States where you can earn the most money

We all know every career doesn't earn the same amount of money. But it turns out that just how much money your dream job pays can vary drastically from state to state. So, to help you determine the best place for each job, Rasmussen College just released an interactive tool for that purpose.

For instance, the average salary for a plumber in Alaska is $74,700 per year -- the highest in the nation. In Mississippi, though, you can expect to earn less than half that, at an average salary of $35,600.

But, before plumbers (and would be plumbers) pack up and head north, remember that it's more expensive to live in Alaska than Mississippi. When you adjust for cost of living, the best place for plumbers turns out to be Wisconsin ($72,637 adjusted for cost of living, compared to Alaska's adjusted $69,748). Florida's adjusted income overtakes Mississippi as the worst place ($37,490 in Florida compared with Mississippi's adjusted average of $41,204).

As a writer, I should make tracks Washington, D.C., where the average writer makes $87,270 ($73,832 adjusted for cost of living), and make sure to stay away from nearby West Virginia ($27,760, or $31,332 adjusted).


Want to be a chemist? Washington, D.C., is also your best bet, paying $112,760 ($95,398 adjusted). And if you're a chemist in Hawaii, you may not be able to afford that beach-front property. Chemists there make less than half of the D.C. salary: $56,140, or $47,901, adjusted.

Of course, you can't move to a particular state and demand a job based on the average salary. Averages are just that. You'll find people in every state making more and less. You'll also find some states hiring a lot in a particular area, and others not hiring at all.

Additionally, depending on where particular industries are located or particular colleges and universities, you may find an area completely saturated in your chosen field.

Regardless, the tool is fun to play with and can help you figure out where might go to chase your fortune. The data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.