Best and Worst Cities To Score Your Dream Job

 


Thinking about switching jobs this year? Nearly 1 in 4 Americans said their top 2020 career resolution was to look for a new job, according to a survey by workflow automation system Zapier. Clearly, plenty of other people are thinking about making a change.

Before you start searching, though, consider what you want in a new job. Is it higher pay, a better workplace environment, advancement opportunities, or work-life balance? The best jobs typically have all of those attributes. They also tend to be in fields or industries that are growing — which means there are more openings for these jobs. For job seekers, that’s a win-win.

The key, then, is figuring out where those opportunities are available. After all, to land your dream job, you may have to move. The job you want might not be available in the city where you currently live, and even if it is, you might find that you could get paid much more for doing the same thing elsewhere.

To help you with your job search, GOBankingRates identified the best — and worst — cities to score your dream job. First, GOBankingRates looked at U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best jobs in 2020, which includes careers that pay well, offer room for advancement, and provide a good work-life balance. GOBankingRates then used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine which metropolitan statistical areas offer the highest and lowest wages for 50 of those jobs.

For metro areas that encompass more than one city (e.g., San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California), only the first city (San Jose) was used. The study is ordered according to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking. If you’re looking to make more money in 2020, these are the best places to score your dream job.

Software Developer

  • Best city to score this job: San Jose, California
    • Average annual wage: $144,210
  • Worst city to score this job: Lafayette, Louisiana
    • Average annual wage: $55,810

Dentist

  • Best city to score this job: Eugene, Oregon
    • Average annual wage: $207,800
  • Worst city to score this job: Shreveport, Louisiana
    • Average annual wage: $70,960

Physician Assistant

  • Best city to score this job: Danbury, Connecticut
    • Average annual wage: $146,000
  • Worst city to score this job: Muncie, Indiana
    • Average annual wage: $61,230

Orthodontist

  • Best city to score this job: Boston
    • Average annual wage: $277,770
  • Worst city to score this job: Milwaukee
    • Average annual wage: $140,350

Nurse Practitioner

  • Best city to score this job: New Bedford, Massachusetts
    • Average annual wage: $156,980
  • Worst city to score this job: Auburn, Alabama
    • Average annual wage: $75,620

Statistician

  • Best city to score this job: Bridgeport, Connecticut
    • Average annual wage: $142,520
  • Worst city to score this job: College Station, Texas
    • Average annual wage: $50,510

Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Best city to score this job: Napa, California
    • Average annual wage: $106,620
  • Worst city to score this job: Idaho Falls, Idaho
    • Average annual wage: $51,300

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

  • Best city to score this job: Washington
    • Average annual wage: $283,480
  • Worst city to score this job: Oklahoma City
    • Average annual wage: $222,140

Veterinarian

  • Best city to score this job: Lubbock, Texas
    • Average annual wage: $228,450
  • Worst city to score this job: Little Rock, Arkansas
    • Average annual wage: $59,800
Medical and Health Services Manager
  • Best city to score this job: Vallejo, California
    • Average annual wage: $157,240
  • Worst city to score this job: Johnstown, Pennsylvania
    • Average annual wage: $71,890

Information Technology Manager

  • Best city to score this job: San Jose, California
    • Average annual wage: $205,650
  • Worst city to score this job: Morristown, Tennessee
    • Average annual wage: $83,060

Registered Nurse

  • Best city to score this job: Salinas, California
    • Average annual wage: $131,710
  • Worst city to score this job: Sebring, Florida
    • Average annual wage: $49,100

Mathematician

  • Best city to score this job: Washington
    • Average annual wage: $138,900
  • Worst city to score this job: San Francisco
    • Average annual wage: $87,150

Physical Therapist

  • Best city to score this job: Ames, Iowa
    • Average annual wage: $118,870
  • Worst city to score this job: Burlington, North Carolina
    • Average annual wage: $68,120

Optometrist

  • Best city to score this job: Hartford, Connecticut
    • Average annual wage: $203,390
  • Worst city to score this job: Tampa, Florida
    • Average annual wage: $78,350

Anesthesiologist

  • Best city to score this job: Elkhart, Indiana
    • Average annual wage: $289,910
  • Worst city to score this job: Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
    • Average annual wage: $93,080

Surgeon

  • Best city to score this job: Greenville, North Carolina
    • Average annual wage: $289,460
  • Worst city to score this job: Grand Rapids, Michigan
    • Average annual wage: $86,870

Obstetrician and Gynecologist

  • Best city to score this job: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
    • Average annual wage: $288,240
  • Worst city to score this job: Grand Rapids, Michigan
    • Average annual wage: $109,640

Operations Research Analyst

  • Best city to score this job: Boulder, Colorado
    • Average annual wage: $116,690
  • Worst city to score this job: Pine Bluff, Arkansas
    • Average annual wage: $48,140

Nurse Anesthetist

  • Best city to score this job: Akron, Ohio
    • Average annual wage: $285,460
  • Worst city to score this job: North Port, Florida
    • Average annual wage: $71,460

Pediatrician

  • Best city to score this job: Montgomery, Alabama
    • Average annual wage: $285,070
  • Worst city to score this job: Grand Rapids, Michigan
    • Average annual wage: $63,680

Web Developer

  • Best city to score this job: San Francisco
    • Average annual wage: $106,940
  • Worst city to score this job: Evansville, Indiana
    • Average annual wage: $40,140

Dental Hygienist

  • Best city to score this job: Fairbanks, Alaska
    • Average annual wage: $113,190
  • Worst city to score this job: Daphne, Alabama
    • Average annual wage: $41,700

Genetic Counselor

  • Best city to score this job: San Francisco
    • Average annual wage: $102,780
  • Worst city to score this job: Baltimore
    • Average annual wage: $64,610
Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Best city to score this job: Morristown, Tennessee
    • Average annual wage: $80,460
  • Worst city to score this job: Logan, Utah
    • Average annual wage: $33,650

Financial Manager

  • Best city to score this job: New York
    • Average annual wage: $208,670
  • Worst city to score this job: Hinesville, Georgia
    • Average annual wage: $65,700

Occupational Therapist

  • Best city to score this job: Las Vegas
    • Average annual wage: $108,190
  • Worst city to score this job: Joplin, Missouri
    • Average annual wage: $46,310

Database Administrator

  • Best city to score this job: Dover, New Hampshire
    • Average annual wage: $113,220
  • Worst city to score this job: Billings, Montana
    • Average annual wage: $51,990

Financial Advisor

  • Best city to score this job: Gainesville, Georgia
    • Average annual wage: $215,840
  • Worst city to score this job: Florence, South Carolina
    • Average annual wage: $49,350

Mechanical Engineer

  • Best city to score this job: Anchorage, Alaska
    • Average annual wage: $147,570
  • Worst city to score this job: Farmington, New Mexico
    • Average annual wage: $56,760

Civil Engineer

  • Best city to score this job: Anchorage, Alaska
    • Average annual wage: $132,680
  • Worst city to score this job: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
    • Average annual wage: $58,740

Psychiatrist

  • Best city to score this job: Seattle
    • Average annual wage: $285,030
  • Worst city to score this job: Bellingham, Washington
    • Average annual wage: $71,450

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

  • Best city to score this job: St. George, Utah
    • Average annual wage: $75,000
  • Worst city to score this job: Terre Haute, Indiana
    • Average annual wage: $26,450

School Psychologist

  • Best city to score this job: Vallejo, California
    • Average annual wage: $119,110
  • Worst city to score this job: Columbus, Indiana
    • Average annual wage: $43,200

Home Health Aide

  • Best city to score this job: Santa Rosa, California
    • Average annual wage: $51,680
  • Worst city to score this job: Abilene, Texas
    • Average annual wage: $18,530

Information Security Analyst

  • Best city to score this job: New York
    • Average annual wage: $128,420
  • Worst city to score this job: Lafayette, Louisiana
    • Average annual wage: $54,570

Respiratory Therapist

  • Best city to score this job: Salinas, California
    • Average annual wage: $97,130
  • Worst city to score this job: Decatur, Alabama
    • Average annual wage: $44,500

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

  • Best city to score this job: Salinas, California
    • Average annual wage: $114,250
  • Worst city to score this job: Burlington, North Carolina
    • Average annual wage: $44,270

Accountant

  • Best city to score this job: New York
    • Average annual wage: $99,900
  • Worst city to score this job: Carbondale, Illinois
    • Average annual wage: $53,680

Market Research Analyst

  • Best city to score this job: San Jose, California
    • Average annual wage: $97,240
  • Worst city to score this job: Idaho Falls, Idaho
    • Average annual wage: $33,320

Marketing Manager

  • Best city to score this job: San Jose, California
    • Average annual wage: $197,130
  • Worst city to score this job: Idaho Falls, Idaho
    • Average annual wage: $70,320

Podiatrist
  • Best city to score this job: Charlotte, North Carolina
    • Average annual wage: $256,950
  • Worst city to score this job: Los Angeles
    • Average annual wage: $78,040

Environmental Engineer

  • Best city to score this job: Anchorage, Alaska
    • Average annual wage: $138,810
  • Worst city to score this job: Wheeling, West Virginia
    • Average annual wage: $28,080

Social and Community Service Manager

  • Best city to score this job: Greeley, Colorado
    • Average annual wage: $99,800
  • Worst city to score this job: Idaho Falls, Idaho
    • Average annual wage: $41,010

Lawyer

  • Best city to score this job: San Jose, California
    • Average annual wage: $207,950
  • Worst city to score this job: Hickory, North Carolina
    • Average annual wage: $63,360

Marriage and Family Therapist

  • Best city to score this job: Provo, Utah
    • Average annual wage: $95,670
  • Worst city to score this job: Chattanooga, Tennessee
    • Average annual wage: $31,330

Medical Assistant

  • Best city to score this job: Vallejo, California
    • Average annual wage: $46,170
  • Worst city to score this job: Laredo, Texas
    • Average annual wage: $23,260

Computer Systems Analyst

  • Best city to score this job: San Jose, California
    • Average annual wage: $120,390
  • Worst city to score this job: Decatur, Illinois
    • Average annual wage: $54,500

Actuary

  • Best city to score this job: Bridgeport, Connecticut
    • Average annual wage: $151,300
  • Worst city to score this job: Akron, Ohio
    • Average annual wage: $70,310

Medical Records Technician

  • Best city to score this job: Atlantic City, New Jersey
    • Average annual wage: $62,520
  • Worst city to score this job: Wichita Falls, Texas
    • Average annual wage: $29,800


    Methodology: To find the best and worst cities to score your dream job, GOBankingRates looked at U.S. News & World Report’s “100 Best Jobs” 2020 report and selected 50 jobs from the list. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2018 occupational employment statistics were used to find each occupation’s highest and lowest average annual wage by metropolitan statistical area. The MSA that provided the highest average annual wage for each job was designated as the best city to score that job. The MSA that provided the lowest average annual wage for each job was designated as the worst city to score that job. All data used to conduct this study was compiled and verified on Jan. 17, 2020, and is subject to change. 

    Researcher’s note: In cases where multiple cities were represented within one MSA (e.g., San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California), GOBankingRates listed only the first city (San Jose) for clarity and reader experience.