Which States Pay Best—and Worst—for the Most Dangerous Jobs?

New research reveals the highest and lowest-paying states for dangerous occupations, including logging workers, fishers, aircraft pilots, roofers and garbage collectors.  The analysis of mean salaries in all 50 states for jobs with the highest industry rates revealed that only 15 states pay above the national average of $56,795 for these dangerous jobs.

The research, by Expert Market, provides overall rankings, plus a breakdown by occupation.  Here are the best and worst states for pay among employers in dangerous jobs and their mean salaries:

Best-Paying States

These seven states paid 10% or more higher than the national average (the top four states paid over 20% or more)

  1. Washington—$70,682
  2. California–$70,618
  3. Illinois –$69,859
  4. New Jersey–$68,458
  5. Connecticut–$66,418
  6. New York–$66,202
  7. Colorado–$63,220

Worst-Paying States

Twenty-two states paid at least 10% less than the national average to employees in the dangerous jobs identified in the survey.  All of the below paid over 18% less, with West Virginia by far the lowest—over 28% below the national average.

  1. Oklahoma–$46,317
  2. Georgia–$45,564
  3. Mississippi–$45,240
  4. Utah–$45,233
  5. South Dakota–$44,642
  6. Maine –$44,028
  7. West Virginia–$40,866

Who Pays Most for Top 5 Most Perilous Jobs?

In terms of specific jobs, Alaska emerged as the highest-paying state for what is statistically the most dangerous job in America.  According to the research, there are 132.7 fatalities among 100,000 logging workers, making it by far the most perilous.

Florida is the highest-paying state for the 2nd most dangerous job—fishers and related fishing workers (54.8 fatalities per 100K) and Colorado paid the highest for the 3rd most dangerous occupation of aircraft pilots and craft engineers (40.4 per 100K).

New York emerged as the highest paying state for the 4th and 5th most dangerous occupations—roofers (39.7) and refuse and recyclable material collectors (39.7 and 38.8 respectively).

Didn’t see your state or want to learn more about how it stacks up?   Get full survey results from The Best Paying States for Americas Most Dangerous Jobs report.