Best-Paying U.S. Cities for Electricians

For anyone seeking a promising career option with plenty of opportunity in the next few decades, becoming an electrician would be a good choice.

Electricians enter the field without four-year degrees and can instead opt for a less expensive trade school education or an apprenticeship that allows them to earn while they hone their skills. Demand for electricians’ services is already fairly steady, since everyone relies on electricity, but the field also has bright prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the field will grow by 8% this decade—well above the overall job growth rate—as more of the nation’s energy infrastructure transitions to renewable sources. And like professionals in many other trades, electricians are well-compensated for their work, bringing in a median annual wage of more than $56,000.

Despite the growth opportunities moving forward, one downside to a career as an electrician is that employment in the profession is tightly correlated to larger economic trends. When the economy is booming, the demand for electricians rises with increased activity in industry and especially construction. But when the economy struggles, jobs in the field disappear. Recent history shows this trend: the Great Recession set off massive declines in employment for electricians, but from a low point in 2011, the field added nearly 300,000 full-time workers through the decade-long economic recovery.


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The strength of the electrician profession is not consistent across demographics, and the biggest gap in this regard is by gender. Women consistently represent less than 3% of the profession, and the share has been declining over the last five years despite continued growth in the industry overall. But this pattern is not unusual among other building trades: recent BLS data shows that women also make up less than 5% of related occupations like carpenter, plumber, roofer, and mason.

Location is also a significant factor in the job and earning prospects for electricians. In general, Midwestern states have some of the best wages for electricians after adjusting for cost of living, led by Illinois at an adjusted median annual wage of $83,645. This is partially attributable to cost differences, as many Midwestern states are less expensive to live in than their coastal counterparts, but these differences do not tell the whole story.

Instead, factors like industry mix and union strength may be the key factors that drive electricians’ wages. For instance, the third best-paying state for electricians, Alaska, has one of the nation’s highest unionization rates, along with a large oil and gas extraction industry that requires highly skilled electricians to keep equipment running safely and efficiently. Top-paying states in the Midwest similarly have stronger unions and manufacturing-oriented economies that rely on skilled industrial electricians. Meanwhile, lower-paying states in the South have much weaker labor unions and economies more likely to be driven by agriculture or other industries where electricians’ services are less critical. The same factors are at play at the metro level, and accordingly, most of the best-paying cities for electricians are located in the states that also pay electricians the most.

To see how locations compared on compensation for electricians, researchers at Construction Coverage used wage and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and cost-of-living data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to calculate the cost-adjusted median annual wage for electricians in each state and metro. They also calculated the relative concentration of electricians in each location, which is the location’s percentage difference from the national concentration.

Here are the best-paying metros for electricians.

Best-Paying Large Metros for Electricians

Kansas City, MO

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15. Kansas City, MO-KS

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $62,177
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $57,700
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $40,640
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -16.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -7.2%

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Louisville, KY

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14. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $64,063
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $57,400
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $37,460
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): +31.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -10.4%
Cleveland. OH

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13. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $65,261
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $58,670
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $40,440
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -20.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -10.1%
Seattle, WA

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12. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $65,406
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $74,890
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $53,360
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): +10.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): +14.5%
Las Vegas, NV

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11. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $65,645
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $63,610
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $35,660
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): +6.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -3.1%
Philadelphia, PA

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10. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $66,657
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $70,190
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $43,840
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -21.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): +5.3%

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Buffalo, NY

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9. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $68,159
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $64,410
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $39,470
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -8.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -5.5%
Detroit, MI

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8. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $72,392
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $68,990
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $41,620
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): +16.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -4.7%
Pittsburgh, PA

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7. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $73,203
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $67,640
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $40,570
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -15.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -7.6%
Minneapolis, MN

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6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $74,742
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $76,910
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $47,010
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -34.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): +2.9%
San Francisco, CA

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5. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $75,636
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $101,730
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $57,040
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): 0.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): +34.5%
Milwaukee, WI

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4. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $76,152
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $72,040
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $40,720
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -18.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -5.4%
Portland, OR

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3. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $77,848
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $81,740
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $45,350
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): +33.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): +5.0%
St. Louis, MO

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2. St. Louis, MO-IL

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $80,577
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $72,600
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $40,170
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -11.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): -9.9%
Chicago, IL

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1. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

  • Median annual wage for electricians (adjusted): $82,938
  • Median annual wage for electricians (actual): $85,260
  • Median annual wage for all workers (actual): $42,500
  • Relative concentration of electricians (compared to average): -12.0%
  • Relative cost of living (compared to average): +2.8%

Methodology & Detailed Findings

The wage and employment data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey. Cost-of-living data is from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Price Parities dataset.

For each location, the median annual wage for electricians was adjusted up or down based on the relative cost of living. In locations with higher living costs, wages were adjusted down to reflect lower purchasing power; whereas, in locations with lower living costs, wages were adjusted up to reflect greater purchasing power. Researchers also calculated the relative concentration of electricians in each location, which is the location’s percentage difference from the national concentration (measured as the total number of electricians divided by the total number of workers across all occupations).

Only locations with at least 100,000 people and available data from both the BLS and BEA were included in the analysis. Additionally, metropolitan areas were grouped into cohorts based on population size: small (100,000–349,999), midsize (350,000–999,999), and large (1,000,000 or more).

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