Top Jobs in Texas for 2012

See our other posts on the top jobs in various states.

OVERVIEW 

In this post, we use Analyst (EMSI’s web-based labor market analysis tool) to search for the best jobs in Texas for 2012. We focus on three main criteria: wages, growth (over the past five years), and concentration. All of our observations are based purely on labor market analysis from EMSI’s most recent (2011.4) data release, which is drawn from more than 80 state and federal data sources.

Here’s a quick overview to give us some perspective. Since 2007, jobs in Texas have grown by 3.8%. The state population is 25.5 million. There are nearly 11 million covered jobs (jobs covered by unemployment insurance) and about 972,000 unemployed workers (according to current estimates). Average annual earnings for Texas employees is almost $48K. In 2010, Texas institutions reported just over 291,000 completions in higher ed programs.

HIGHEST-PAYING

Table 1 shows all the jobs that pay over $45 per hour (2011 median hourly wage).

SOC Code Description 2007 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2007 National LQ 2011 National LQ 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Avg Hourly Wage Education Level
Source: EMSI Covered Employment – 2011.4
29-1022 Oral and maxillofacial surgeons 612 717 105 17% 1.56 1.65 $103.20 $122.65 First professional degree
29-1069 Physicians and surgeons 33,896 38,025 4,129 12% 0.82 0.82 $80.53 $85.04 First professional degree
29-1081 Podiatrists 524 583 59 11% 0.75 0.74 $79.85 $90.44 First professional degree
11-1011 Chief executives 14,550 14,209 (341) (2%) 0.61 0.61 $78.13 $82.36 Degree plus work experience
29-1023 Orthodontists 377 439 62 16% 0.95 1.01 $76.88 $91.70 First professional degree
29-1021 Dentists, general 4,537 5,260 723 16% 0.71 0.76 $67.20 $73.92 First professional degree
29-1029 Dentists, all other specialists 291 340 49 17% 0.83 0.84 $66.91 $74.26 First professional degree
53-2011 Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers 8,271 7,985 (286) (3%) 1.43 1.37 $66.00 $78.47 Bachelor’s degree
11-9041 Engineering managers 12,258 11,965 (293) (2%) 0.87 0.86 $60.33 $63.94 Degree plus work experience
19-2042 Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers 8,582 9,789 1,207 14% 3.73 3.74 $57.45 $60.47 Master’s degree
17-2171 Petroleum engineers 11,449 14,524 3,075 27% 6.64 6.49 $56.59 $60.43 Bachelor’s degree
11-9121 Natural sciences managers 1,480 1,588 108 7% 0.46 0.45 $55.89 $62.63 Degree plus work experience
23-1011 Lawyers 32,619 32,139 (480) (1%) 0.77 0.74 $55.66 $62.87 First professional degree
11-2021 Marketing managers 9,491 9,572 81 1% 0.72 0.71 $55.42 $60.25 Degree plus work experience
11-3021 Computer and information systems managers 17,674 18,096 422 2% 0.81 0.79 $54.40 $57.63 Degree plus work experience
53-2021 Air traffic controllers 2,213 2,511 298 13% 1.30 1.24 $54.23 $54.02 Long-term on-the-job training
29-1051 Pharmacists 19,518 20,867 1,349 7% 0.99 0.99 $54.04 $53.03 First professional degree
15-1011 Computer and information scientists, research 1,408 1,451 43 3% 0.74 0.68 $52.23 $54.95 Doctoral degree
11-3031 Financial managers 27,798 28,063 265 1% 0.72 0.72 $49.48 $54.30 Degree plus work experience
11-2022 Sales managers 21,247 21,414 167 1% 0.82 0.81 $49.46 $54.59 Degree plus work experience
11-3051 Industrial production managers 12,766 11,879 (887) (7%) 1.02 1.03 $48.84 $54.64 Work experience in a related field
11-3049 Human resources managers, all other 2,678 2,779 101 4% 0.56 0.56 $48.63 $53.76 Degree plus work experience
11-3061 Purchasing managers 4,228 4,193 (35) (1%) 0.82 0.81 $48.12 $51.68 Degree plus work experience
29-1024 Prosthodontists 30 38 8 27% 0.63 0.69 $48.10 $57.84 First professional degree
17-2161 Nuclear engineers 238 262 24 10% 0.20 0.19 $48.03 $51.44 Bachelor’s degree
11-9032 Education administrators, elementary and secondary school 19,518 20,724 1,206 6% 1.22 1.22 $47.30 $47.77 Degree plus work experience
17-2021 Agricultural engineers 208 219 11 5% 1.06 1.05 $45.36 $49.81 Bachelor’s degree
17-2199 Engineers, all other 11,612 11,921 309 3% 0.93 0.94 $45.35 $46.28 Bachelor’s degree
27-2021 Athletes and sports competitors 575 577 2 0% 0.55 0.55 $45.28 $72.54 Long-term on-the-job training
Total 280648 292126 11478 0.04 58.21 62.44

  • Not surprisingly, healthcare occupations crowd together at the top: oral and maxillofacial surgeons ($103.20), physicians and surgeons ($80.53), podiatrists ($79.85), orthodontists ($76.88), and dentists ($67.20).
  • The highest-paying non-healthcare jobs are chief executives ($78.13), airline pilots/copilots/flight engineers ($66.00), engineering managers ($60.33), geoscientists ($57.45), and petroleum engineers ($56.59).
  • Far and away the best job on this chart is petroleum engineers. It has grown by 33%, adding almost 4,000 jobs in the past five years. Even more impressive is its location quotient (LQ) of 6.49, which means that these engineering jobs are more than six times as concentrated in Texas as they are in other states. Basically, it indicates a high degree of specialization for this occupation. (For more about LQ, click here.)
  • Another clear winner is geoscientists, which has added 1,525 jobs (18% growth) and has a solid LQ of 3.72.

Here are a few descriptions, in case you’re curious:

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgery on mouth, jaws, and related head and neck structure to execute difficult and multiple extractions of teeth, to remove tumors and other abnormal growths, to correct abnormal jaw relations by mandibular or maxillary revision, to prepare mouth for insertion of dental prosthesis, or to treat fractured jaws.

Engineering managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering or research and development in these fields.

Geoscientists, except hydrologists & geographers study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth’s internal composition, atmospheres, oceans, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, paleontologists, stratigraphers, geodesists, and seismologists.

Petroleum engineers devise methods to improve oil and gas well production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.

FASTEST-GROWING

Here we examine two things: (1)  the percent growth and (2) the total number of new jobs since 2007. For the next two tables, we filter for jobs that earn above $25 per hour (2011 median hourly wage) and employ more than 1,000 workers. We’re also limiting our analysis to non-educational occupations (so we’re not looking at jobs like elementary school teachers).

Starting with percent growth:

SOC Code Description 2007 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2007 National LQ 2011 National LQ 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Avg Hourly Wage Education Level
Source: EMSI Covered Employment – 2011.4
17-2171 Petroleum engineers 11,449 14,524 3,075 27% 6.64 6.49 $56.59 $60.43 Bachelor’s degree
29-2021 Dental hygienists 9,373 11,446 2,073 22% 0.75 0.80 $32.74 $31.93 Associate’s degree
31-2021 Physical therapist assistants 3,552 4,245 693 20% 0.80 0.81 $27.50 $29.26 Associate’s degree
29-1123 Physical therapists 10,068 11,965 1,897 19% 0.83 0.83 $38.01 $39.91 Master’s degree
29-1071 Physician assistants 3,644 4,296 652 18% 0.67 0.67 $42.05 $42.64 Master’s degree
29-1041 Optometrists 1,496 1,760 264 18% 0.81 0.80 $44.93 $55.48 First professional degree
13-2061 Financial examiners 1,946 2,284 338 17% 1.06 1.05 $33.19 $36.21 Bachelor’s degree
31-2011 Occupational therapist assistants 1,715 2,010 295 17% 0.92 0.92 $30.01 $31.67 Associate’s degree
19-4041 Geological and petroleum technicians 5,363 6,276 913 17% 5.16 5.13 $27.21 $29.21 Associate’s degree
51-8092 Gas plant operators 2,407 2,810 403 17% 2.41 2.46 $25.60 $25.48 Long-term on-the-job training
29-1122 Occupational therapists 6,474 7,545 1,071 17% 0.95 0.94 $35.88 $37.46 Master’s degree
33-3021 Detectives and criminal investigators 12,594 14,607 2,013 16% 1.63 1.64 $27.46 $28.32 Work experience in a related field
29-1021 Dentists, general 4,537 5,260 723 16% 0.71 0.76 $67.20 $73.92 First professional degree
19-1029 Biological scientists, all other 1,374 1,579 205 15% 0.66 0.65 $27.56 $30.52 Doctoral degree
29-9091 Athletic trainers 1,406 1,610 204 15% 1.31 1.29 $27.16 $29.42 Bachelor’s degree
19-3099 Social scientists and related workers, all other 1,893 2,162 269 14% 0.89 0.87 $27.36 $29.31 Master’s degree
15-1081 Network systems and data communications analysts 14,192 16,194 2,002 14% 0.88 0.85 $35.45 $36.58 Bachelor’s degree
19-2042 Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers 8,582 9,789 1,207 14% 3.73 3.74 $57.45 $60.47 Master’s degree
19-1042 Medical scientists, except epidemiologists 3,961 4,500 539 14% 0.55 0.53 $25.82 $29.54 Doctoral degree
53-2021 Air traffic controllers 2,213 2,511 298 13% 1.30 1.24 $54.23 $54.02 Long-term on-the-job training
29-1111 Registered nurses 155,542 175,569 20,027 13% 0.84 0.83 $30.36 $31.09 Associate’s degree
13-2052 Personal financial advisors 10,781 12,153 1,372 13% 0.98 1.00 $30.69 $39.91 Bachelor’s degree
47-5012 Rotary drill operators, oil and gas 9,267 10,436 1,169 13% 4.59 4.28 $29.45 $33.32 Moderate-term on-the-job training
25-9031 Instructional coordinators 10,090 11,350 1,260 12% 1.13 1.13 $29.37 $29.71 Master’s degree
29-1127 Speech-language pathologists 9,225 10,358 1,133 12% 1.16 1.16 $29.10 $31.22 Master’s degree
29-1069 Physicians and surgeons 33,896 38,025 4,129 12% 0.82 0.82 $80.53 $85.04 First professional degree
11-9111 Medical and health services managers 18,244 20,428 2,184 12% 0.94 0.93 $37.66 $40.40 Degree plus work experience
51-8093 Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers 13,151 14,561 1,410 11% 3.93 3.94 $25.61 $25.56 Long-term on-the-job training
51-8013 Power plant operators 1,817 2,007 190 10% 0.69 0.69 $26.51 $27.57 Long-term on-the-job training
Total 370252 422259 52007 0.14 37.58 39.46

  • Petroleum engineers are at the top of the list with 33% growth.
  • Dental hygienists (28%), physical therapist assistants (26%), physical therapists (25%), physicians assistants (24%), and financial examiners (24%) have also done well since 2007.
  • 12 of the 25 jobs on this table added fewer than 1,000 jobs.

And if you were wondering…

Financial examiners enforce or ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing financial and securities institutions and financial and real estate transactions.

So what happens when we look for the occupations that added the most jobs since 2007? The results are quite different:

SOC Code Description 2007 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2007 National LQ 2011 National LQ 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Avg Hourly Wage Education Level
Source: EMSI Covered Employment – 2011.4
29-1111 Registered nurses 155,542 175,569 20,027 13% 0.84 0.83 $30.36 $31.09 Associate’s degree
13-2011 Accountants and auditors 82,374 86,876 4,502 5% 0.98 0.98 $28.07 $31.59 Bachelor’s degree
29-1069 Physicians and surgeons 33,896 38,025 4,129 12% 0.82 0.82 $80.53 $85.04 First professional degree
17-2171 Petroleum engineers 11,449 14,524 3,075 27% 6.64 6.49 $56.59 $60.43 Bachelor’s degree
13-1199 Business operation specialists, all other 57,365 60,391 3,026 5% 0.74 0.73 $30.54 $32.60 Bachelor’s degree
13-1111 Management analysts 36,495 39,474 2,979 8% 0.89 0.88 $32.99 $37.73 Degree plus work experience
11-9111 Medical and health services managers 18,244 20,428 2,184 12% 0.94 0.93 $37.66 $40.40 Degree plus work experience
29-2021 Dental hygienists 9,373 11,446 2,073 22% 0.75 0.80 $32.74 $31.93 Associate’s degree
33-3021 Detectives and criminal investigators 12,594 14,607 2,013 16% 1.63 1.64 $27.46 $28.32 Work experience in a related field
15-1081 Network systems and data communications analysts 14,192 16,194 2,002 14% 0.88 0.85 $35.45 $36.58 Bachelor’s degree
15-1031 Computer software engineers, applications 32,931 34,918 1,987 6% 0.90 0.86 $43.41 $43.93 Bachelor’s degree
29-1123 Physical therapists 10,068 11,965 1,897 19% 0.83 0.83 $38.01 $39.91 Master’s degree
51-8093 Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers 13,151 14,561 1,410 11% 3.93 3.94 $25.61 $25.56 Long-term on-the-job training
13-2052 Personal financial advisors 10,781 12,153 1,372 13% 0.98 1.00 $30.69 $39.91 Bachelor’s degree
15-1051 Computer systems analysts 44,387 45,758 1,371 3% 1.15 1.12 $36.75 $38.49 Bachelor’s degree
29-1051 Pharmacists 19,518 20,867 1,349 7% 0.99 0.99 $54.04 $53.03 First professional degree
29-2034 Radiologic technologists and technicians 13,750 15,080 1,330 10% 0.89 0.88 $25.17 $25.25 Associate’s degree
25-9031 Instructional coordinators 10,090 11,350 1,260 12% 1.13 1.13 $29.37 $29.71 Master’s degree
13-2051 Financial analysts 18,488 19,736 1,248 7% 1.04 1.05 $34.09 $38.03 Bachelor’s degree
19-2042 Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers 8,582 9,789 1,207 14% 3.73 3.74 $57.45 $60.47 Master’s degree
47-5012 Rotary drill operators, oil and gas 9,267 10,436 1,169 13% 4.59 4.28 $29.45 $33.32 Moderate-term on-the-job training
29-1127 Speech-language pathologists 9,225 10,358 1,133 12% 1.16 1.16 $29.10 $31.22 Master’s degree
15-1032 Computer software engineers, systems software 34,498 35,626 1,128 3% 1.20 1.13 $44.00 $45.34 Bachelor’s degree
15-1071 Network and computer systems administrators 28,136 29,213 1,077 4% 1.11 1.08 $30.92 $32.51 Bachelor’s degree
29-1122 Occupational therapists 6,474 7,545 1,071 17% 0.95 0.94 $35.88 $37.46 Master’s degree
19-3021 Market research analysts 14,654 15,722 1,068 7% 0.86 0.85 $31.89 $34.43 Bachelor’s degree
13-1081 Logisticians 11,888 12,921 1,033 9% 1.61 1.57 $28.26 $31.02 Bachelor’s degree
11-3011 Administrative services managers 23,978 25,010 1,032 4% 1.30 1.30 $39.51 $41.58 Degree plus work experience
Total 751391 820543 69152 0.09 36.07 38.11

  • Registered nurses gained over 20,000 new jobs, which translates to 13% growth.
  • The rest are quite a ways behind. Occupations that added over 2,000 are  accountants and auditors (added 4,502 ), physicians and surgeons (added 4,129), petroleum engineers (added 3,075), business operation specialists (added 3,026), management analysts (added 2,979), medical & health services managers (added 2,184), dental hygienists (added 2,073), detectives & criminal investigators (added 2,013), and network systems & data communications analysts (added 2,002).

Considering both tables:

  • Petroleum engineers is an obvious leader. Nearly 4,000 new jobs is great (even though it isn’t as high as that of registered nurses), but even more importantly, the industry grew by more than a third.
  • Next is dental hygienists with 28% growth and 2,586 new jobs, followed closely by physical therapists with 25% and 2,500 new jobs.

HIGHEST CONCENTRATION

Table 4 shows the jobs with the highest concentration—i.e., the most specialized jobs for Texas. Again, we apply a filter that gives us only the jobs that employ 1,000+ workers.

SOC Code Description 2007 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2007 National LQ 2011 National LQ 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Avg Hourly Wage Education Level
Source: EMSI Covered Employment – 2011.4
17-2171 Petroleum engineers 11,449 14,524 3,075 27% 6.64 6.49 $56.59 $60.43 Bachelor’s degree
47-5013 Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining 19,195 23,108 3,913 20% 6.82 6.35 $18.60 $20.57 Moderate-term on-the-job training
47-5071 Roustabouts, oil and gas 26,315 31,051 4,736 18% 5.58 5.30 $14.30 $15.17 Moderate-term on-the-job training
19-4041 Geological and petroleum technicians 5,363 6,276 913 17% 5.16 5.13 $27.21 $29.21 Associate’s degree
47-5011 Derrick operators, oil and gas 8,890 10,150 1,260 14% 5.31 4.94 $19.17 $19.81 Moderate-term on-the-job training
47-5012 Rotary drill operators, oil and gas 9,267 10,436 1,169 13% 4.59 4.28 $29.45 $33.32 Moderate-term on-the-job training
47-5081 Helpers, extraction workers 8,255 8,906 651 8% 4.17 4.16 $17.74 $19.04 Short-term on-the-job training
53-7073 Wellhead pumpers 4,942 5,484 542 11% 4.30 4.04 $20.09 $21.34 Moderate-term on-the-job training
51-8093 Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers 13,151 14,561 1,410 11% 3.93 3.94 $25.61 $25.56 Long-term on-the-job training
19-2042 Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers 8,582 9,789 1,207 14% 3.73 3.74 $57.45 $60.47 Master’s degree
51-6042 Shoe machine operators and tenders 980 1,009 29 3% 2.99 3.35 $8.44 $10.05 Moderate-term on-the-job training
51-6041 Shoe and leather workers and repairers 1,928 1,653 (275) (14%) 3.12 2.90 $9.20 $10.08 Long-term on-the-job training
51-8091 Chemical plant and system operators 10,584 9,751 (833) (8%) 2.95 2.79 $30.06 $29.78 Long-term on-the-job training
49-9096 Riggers 2,661 2,773 112 4% 2.46 2.57 $18.56 $19.33 Short-term on-the-job training
21-1019 Counselors, all other 5,791 6,333 542 9% 2.60 2.57 $28.02 $27.54 Master’s degree
47-3015 Helpers, pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 13,144 12,636 (508) (4%) 2.22 2.49 $12.62 $12.79 Short-term on-the-job training
51-8092 Gas plant operators 2,407 2,810 403 17% 2.41 2.46 $25.60 $25.48 Long-term on-the-job training
47-2011 Boilermakers 4,282 4,189 (93) (2%) 2.34 2.40 $25.05 $26.21 Long-term on-the-job training
13-2071 Loan counselors 5,814 5,663 (151) (3%) 2.47 2.36 $16.68 $17.73 Bachelor’s degree
31-2012 Occupational therapist aides 1,301 1,512 211 16% 2.33 2.27 $8.86 $9.67 Short-term on-the-job training
47-3013 Helpers, electricians 15,497 14,924 (573) (4%) 1.96 2.26 $12.42 $12.68 Short-term on-the-job training
47-3014 Helpers, painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons 2,680 2,305 (375) (14%) 1.62 2.13 $10.66 $10.94 Short-term on-the-job training
47-2171 Reinforcing iron and rebar workers 4,093 3,497 (596) (15%) 1.65 2.09 $13.43 $14.19 Long-term on-the-job training
53-7072 Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers 1,620 1,734 114 7% 2.01 2.09 $17.08 $18.05 Moderate-term on-the-job training
23-2093 Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers 9,505 9,066 (439) (5%) 2.12 2.09 $19.30 $22.61 Moderate-term on-the-job training
51-4192 Lay-out workers, metal and plastic 1,640 1,434 (206) (13%) 2.13 2.05 $16.15 $16.93 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Total 199335 215572 16237 0.08 23.41 24.75

  • Petroleum engineers again tops the list (6.49 LQ).
  • Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining (6.25), roustabouts, oil and gas (5.24) and geological and petroleum technicians (5.12) aren’t far behind.
  • Nine of the 26 most concentrated jobs are actually in decline, and all but one of these is related to either production (SOC Code 47) or construction & extraction (SOC Code 51).
  • The jobs showing the most growth are a result of the oil boom, with five of them near the top of the list: service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining (22% growth, 4,300 new jobs); roustabouts, oil and gas (20% growth, 5,291 new jobs); derrick operators, oil and gas (15% growth, 1,331 new jobs, 4.86 LQ); rotary drill operators, oil and gas (13% growth, 1,243 new jobs, 4.21 LQ); and helpers, extraction workers (8% growth, 649 new jobs, 4.12 LQ).
  • As for production jobs, the only one that is really doing well is petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers. It grew by 13%, added nearly 1,700 jobs, and has a notable LQ of 3.96 (ranking it 9th on the concentration table).
  • Most of the jobs on this list only require on the job training. Only five of these jobs require associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees.

BEST OVERALL

The best jobs in Texas tend to fall in three areas: oil & gas, health care, and business management.

  1. Oil & gas—Not surprisingly, the oil & gas sector boom is heavily pushing growth in Texas. If we put all the factors—pay, growth, concentration—together, we see that petroleum engineersgeoscientists, rotary drill operators, and petroleum pump system operators are prime targets according to the labor market data.
  2. Healthcare—Other promising jobs for 2012 are those in healthcare (especially registered nurses).
  3. Business management—Jobs like accountants and auditors, business operation specialistsmanagement analysts, and network systems & data communications analysts all seem pretty solid and have done well despite the past five years of economic slump.

These jobs all offer decent wages, show good growth, and are unique to the state.

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