No matter what job you have, where you live is going to determine how much you get paid — almost as much as the degree you got in college or your current job title. That’s why tech developers have their eyes set on the West Coast, financial analysts are gunning for a spot on Wall Street, and so on.
But what about those jobs that are needed everywhere, and aren’t concentrated in a specific area? As we’ve seen with school teachers, even then the salaries can vary greatly depending on where they call home. Teachers in New York make an average of $35,000 more per year than educators in South Dakota, for example. Some of that can be explained by cost of living differences, but it’s clear that other factors are at play when you cross state lines.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a complete shock that people in other professions also have varying salaries depending on their home state — including police officers. About 653,700 police officers are employed across the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and each one has a unique set of experiences involved with protecting and serving their communities.
Nationwide, these police and sheriff’s patrol officers have positions in local, state, and federal offices, along with positions at colleges or schools. The national average wage for a police officer in the United States, according to the most recent data released by the BLS, is $29.45 per hour, or a salary of $61,270 per year. But as we’ll see in the breakdown of highest- and lowest-paying states, that can fluctuate quite a bit. We took a look at the states on either spectrum, along with the metropolitan area within each of those states that pays officers the most. How does your state stack up?