gas, water, or steam.

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#30 (tie). First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $67,660 (#17 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 13,030

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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#30 (tie). Stationary engineers and boiler operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $67,660 (#28 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 390

National
– Annual mean salary: $68,170
– Employment: 29,550
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($106,910)
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($104,970)
— Springfield, IL ($102,660)
– Job description: Operate or maintain stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or industrial processes. Operate equipment such as steam engines, generators, motors, turbines, and steam boilers.

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#29. Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $68,060 (#7 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 780

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.

Credit: Canva

#28. Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $69,590 (#4 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 30

National
– Annual mean salary: $63,770
– Employment: 3,800
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN ($77,930)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($77,520)
— Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($72,560)
– Job description: Operate steam-, gas-, electric motor-, or internal combustion-engine driven compressors. Transmit, compress, or recover gases, such as butane, nitrogen, hydrogen, and natural gas.

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $70,620 (#87 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 3,650

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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#26. Airfield operations specialists

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $71,240 (#7 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 60

National
– Annual mean salary: $58,360
– Employment: 10,590
– Metros with highest average pay:
— Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA ($80,910)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($77,920)
— Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($77,840)
– Job description: Ensure the safe takeoff and landing of commercial and military aircraft. Duties include coordination between air-traffic control and maintenance personnel, dispatching, using airfield landing and navigational aids, implementing airfield safety procedures, monitoring and maintaining flight records, and applying knowledge of weather information.

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#25. Advertising sales agents

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $71,770 (#25 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 840

National
– Annual mean salary: $68,040
– Employment: 110,040
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($112,850)
— Winston-Salem, NC ($104,930)
— New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($92,370)
– Job description: Sell or solicit advertising space, time, or media in publications, signage, TV, radio, or Internet establishments or public spaces.

Credit: Unsplash

#24. Tax preparers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $71,990 (#4 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 560

National
– Annual mean salary: $52,710
– Employment: 62,600
– Metros with highest average pay:
— San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($99,160)
— College Station-Bryan, TX ($80,580)
— Anchorage, AK ($78,470)
– Job description: Prepare tax returns for individuals or small businesses.

Credit: Canva

#23. Construction and building inspectors

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $75,550 (#31 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 2,050

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $76,750 (#74 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 9,730

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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#21. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $77,020 (#41 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 3,650

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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#20. Gas plant operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $77,230 (#9 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 140

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $77,720 (#68 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 5,820

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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#18. Wellhead pumpers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $79,020 (#1 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 320

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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#17. Postmasters and mail superintendents

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $80,110 (#47 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 40

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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#16. Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $82,080 (#68 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 1,020

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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#15. First-line supervisors of correctional officers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $82,540 (#30 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: data not available

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.

Credit: Canva

#14. Transportation inspectors

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $83,970 (#38 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 320

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $84,710 (#14 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 21,020

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $85,920 (#17 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 19,340

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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#11. Power distributors and dispatchers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $85,930 (#19 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 110

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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#10. Power plant operators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $87,390 (#27 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 150

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.

Credit: goodluz // Shutterstock

#9. Real estate sales agents

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $90,220 (#8 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 2,670

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.

Credit: Canva

#8. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $91,690 (#14 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 640

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.

Credit: Oil and Gas Photographer // Shutterstock

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $92,160 (#4 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 360

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.

Credit: Prath // Shutterstock

#6. Detectives and criminal investigators

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $99,550 (#32 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 1,160

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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Credit: Leszek Glasner // Shutterstock

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $104,140 (#7 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 930

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).

Credit: g-stockstudio // Shutterstock

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

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $108,810 (#12 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 4,490

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.

Credit: Canva

#3. First-line supervisors of police and detectives

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $120,010 (#29 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 770

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.

Credit: Skycolors // Shutterstock

#2. Commercial pilots

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $121,230 (#18 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 400

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.

Credit: Kelly Ogden // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
– Annual mean salary: $129,530 (#11 highest pay among all metros)
– Employment: 880

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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