Special Report

The Most Iconic Job in Every State

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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