Are you thinking about starting a career in Michigan? Maybe you’re an experienced worker thinking about making a move or a newbie to the job market trying to figure out what career to chase.
Regardless, you may be wondering what the highest-paying jobs in Michigan are and what level of education you need to get them.
We’re taking a deep dive into the top jobs in Michigan that will net you the best return on your investment.
Average income in Michigan: The average household income in Michigan $86,093 with a median of $63,490.
Michigan highest paying jobs: The highest paying jobs outside management are found in STEM-related fields such as computers and engineering. Close behind are Legal, Healthcare, and Business occupations.
Michigan jobs by region: As expected, the highest concentration of good-paying jobs surrounds Michigan’s major cities, with the vast majority in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas.
Michigan degree levels compared to pay: Bachelor’s degrees are the clear winner when it comes to gaining access to these jobs. But just having a high school degree puts you in a position for over 20% of the jobs making over $50k per year.
The mean (average) household income in Michigan as of 2021 was $86,093 while the median income was $63,490. The large difference in these two numbers is created by a handful of high earners that dramatically increase the average.
For this reason, we use median income data throughout most of our analysis as it’s a more accurate picture of what most people earn.
It’s also worth noting the figures above are household incomes. The median income for an individual without a family was much less. Median incomes of nonfamily households was only $37,666.
If you’re interested in seeing how much you earn compared to others in Michigan, take a look at the data below.
|Income||Households||Families||Married-couple families||Nonfamily households|
|Less than $10,000||6.3%||3.8%||1.5%||11.6%|
|$10,000 to $14,999||3.9%||1.9%||0.9%||7.7%|
|$15,000 to $24,999||8.1%||5.1%||2.8%||13.8%|
|$25,000 to $34,999||8.6%||6.3%||4.2%||13.1%|
|$35,000 to $49,999||12.7%||10.8%||9.0%||16.3%|
|$50,000 to $74,999||18.1%||18.4%||17.7%||17.3%|
|$75,000 to $99,999||13.2%||15.2%||16.7%||9.0%|
|$100,000 to $149,999||15.5%||19.8%||23.5%||7.2%|
|$150,000 to $199,999||6.9%||9.2%||11.5%||2.3%|
|$200,000 or more||6.7%||9.4%||12.1%||1.8%|
If you’re looking for jobs in Michigan that are well-payed, you will first want to understand the broad job types you can choose from.
Jobs data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics is broken down into major categories. Some of these jobs will focus mainly on one industry, such as healthcare and legal. Others will be found across many different industries and offer more flexibility with respect to where you end up working. Business, finance, and computers are good examples of those that carry across industries.
Keep in mind there are high-paying jobs in every industry, and every job category. This list simply tells you where you will find the highest concentration of good-paying jobs.
Median Annual Salary
After deciding on a job type, you need to decide on what job you’re interested in. These charts break down the highest-paying jobs within those higher-level categories.
If you’re settled on the type of job you’d like, then you will want to take a closer look at the detailed list of jobs. We’ve broken out the top ten highest-paying jobs across the top five categories above.
These jobs are irrespective of education level. Some only require a high school education along with on-the-job training, and years of experience. Others require post-graduate degrees that require many years in school.
It’s imperative to understand you’re likelihood of completing the necessary schooling before heading down a path requiring a lot of schooling.
While the ROI is there for many high-paying jobs that require years of school, many students spend needlessly if they don’t complete their graduate programs.
|Occupation||Total Employment||Annual Median Salary|
|Architecture and Engineering|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||1,090||$102,730|
|Electronics Engineers, Except Computer||3,830||$99,980|
|Engineers, All Other||9,600||$99,340|
|Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers||320||$95,470|
|Business and Financial Operations|
|Project Management Specialists||22,070||$81,470|
|Financial Risk Specialists||1,040||$81,360|
|Financial and Investment Analysts||6,310||$78,720|
|Personal Financial Advisors||5,860||$77,750|
|Computer and Mathematical|
|Computer Network Architects||2,720||$103,110|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||200||$99,740|
|Computer Systems Analysts||14,750||$99,340|
|Information Security Analysts||2,820||$97,980|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical||*median not provided so used mean|
|Emergency Medicine Physicians||1,890||$354,650|
|Surgeons, All Other||1,350||$300,200|
|Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric||400||$289,810|
|Orthopedic Surgeons, Except Pediatric||380||$284,910|
|Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers||350||$117,810|
|Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators||220||$70,800|
|Legal Support Workers, All Other||850||$59,160|
|Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates||600||$49,700|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||6,650||$49,260|
|Judicial Law Clerks||260||$48,600|
|Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers||2,590||$46,640|
|Life, Physical, and Social Science|
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||290||$101,590|
|Atmospheric and Space Scientists||170||$81,340|
|Biological Scientists, All Other||530||$79,540|
There are high-paying jobs available at all levels of education, but as you can see, a bachelor’s degree by far gives you the greatest access.
Surprisingly, the next degree level with the highest-paid jobs only requires a high school degree. While that’s definitely good news, keep in mind that these jobs typically require five years of experience or more before getting to those salaries. That said, these are median numbers, so there are plenty of people succeeding without needing a college degree.
Associate’s degrees and certifications account for approximately 13 percent. It’s this number we hope to see grow as companies expand the roles they offer to people with something less than a bachelor’s degree.
The map below gives a geographical representation of where you can find high-paying jobs in Michigan.
Note: The median regionals income includes only data from occupations starting at the $50k threshold for a high-paying job.
If you’re looking for the highest concentration of high-paying jobs in Michigan, you’ll want to put yourself close to the two major metro areas.
Detroit metro and Grand Rapids are home to approximately 68 percent of the jobs that pay best.
Our major college towns are next up with Kalamazoo, East Lansing, and Ann Arbor all having substantial opportunities.
Graduating high school is the first step in positioning yourself for high-paying jobs. If you go no further, you’ll still have good opportunities. But the further you take your education, the more likely it is you will find a good-paying job. It’s also more likely you’ll get that pay level without putting in as much time on the job.
Bachelor’s degree – While we hope to see this change, it’s undeniable that a bachelor’s degree or beyond is the best ticket to a high-paying job in Michigan. If you’re sure of the direction you want to go and have the financing, then a university is a great choice that will typically pay off in the long run.
Community Colleges – These schools are where you can find many associate degree programs, and other programs intended to get workers out of school faster. Community colleges are also a great place to start if you’re unsure of what career you’re interested in. You can take a broad curriculum, and earn credits towards a bachelor’s degree at a larger university in the process. Just be sure to check the classes and understand if they transfer to your desired university.
Apprenticeships – These programs are a fantastic way to get training and prepare for a high-paying career. An apprenticeship is typically run through an employer, combining on-the-job and classroom training. This allows participants to earn money while completing the program, which typically takes only 12-24 months.
The downside of apprenticeships is they don’t give as broad an education as a community college or university. But if you’re certain the path you’d like to take, then an apprenticeship can be one of your best options.
Technology Bootcamps – Bootcamps have been on the rise for the past decade and are similar to trade schools where you receive training in a specific area, typically related to technology. Areas of focus have been on coding, data science, UX design, and cybersecurity, as these are all fast-growing areas within tech.
Similar to apprenticeships or certification programs, bootcamps typically last from 6-18 months and cost far less than a university.
Hopefully, you better understand what jobs in Michigan can provide you with the highest standard of living. If you’re looking for a new career and want to maximize your return, certain industries and job types are going to give you a better chance for success.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t pursue a passion in a different career if that’s what you love. There are good-paying jobs in almost every sector of the economy.
But if you’re looking for the absolute best chances, you now have a map of jobs and locations that may provide the best opportunities in Michigan.