Special Report

The Most Iconic Job in Every State

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Source: usfwshq / Flickr

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.

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Source: andresr / Getty Images

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.

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Source: artiemedvedev / Getty Images

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.

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Source: ronniechua / Getty Images

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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