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The most iconic job in every state

Few decisions in life are as consequential as choosing a career.


By Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St.

Few decisions in life are as consequential as choosing a career. Yet one’s career path may be less of a choice than many of us realize. The job market in any state is shaped by factors such as geography, natural resources, and the presence of major companies and universities. And what people do for work often depends largely on where they live.

Due to its ideal climate conditions, California has a $50 billion farming industry. Louisiana has over 7,700 miles of coastline along the Gulf -- which makes boating and fishing a pillar of the state economy. Similarly, Nevada leans heavily on tourist dollars generated largely by Las Vegas’s gambling industry.

Whatever the reason, there is at least one occupation in every state that stands out as being uniquely representative of that state.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the location quotient of all occupations by state to identify the most iconic job in each state. The location quotient measures the relative concentration of jobs by comparing how common an occupation is in a state compared to how common it is nationwide. For example, of the 11.9 million workers in Texas, 17,840 are petroleum engineers -- nearly seven times the national concentration of 32,010 petroleum engineers of the 142.5 million American workers. No other job in Texas is more concentrated relative to its national concentration.


1. Alabama


> Most iconic job: Tire builders

> Employed in job statewide: 2,040

> Median salary: $49,530

> Share of all U.S. tire builders in Ala.: 9.3%

Nearly one-out-of-10 tire builders in the United States work in Alabama. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has operated a tire-making plant in Gadsden since 1929. Currently, the plant employs some 1,700 people. Earlier this year, however, the company announced plans to lay off an undisclosed number of workers in the plant in the coming months. Gadsden is one of several Alabama cities shedding manufacturing jobs as automation continues to reduce the need for human resources.


2. Alaska


> Most iconic job: Misc. mining machine operators

> Employed in job statewide: 380

> Median salary: $49,570

> Share of all U.S. misc. mining machine operators in Alaska: 13.4%

Alaska is rich in resources like oil, coal, and natural gas. As a result, mining machine operators are about 60 times more concentrated in Alaska's labor force compared to their concentration in the U.S. labor force. Not only does resource extraction employ a large share of area workers, but also the Alaska state government gets enough revenue from the oil and gas industry that it does not levy a personal income tax on workers in the state.


3. Arizona


> Most iconic job: Semiconductor processors

> Employed in job statewide: 1,880

> Median salary: $34,930

> Share of all U.S. semiconductor processors in Ariz.: 8.0%

Semiconductor processors perform any number of tasks involved in the manufacturing of the essential components of semiconductors. Major semiconductor production companies, including Motorola and Honeywell, have production plants in the state. In early 2017, Intel announced plans to invest $7 billion in its production facility in Chandler, which is anticipated to bring some 3,000 jobs to the area.


4. Arkansas


> Most iconic job: Misc. food processing workers

> Employed in job statewide: 4,080

> Median salary: $23,050

> Share of all U.S. misc. food processing workers in Ark.: 9.4%

Miscellaneous food processors are about 11 times more concentrated in the Arkansas workforce than they are in that of the U.S. overall. The relative commonality of food processing jobs is due largely to the presence of several major companies. For example, Frito-Lay, the company behind snack foods like Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, and Funyuns, has a plant in Jonesboro with 790 full-time employees. Additionally, Tyson Foods, a company that produces 1 out of every 5 pounds of chicken, beef, and pork in the United States is headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas.


5. California


> Most iconic job: Crop farm workers and laborers

> Employed in job statewide: 189,930

> Median salary: $23,350

> Share of all U.S. crop farm workers and laborers in Calif.: 67.3%

A staggering 67% of American crop, nursery, and greenhouse farm workers are employed in California. Thanks to the state's climate, farming is a $50 billion a year business in California. Parts of the state, like Napa and Sonoma, are renowned for their winemaking -- one of the fastest growing industries in the United States.


6. Colorado


> Most iconic job: Misc. financial clerks

> Employed in job statewide: 2,240

> Median salary: $44,410

> Share of all U.S. misc. financial clerks in Colo.: 6.9%

Miscellaneous financial clerks are about four times more concentrated in Colorado's labor force than they are in the nationwide labor force. Such positions are common in the finance and insurance sector and the management of any company or business. Demand for such workers in Colorado is likely due in part Colorado's far better than average business climate.


7. Connecticut


> Most iconic job: Lathe and turning machine operators

> Employed in job statewide: 930

> Median salary: $44,140

> Share of all U.S. lathe and turning machine operators in Conn.: 3.1%

Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders operate and maintain machines used in the manufacturing of metal and plastic products. There are about 4,500 manufacturing companies in the state -- some of which churn out high-tech products like jet engines and nuclear submarines.


8. Delaware


> Most iconic job: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

> Employed in job statewide: 5,350

> Median salary: $26,020

> Share of all U.S. meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers in Del.: 3.5%

Workers in Delaware are more than 11 times more likely to work in meat processing than the typical American worker. The relatively high employment in the sector is due in part to the Perdue Farms plant in Milford -- the largest organic poultry plant in the United States. Last year, the company announced plans to invest $15 million in the Delaware plant to improve the welfare of poultry in the facility.


9. Florida


> Most iconic job: Misc. construction and related workers

> Employed in job statewide: 10,580

> Median salary: $36,630

> Share of all U.S. misc. construction and related workers in Fla.: 30.5%

Parts of Florida have experienced a boom in new construction in recent years. A growing population is driving demand for housing, while tourist dollars also help fuel the boom in renovations on non-residential buildings, like retailers and restaurants. Miscellaneous construction workers are about five times more concentrated in Florida's labor force than that of the U.S. as a whole. While now may be a good time for construction workers in Florida, demand for such workers can fluctuate considerably with the strength of the overall economy. Partially as a result, construction and related workers have some of the worst job security.


10. Georgia


> Most iconic job: Textile winding and drawing out machine operators

> Employed in job statewide: 11,900

> Median salary: $28,920

> Share of all U.S. textile winding and drawing out machine operators in Ga.: 38.5%

The textile industry has a long history in Georgia, dating all the way back to the state's colonial origins. Despite rising and falling many times over the centuries -- in recent decades Georgia's textile industry has mostly shrunk in the wake of the NAFTA deal in the 1990s and increased reliance on automation in the 21st century -- textile is the most iconic industry in the state. More than one in every three textile machine operators in the United States work in Georgia.


11. Hawaii


> Most iconic job: Airfield operations specialists

> Employed in job statewide: 780

> Median salary: $43,870

> Share of all U.S. airfield operations specialists in Hawaii: 8.1%

Airfield operations specialists are about 18 times more concentrated in Hawaii than they are nationwide. The relative high employment in the industry is likely necessitated by the state's geography. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the only state in the country not accessible by land.


12. Idaho


> Most iconic job: Forest and conservation technicians

> Employed in job statewide: 2,240

> Median salary: $32,860

> Share of all U.S. forest and conservation technicians in Idaho: 7.3%

Of the 52.9 million acres of land in Idaho, over 60% are federally owned and managed. Much of that land is managed by the national park service, including the Craters of the Moon National Preserve and a portion of Yellowstone National Park. This land requires expert management by forest and conservation technicians, a category of professions that is 15 times more common in Idaho than it is nationwide.


13. Illinois


> Most iconic job: Misc. production workers

> Employed in job statewide: 53,610

> Median salary: $29,620

> Share of all U.S. misc. production workers in Ill.: 20.9%

Miscellaneous production workers are manufacturing workers that do not fit into any one specific category. Some of the largest companies operating in Illinois include Caterpillar, with nine production facilities across the state, and John Deere, with a manufacturing facility in East Moline and another in Moline. About one in every five miscellaneous production workers nationwide are employed in Illinois.


14. Indiana


> Most iconic job: Engine and other machine assemblers

> Employed in job statewide: 4,310

> Median salary: $55,610

> Share of all U.S. engine and other machine assemblers in Ind.: 11.4%

Auto-manufacturing is big business in Indiana. Toyota employs nearly 6,000 people at a plant in Princeton; Honda has a factory with 3,000 associates in Greensburg; and GM has a facility that employs nearly 4,700 in Roanoke. In addition, GE is currently expanding its workforce to fill a brand new $110 million facility in Lafayette. Additionally, the Kokomo and Elkhart-Goshen metro areas are adding manufacturing jobs faster than nearly any other U.S. city.


15. Iowa


> Most iconic job: Agricultural and food science technicians

> Employed in job statewide: 1,790

> Median salary: $45,410

> Share of all U.S. agricultural and food science technicians in Iowa: 8.5%

Agricultural and food science technicians can work in a variety of settings, from farms to labs, measuring and analyzing food and agricultural product quality. These workers are nearly eight times more common in Iowa's labor force than the U.S. workforce as a whole. Due in part to the quality of soil in the state, over 85% of land in Iowa is used for agriculture. Iowa leads the nation in soybean, corn, pork, and egg production.


16. Kansas


> Most iconic job: Aircraft systems assemblers

> Employed in job statewide: 7,870

> Median salary: $54,260

> Share of all U.S. aircraft systems assemblers in Kan.: 19.1%

Aircraft systems assemblers perform a range of tasks related to assembling airplanes and spacecraft -- from landing gear to attaching missiles. Multiple companies, including Cessna, Beechcraft, Spirit AeroSystems, and Bombardier Learjet employ thousands in their Wichita locations. The city's identity as an aircraft manufacturing hub began in WWII, as Wichita's economy boomed thanks to demand for military aircraft.


17. Kentucky


> Most iconic job: Farm and home management advisors

> Employed in job statewide: 1,150

> Median salary: $47,410

> Share of all U.S. farm and home management advisors in Ky.: 13.6%

Farm and home management advisors are effectively consultants for farmers and those engaged in home economics activities. Such advisors are about 10 times more common in Kentucky's labor pool than in that of the U.S. as a whole. Agriculture and animal raising are big business in Kentucky as the state is home to over 2 million head of cattle. The state also sells more horses in total value than every other state in the country.


18. Louisiana


> Most iconic job: Sailors and marine oilers

> Employed in job statewide: 6,220

> Median salary: $41,510

> Share of all U.S. sailors and marine oilers in La.: 20.1%

Sailors and marine oilers perform a wide variety of tasks onboard ships -- from looking out for obstructions on the water to maintaining ship equipment and using emergency equipment as necessary. In addition to about 7,700 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, wetlands cover about a third of the state's total land area. Marine-based economic activity in Louisiana ranges from fishing to offshore oil production.


19. Maine


> Most iconic job: Shoe machine operators

> Employed in job statewide: 360

> Median salary: $31,490

> Share of all U.S. shoe machine operators in Maine: 10.3%

Though there are fewer than 400 shoe machine operators and tenders in Maine, they hold the most iconic job in the state, accounting for over 10% of total U.S. employment in the industry. While there are a few smaller shoe making operations in Maine, industry employment is driven largely by the presence of New Balance factories in Norridgewock, Skowhegan, and Norway and an L.L. Bean plant that churns out the company's iconic boots in Brunswick.


20. Maryland


> Most iconic job: Misc. health diagnosing and treating practitioners

> Employed in job statewide: 5,510

> Median salary: $133,440

> Share of all U.S. misc. health diagnosing and treating practitioners in Md.: 15.3%

Miscellaneous health diagnosing and treating practitioners include a range of jobs in medicine, including naturopathic practitioners, who treat certain symptoms in a more holistic and natural approach, and orthoptists, who diagnose and treat vision disorders. Practitioners such as these are about eight times more common in Maryland than they are nationwide. Johns Hopkins, one of the most renowned medical schools in the country, is also the largest employer in the state.


21. Massachusetts


> Most iconic job: Biochemists and biophysicists

> Employed in job statewide: 4,100

> Median salary: $107,030

> Share of all U.S. biochemists and biophysicists in Mass.: 15.0%

Biochemists and biophysicists are about six times more common in Massachusetts than they are nationwide. They primarily study the physical and chemical properties of living organisms and processes. Such workers typically hold a doctorate, and about 15% of all American biochemists and biophysicists work in Massachusetts. Massachusetts ranks as the most educated state in the country.


22. Michigan


> Most iconic job: Tool and die makers

> Employed in job statewide: 14,270

> Median salary: $54,200

> Share of all U.S. tool and die makers in Mich.: 19.4%

Tool and die makers follow blueprints to make tools and parts at specific dimensions for a wide range of machine parts. The occupation is central to many manufacturing operations, a large industry in Michigan. About one in every five American tool and die makers work in Michigan.


23. Minnesota


> Most iconic job: Slaughterers and meat packers

> Employed in job statewide: 6,050

> Median salary: $30,550

> Share of all U.S. slaughterers and meat packers in Minn.: 7.8%

Slaughterers and meat packers are four times more common in Minnesota's workforce than in the country's labor force as a whole. Only seven states reported greater livestock sales than Minnesota in 2017. Minnesota also leads the country in turkey production and ranks second in hog farming. One of the largest companies in the state is Gordon Food Service, a Wyoming, Minnesota-based food distribution company. Gordon Food Service is the largest family operated food distribution company in North America.


24. Mississippi


> Most iconic job: Fabric and apparel patternmakers

> Employed in job statewide: 680

> Median salary: $35,570

> Share of all U.S. fabric and apparel patternmakers in Miss.: 14.1%

Over 14% of all Americans employed as fabric and apparel patternmakers work in Mississippi. The state is home to several apparel makers, including several that specialize in camouflage clothing. Examples include Drake, based in Olive Branch, and Mossy Oak, headquartered in West Point, Mississippi. These companies distribute their products nationwide and have a readymade market instate, as Mississippi has over 1,000 square miles of public hunting land.


25. Missouri


> Most iconic job: Locker room, coatroom, and dressing room attendants

> Employed in job statewide: 1,770

> Median salary: $19,300

> Share of all U.S. locker room, coatroom, and dressing room attendants in Mo.: 9.9%

There are 1,770 people working as locker room, coatroom, and dressing room attendants in Missouri, amounting to about one in every 10 people working in the profession nationwide. With a median annual wage of just $19,300, such jobs tend to be low paying. Missouri also happens to be poorer than most states, with a median annual household income of just $53,578. For reference, the typical American household earns $60,336 a year.


26. Montana


> Most iconic job: Forest and conservation technicians

> Employed in job statewide: 2,140

> Median salary: $32,860

> Share of all U.S. forest and conservation technicians in Mont.: 7.0%

About one-quarter of land in Montana is forested, and much of that land is public and federally managed. In Montana, the U.S. Forest Service manages 16.9 million acres; the National Park Service manages 1.2 million acres; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages 1.2 million acres; and the Bureau of Land Management manages 8.1 million acres. The concentration of forest and conservation technicians in Montana's workforce is nearly 22 times greater than it is nationwide.


27. Nebraska


> Most iconic job: Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

> Employed in job statewide: 9,450

> Median salary: $32,980

> Share of all U.S. meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers in Neb.: 6.2%

Meat and poultry cutters and trimmers are about nine times more concentrated in Nebraska's labor force than that of the U.S. as a whole. The state led the nation in beef and beef product exports in 2017 and produced more pounds of red meat and slaughtered more cattle than every other state in 2018. Farming and ranching is possible in the state as much of the landscape makes for ideal grazing pastures for cattle.


28. Nevada


> Most iconic job: Misc. gaming service workers

> Employed in job statewide: 3,310

> Median salary: $28,280

> Share of all U.S. misc. gaming service workers in Nev.: 34.3%

More than one in every three miscellaneous gaming workers in the United States are employed in Nevada. The state is home to Las Vegas,which brought in 42.1 million tourists in 2018 alone, largely for its casinos. The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino is also the largest employer in the state.


29. New Hampshire


> Most iconic job: Air traffic controllers

> Employed in job statewide: 430

> Median salary: $148,000

> Share of all U.S. air traffic controllers in N.H.: 1.9%

One of the smallest states by square miles, many parts of New Hampshire are accessible by air, and the state is peppered with regional airports. Because of the many airports, air traffic control is the most iconic job in the state, as they are four times more concentrated in the state's workforce than they are in the nationwide labor pool.


30. New Jersey


> Most iconic job: Biochemists and biophysicists

> Employed in job statewide: 5,150

> Median salary: N/A

> Share of all U.S. biochemists and biophysicists in N.J.: 18.8%

Biochemists and biophysicists are about seven times more concentrated in New Jersey's labor force than they are among all workers nationwide. They primarily study the physical and chemical properties of living organisms and processes. Such workers typically hold a doctoral or professional degree, and about 19% of all American biochemists and biophysicists work in New Jersey. It may be no coincidence that New Jersey ranks among the most educated states in the country.


31. New Mexico


> Most iconic job: Oil and gas derrick operators

> Employed in job statewide: 1,160

> Median salary: $44,780

> Share of all U.S. oil and gas derrick operators in N.M.: 12.1%

New Mexico accounts for 5% of U.S. crude oil production and 4% of the nation's natural gas production. As one of the top five oil-producing states, oil and gas derrick operators are about 22 times more concentrated in New Mexico's labor force than they are in the U.S. labor force. Derricks are the framework over a well that hold drilling machinery.


32. New York


> Most iconic job: Fashion designers

> Employed in job statewide: 6,710

> Median salary: $78,770

> Share of all U.S. fashion designers in N.Y.: 35.4%

New York City is one of the world's premier fashion hubs. The city is home to several top fashion schools, including the Parsons School of Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Pratt. A number of industry icons, including Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera, and Donna Karan have close ties to the city. As a result, more than one in every three fashion designers in the United States work in New York state.


33. North Carolina


> Most iconic job: Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators

> Employed in job statewide: 2,350

> Median salary: $28,140

> Share of all U.S. textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators in N.C.: 24.0%

The textile industry has enjoyed a resurgence in several southeastern states, including North Carolina. The region was once a textile production powerhouse until lower-cost labor abroad pushed manufacturers to outsource production in the second half of the 20th century. In recent years, companies have moved back to the Southeast as production facilities there have become more efficient through automation. Today, Gildan Activewear has three production facilities in the state, Everest Textile Co. has one plant, as does textile company King Charles Industries. Nearly one in every four textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators in the United States work in North Carolina.


34. North Dakota


> Most iconic job: Misc. extraction workers

> Employed in job statewide: 640

> Median salary: $57,420

> Share of all U.S. misc. extraction workers in N.D.: 12.9%

North Dakota produces more crude oil -- and has more proved reserves -- than every other U.S. state except Texas. Like other resource-rich states, extraction workers are the most iconic job in North Dakota. Miscellaneous extraction workers are about 44 times more concentrated in the state's labor force than they are among all workers nationwide.


35. Ohio


> Most iconic job: Engine and other machine assemblers

> Employed in job statewide: 7,310

> Median salary: $48,140

> Share of all U.S. engine and other machine assemblers in Ohio: 19.4%

Assemblers of engines and other machines are about five times more concentrated in Ohio's labor force than they are in the U.S. labor force. There are 14,000 manufacturing facilities in Ohio, and manufacturing contributed $106.0 billion to the state's GDP in 2016, more than any other industry. The state is home to facilities run by Honda, GE, General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler.


36. Oklahoma


> Most iconic job: Oil and gas rotary drill operators

> Employed in job statewide: 1,800

> Median salary: $52,830

> Share of all U.S. oil and gas rotary drill operators in Okla.: 11.7%

Oklahoma produces more crude oil than all but five other states and more natural gas than all but three states. Like other resource-rich states, extraction workers are relatively concentrated in Oklahoma. Oil and gas rotary drill operators in particular are about 11 times more concentrated in Oklahoma's labor force than they are in the U.S. labor force.


37. Oregon


> Most iconic job: Misc. logging workers

> Employed in job statewide: 1,390

> Median salary: $40,580

> Share of all U.S. misc. logging workers in Ore.: 42.2%

Due to rich soil and an ideal climate for forests, Oregon is a national leader in tree growing and lumber production. Nearly half of the state's 62 million acres are covered in forest, and according to the Oregon Department of Forestry, logging harvests totalled 3.9 billion board feet in 2016. Over 42% of all miscellaneous logging workers in the United States are employed in Oregon.


38. Pennsylvania


> Most iconic job: Word processors and typists

> Employed in job statewide: 6,880

> Median salary: $35,440

> Share of all U.S. word processors and typists in Pa.: 10.6%

Word processors and typists can work in a number of professions, including clerks, stenographers, and project assistants. People working in the trade are about three times more concentrated in Pennsylvania's labor force than the total U.S. labor force.


39. Rhode Island


> Most iconic job: Textile knitting and weaving machine operators

> Employed in job statewide: 490

> Median salary: $24,310

> Share of all U.S. textile knitting and weaving machine operators in R.I.: 2.3%

Textile machine operators are about seven times more concentrated in Rhode Island's labor force than the total U.S. labor force. The textile industry has a long history in the state as much of the cotton picked in the South in the 19th and early 20th centuries was shipped to Rhode Island to be processed in textile mills. Last year, state lawmakers formed the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network to foster collaboration between industry and government leaders. There are currently about 70 textile companies in the state.


40. South Carolina


> Most iconic job: Tire builders

> Employed in job statewide: 4,200

> Median salary: $41,400

> Share of all U.S. tire builders in S.C.: 19.2%

South Carolina is the nation's leading tire manufacturer. As of 2017, there were five foreign companies with tire manufacturing operations in the state, employing thousands of South Carolinians. Those companies include Michelin, Bridgestone, and Continetal. Nearly one in every five tire builders in the United States work in South Carolina.


41. South Dakota


> Most iconic job: Forest and conservation workers

> Employed in job statewide: 610

> Median salary: $25,390

> Share of all U.S. forest and conservation workers in S.D.: 8.6%

A heavily forested state, South Dakota is home to an estimated 573 million trees across nearly 2 million acres of forest land. Much of that land is managed by forest and conservation workers, who work under the supervision of foresters to measure and improve the quality of forests. Forest and conservation workers are 29 times more heavily concentrated in South Dakota's labor force than they are across the total U.S. labor force.


42. Tennessee


> Most iconic job: Forging machine operators

> Employed in job statewide: 2,740

> Median salary: $54,090

> Share of all U.S. forging machine operators in Tenn.: 15.0%

Manufacturing is critical to Tennessee's economy, generating $55.7 billion in output in 2017 alone. Forging machine operators -- workers who use machines to shape metal and plastic parts -- are seven times more concentrated in Tennessee than the U.S. as a whole. Tennessee's manufacturing sector grew by 32.3% between 2010 and 2017 -- and the industry is making a rapid comeback in several cities in the state.


43. Texas


> Most iconic job: Petroleum engineers

> Employed in job statewide: 17,840

> Median salary: $149,150

> Share of all U.S. petroleum engineers in Texas: 55.7%

Texas is the top crude oil and natural gas producer in the country, accounting for over a third of all U.S. crude production and nearly a quarter of all natural gas. Energy giants ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, and ConocoPhillips are all headquartered in the Lone Star State. A resource-rich state, Texas is home to over half of all petroleum engineers in the country.


44. Utah


> Most iconic job: Forest and conservation technicians

> Employed in job statewide: 1,380

> Median salary: $29,360

> Share of all U.S. forest and conservation technicians in Utah: 4.5%

Utah is home to several national parks, including Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Zion, all of which have federally managed forests and vegetation. Partially as a result, forest and conservation workers -- who measure and improve the health of natural ecosystems -- are about five times more common in the state than they are nationwide.


45. Vermont


> Most iconic job: Solar photovoltaic installers

> Employed in job statewide: 370

> Median salary: $37,670

> Share of all U.S. solar photovoltaic installers in Vt.: 4.1%

Vermont became the first state to codify into law a renewable energy standard in 2015, requiring 75% of all retail electricity sales come from renewable sources by 2032. Today, nearly all the electricity Vermonters use comes from renewable sources -- which includes both residential solar panels and industrial solar farms. Partially as a result, solar photovoltaic installers -- or solar panel installers -- are 19 times more concentrated in Vermont than they are nationwide.


46. Virginia


> Most iconic job: Marine engineers and naval architects

> Employed in job statewide: 1,910

> Median salary: N/A

> Share of all U.S. marine engineers and naval architects in Va.: 17.4%

Marine engineers and naval architects are the most iconic job in Virginia largely because of the presence of major defense contractors in the state. Newport News-based Huntington Ingalls Industries, for example, is the largest military shipbuilding company in the United States -- it is the only builder of American aircraft carriers and one of only two builders of nuclear submarines. Over 17% of all marine engineers and naval architects nationwide work in Virginia.


47. Washington


> Most iconic job: Zoologists and wildlife biologists

> Employed in job statewide: 2,260

> Median salary: $68,240

> Share of all U.S. zoologists and wildlife biologists in Wash.: 12.8%

Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and the role they play in the ecosystem. Over 2,200 people work as zoologists or wildlife biologists in Washington state -- a relative concentration six times higher than the national ratio. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lists 44 species as endangered, threatened, or sensitive, and it is working to restore the population of those at-risk species.


48. West Virginia


> Most iconic job: MIning roof bolters

> Employed in job statewide: 1,350

> Median salary: $58,670

> Share of all U.S. mining roof bolters in W. Va.: 39.6%

Mining roof bolters install roof support in underground mines. Such workers are integral to the mining industry in the state, as West Virginia is the second largest producer of coal in the country after only Wyoming, and coal is typically mined. West Virginia accounts for 11% of all U.S. coal production, and nearly 40% of all mining roof bolters in the United States are employed in the state.


49. Wisconsin


> Most iconic job: Foundry mold and coremakers

> Employed in job statewide: 1,780

> Median salary: $37,320

> Share of all U.S. foundry mold and coremakers in Wis.: 12.8%

Foundry mold and coremakers form molds out of materials like wax or sand to produce metal castings. There are a number of foundries operating in Wisconsin, including American Iron & Alloys Corporation in Waukesha, Badger Iron Works in Menomonie, Torrance Casting in La Crosse, and Waupaca Foundry in Waupaca. Foundry mold and core makers are about six times more concentrated in Wisconsin than they are nationwide.


50. Wyoming


> Most iconic job: Wellhead pumpers

> Employed in job statewide: 430

> Median salary: $61,430

> Share of all U.S. wellhead pumpers in Wyo.: 3.8%

Wyoming is the sixth largest producer of crude oil in the United States and ranks among the top five states for natural gas reserves. Wellhead pumpers operate power pumps and other equipment to transfer oil or gas from wells in oil fields, and they are 21 times more concentrated in the Wyoming labor force than they are across the U.S. as a whole. Not only are wellhead pumpers among the highest paid workers on this list, but they also get to keep more of their money as Wyoming is one of only seven states with no income tax.

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Career Magazine: The most iconic job in every state
The most iconic job in every state
Few decisions in life are as consequential as choosing a career.
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Career Magazine
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