Iowa’s Goldmine: Top Earning Careers Revealed!

medical professionals

Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, Iowa is not just about cornfields and state fairs. This state has a bustling job market with some of the highest paying jobs in Iowa across various industries. From the health sector to information technology, Iowa offers lucrative opportunities for professionals seeking high remuneration. In this article, we’ll dive into what makes these roles the highest paying jobs in Iowa and what you need to get there.

Health Sector: Where High Salaries Meet High Demand

In Iowa, the health sector boasts a robust demand for skilled professionals coupled with lucrative salary prospects. Among the highest paying jobs in the state, positions in healthcare, particularly those of surgeons, physicians, dentists, and orthodontists, stand out for their substantial earning potential and crucial role in maintaining community health.

Surgeons and Physicians

At the pinnacle of Iowa’s healthcare pay scale reside surgeons and physicians, whose exceptional expertise and dedication command salaries often exceeding $250,000 annually. These esteemed professionals, adept at navigating the complexities of medical science, serve as vital pillars of Iowa’s healthcare system, offering indispensable services in surgical intervention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Surgeons, equipped with precision and skill, specialize in performing intricate surgical procedures aimed at restoring health and alleviating ailments. Physicians, on the other hand, possess a breadth of medical knowledge and diagnostic acumen, enabling them to address a diverse range of medical conditions with compassion and expertise.

Job TitleAnnual Salary

The path to becoming a surgeon or physician is paved with years of rigorous education, including completion of medical school followed by residency and, in some cases, fellowship programs. This steadfast dedication to learning and specialization underscores their expertise and positions them as indispensable assets within Iowa’s healthcare landscape.

Dentists and Orthodontists

Dentists and orthodontists emerge as another cohort of high earners within the Iowa health sector. These professionals, specializing in oral health and dental care, can garner annual salaries surpassing $200,000, making their occupations among the most lucrative in the dental field.

Job TitleAnnual Salary

Dentists play a pivotal role in preserving oral health through a comprehensive range of services, including preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment of various dental issues. Their expertise extends to addressing concerns such as cavities, gum disease, and oral infections, ensuring that patients maintain optimal oral hygiene and health throughout their lives.

Orthodontists, on the other hand, specialize in the precise correction of misalignments and irregularities in teeth and jaws. Through the use of braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances, they work diligently to enhance both the aesthetics and functionality of their patients’ smiles, ultimately contributing to improved oral health and overall quality of life.

Technology and Innovation: Iowa’s Growing Tech Scene

In recent years, Iowa has witnessed a remarkable surge in its technology sector, fostering an environment ripe for innovation and growth. Within this dynamic landscape, certain professions stand out as highly sought-after and financially rewarding, with information systems managers and software developers leading the pack.

Information Systems Managers

In the fast-evolving technological landscape of Iowa, the demand for proficient information systems managers has reached unprecedented levels. These professionals play a central role within organizations, overseeing the strategic planning, seamless implementation, and efficient maintenance of information technology systems and infrastructure. With an average annual salary of approximately $130,000, information systems managers rank among the highest earners in the state. Here are the key responsibilities they shoulder:

  • Strategic IT Planning: Information systems managers are tasked with developing and executing comprehensive IT strategies aligned with overarching business objectives, ensuring that technological investments drive organizational growth and innovation;
  • Resource Management: Efficient allocation and management of IT budgets and resources fall within the purview of information systems managers, who must navigate budgetary constraints while maximizing the impact of technology investments;
  • Data Security and Integrity: Safeguarding the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and systems is paramount. Information systems managers are responsible for implementing robust security measures and protocols to mitigate cyber threats and ensure compliance with regulatory standards;
  • Technology Deployment: Overseeing the seamless deployment of software and hardware solutions is crucial for maintaining operational efficiency. Information systems managers coordinate the integration of new technologies while minimizing disruption to business operations;
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Collaboration with various departments is essential to align technology initiatives with organizational goals. Information systems managers serve as liaisons between IT teams and other stakeholders, fostering collaboration and ensuring that technology solutions meet the needs of end-users.

Software Developers

In Iowa’s thriving tech ecosystem, software developers occupy a prominent position, commanding both attention and generous compensation. These professionals are instrumental in the design, development, testing, and maintenance of software applications that underpin a multitude of industries, from finance to healthcare. Depending on their experience and specialization, software developers can earn annual salaries ranging from $100,000 to $150,000, making them highly sought-after talents in the job market. Here are the primary responsibilities associated with their roles:

  • Requirement Analysis: Collaborating closely with stakeholders, software developers gather and analyze project requirements, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of client needs and expectations;
  • Coding Excellence: Writing clean, efficient, and maintainable code lies at the core of a software developer’s responsibilities. They leverage their expertise in programming languages and best practices to translate project requirements into functional software solutions;
  • Software Testing and Debugging: Rigorous testing and debugging procedures are essential to ensure the functionality and reliability of software applications. Software developers meticulously test their code and troubleshoot any issues to deliver high-quality products;
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Given the dynamic nature of the tech industry, software developers must remain abreast of emerging technologies and industry trends. They invest time in continuous learning and skill development to stay ahead of the curve;
  • Team Collaboration: Software development is often a collaborative endeavor, with developers working in interdisciplinary teams to achieve project goals. Effective communication and collaboration skills are essential for fostering teamwork and delivering successful software products.

Legal and Financial Experts: High Stakes, High Rewards

In the state of Iowa, legal and financial experts occupy prestigious positions, commanding substantial salaries commensurate with their expertise and responsibilities.


Legal acumen serves as a cornerstone of Iowa’s judicial landscape, with adept lawyers assuming integral roles in navigating complex legal terrain. Seasoned practitioners in Iowa boast an average annual salary of $110,000, reflecting the high demand for their specialized services. Their multifaceted responsibilities encompass a myriad of legal tasks, including:

  • Offering expert legal counsel: Lawyers in Iowa serve as trusted advisors, providing strategic guidance and representation to individuals, businesses, and organizations grappling with legal dilemmas;
  • Crafting precise legal documents: Armed with meticulous attention to detail, lawyers meticulously draft legal instruments such as contracts, agreements, and pleadings, ensuring clarity and adherence to legal principles;
  • Conducting exhaustive legal research: Grounded in a thorough understanding of legal precedents and statutes, lawyers undertake comprehensive research endeavors to bolster legal arguments and furnish clients with informed advice;
  • Advocating in judicial proceedings: From courtroom skirmishes to arbitration sessions, lawyers in Iowa fearlessly advocate on behalf of their clients, leveraging persuasive prowess and legal acumen to secure favorable outcomes;
  • Negotiating favorable settlements: Steeped in the art of negotiation, lawyers adeptly navigate settlement discussions, striving to achieve equitable resolutions that serve the best interests of their clients while minimizing protracted legal battles.

Financial Managers

In the realm of finance, Iowa’s economic landscape finds stalwart guardians in the form of astute financial managers, entrusted with safeguarding fiscal interests and steering businesses toward prosperity. Renowned for their financial acumen, these professionals boast annual earnings averaging around $120,000, underscoring the critical role they play in ensuring financial stability. Their core responsibilities encompass a spectrum of strategic functions, including:

  • Crafting robust financial strategies: Armed with foresight and analytical prowess, financial managers develop comprehensive financial strategies and long-term plans tailored to bolster business objectives and maximize profitability;
  • Overseeing financial operations: From budgeting to financial reporting, financial managers exercise diligent oversight over financial operations, ensuring adherence to fiscal discipline and regulatory compliance;
  • Harnessing data-driven insights: Leveraging advanced analytics tools, financial managers dissect financial data and performance metrics, identifying trends and opportunities for enhancing operational efficiency and optimizing resource allocation;
  • Mitigating financial risks: Ever vigilant against potential pitfalls, financial managers deploy risk management strategies to safeguard against market volatility and unforeseen contingencies, preserving financial assets and bolstering resilience;
  • Fostering cross-functional collaboration: Recognizing the interconnectedness of business functions, financial managers collaborate closely with departments and stakeholders, aligning financial activities with overarching business goals and fostering synergistic partnerships.

Engineering Marvels: Building Iowa’s Future

The field of engineering plays a pivotal role in shaping Iowa’s future, with skilled professionals driving innovation and development across various sectors. Among these professionals, chemical engineers and electrical engineers stand out for their specialized expertise and significant contributions to Iowa’s engineering landscape.

Chemical Engineers

At the forefront of manufacturing and research, chemical engineering stands as a linchpin driving Iowa’s economic engine forward. Esteemed for their ingenuity, chemical engineers command some of the most lucrative positions in the state, with salaries soaring beyond the $100,000 threshold annually. Their multifaceted roles encompass an array of critical functions, including:

  • Designing and optimizing chemical processes: From conceptualization to implementation, chemical engineers orchestrate intricate processes to manufacture a plethora of materials and products essential to various industries;
  • Pioneering research initiatives: Fueled by curiosity and innovation, chemical engineers delve into the realms of experimentation, striving to unearth novel materials, technologies, and methodologies that redefine industry standards;
  • Ensuring safety and sustainability: With a steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship, chemical engineers champion the implementation of stringent safety protocols and environmental regulations, safeguarding both personnel and ecosystems from the perils of chemical hazards;
  • Cultivating collaborative ecosystems: Embracing the ethos of teamwork, chemical engineers collaborate seamlessly with cross-functional teams, synergizing diverse perspectives to drive continuous improvement and innovation;
  • Resolving complex challenges: Armed with analytical prowess and problem-solving acumen, chemical engineers navigate through intricate challenges, adeptly troubleshooting and resolving issues that arise within chemical processes and equipment.

Electrical Engineers

In a world powered by electricity, the role of electrical engineers transcends conventional boundaries, permeating every facet of modern existence. Within Iowa’s dynamic engineering landscape, electrical engineers reign supreme, commanding salaries averaging around $95,000 annually. Their domain expertise spans a spectrum of pivotal responsibilities, including:

  • Architecting electrical systems: With an eye for precision and efficiency, electrical engineers conceptualize and craft intricate electrical systems tailored to diverse applications, from industrial complexes to residential dwellings;
  • Fostering innovation in power generation: Driven by a quest for sustainable energy solutions, electrical engineers pioneer advancements in power generation technologies, harnessing renewable resources and optimizing energy efficiency;
  • Conducting comprehensive feasibility studies: Grounded in meticulous analysis, electrical engineers conduct exhaustive feasibility studies and cost-benefit analyses, guiding decision-makers in the pursuit of economically viable electrical projects;
  • Facilitating seamless integration: Collaborating closely with architects, contractors, and fellow engineers, electrical engineers ensure the seamless integration of electrical systems within the architectural framework, harmonizing form and function to perfection;
  • Embracing continuous learning: In a field characterized by relentless innovation, electrical engineers embrace a lifelong commitment to learning, staying abreast of emerging technologies and industry standards to remain at the vanguard of progress.

Education and Academia: Shaping Minds, Securing Futures

Postsecondary teachers, particularly those specialized in high-demand fields like law, medicine, and engineering, can command significant salaries in Iowa. With earnings often exceeding $85,000 annually, these educators rank among the highest-paid professionals in the state. Their roles encompass a diverse array of responsibilities, including:

Delivering Instruction

Postsecondary teachers engage in various instructional activities to facilitate student learning and development:

  • Lectures and Seminars: Delivering engaging lectures and interactive seminars to undergraduate and graduate students, covering foundational concepts and advanced topics in their respective fields;
  • Laboratory Sessions: Conducting hands-on laboratory sessions to provide practical experience and reinforce theoretical concepts, particularly in STEM disciplines.

Curriculum Development

To ensure relevance and currency, postsecondary teachers continually update and enhance curriculum content:

  • Content Review: Regularly reviewing and revising course materials to incorporate the latest research findings, technological advancements, and industry trends;
  • Innovative Teaching Methods: Exploring innovative teaching methodologies, such as flipped classrooms and experiential learning, to enhance student engagement and learning outcomes.

Student Mentorship and Advising

Postsecondary teachers provide valuable guidance and support to students throughout their academic journey and beyond:

  • Academic Advising: Assisting students in course selection, academic planning, and career exploration to align their interests and goals with educational opportunities;
  • Career Counseling: Offering insights into career pathways, internship opportunities, and professional development resources to help students make informed decisions about their future endeavors.

Research and Scholarship

Engagement in research and scholarly activities is integral to the role of postsecondary teachers:

  • Research Projects: Conducting original research studies, experiments, and investigations to advance knowledge and address pressing societal challenges within their fields;
  • Publication: Disseminating research findings through peer-reviewed scholarly articles, conference presentations, and academic publications to contribute to the academic discourse and knowledge dissemination.

Academic Service and Leadership

Postsecondary teachers actively participate in academic committees and professional organizations to promote excellence and innovation in their disciplines:

  • Committee Involvement: Serving on departmental, college, or university committees to shape policies, curriculum development, and academic standards;
  • Professional Engagement: Engaging in collaborative initiatives, conferences, and workshops with peers to exchange ideas, share best practices, and foster interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Business of Agriculture: Beyond the Fields

Agricultural managers in Iowa are responsible for coordinating and supervising agricultural activities on farms, ranches, and other agricultural establishments. Their duties encompass a wide range of tasks, including:

Planning and Implementing Crop Production Schedules:

Agricultural managers in Iowa meticulously plan and execute crop production schedules to ensure optimal yields and resource utilization. This involves:

  • Crop Selection: Analyzing soil quality, climate conditions, and market demand to determine the most suitable crops for cultivation;
  • Planting Operations: Coordinating the timing and methods of planting, including the use of specialized machinery for precision seeding;
  • Irrigation Management: Implementing efficient irrigation systems to provide crops with adequate water throughout their growth stages;
  • Harvesting Activities: Organizing and overseeing the harvest process, including the use of modern harvesting equipment for efficiency.

Managing Livestock Operations:

Livestock management is another critical aspect of agricultural management in Iowa, involving:

  • Breeding Programs: Developing and implementing breeding strategies to improve the genetic quality and productivity of livestock;
  • Feeding Management: Formulating balanced diets and feeding schedules to meet the nutritional needs of different animal species;
  • Healthcare Oversight: Implementing disease prevention measures, vaccination programs, and providing prompt medical attention when necessary.

Monitoring and Maintaining Equipment and Infrastructure:

Ensuring the functionality and safety of equipment, machinery, and infrastructure is essential for seamless agricultural operations. This entails:

  • Routine Maintenance: Scheduling regular inspections and maintenance tasks to prevent breakdowns and prolong the lifespan of equipment;
  • Repair Coordination: Facilitating timely repairs and replacements as needed, often collaborating with equipment suppliers and technicians;
  • Infrastructure Upkeep: Maintaining farm buildings, fences, and other structures to ensure a safe and conducive working environment.

Analyzing Market Trends and Agricultural Data:

In today’s dynamic agricultural landscape, staying informed about market trends and data analytics is imperative for informed decision-making. Agricultural managers in Iowa engage in:

  • Market Research: Monitoring commodity prices, consumer preferences, and global trade dynamics to identify opportunities and risks;
  • Data Analysis: Utilizing advanced analytics tools to analyze yield data, weather patterns, and other relevant metrics for optimizing production strategies;
  • Risk Management: Implementing risk mitigation strategies such as crop insurance and hedging to safeguard against unforeseen market fluctuations.

Overseeing Budgeting, Financial Management, and Administrative Tasks

Effective financial management and administrative oversight are fundamental for the sustainability and success of agricultural enterprises. This involves:

  • Budget Development: Creating comprehensive budgets that allocate resources efficiently across various operational needs;
  • Financial Reporting: Generating financial reports and conducting periodic reviews to assess the financial health of the farm and identify areas for improvement;
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations related to agriculture, labor, environmental protection, and food safety.


Iowa, often underestimated, is a land brimming with opportunities. The highest paying jobs in Iowa span across diverse fields, offering lucrative careers for those with the right skills and qualifications. Whether it’s the tech hubs in its cities or the vast agricultural lands, Iowa’s job market is as varied as it is rewarding.


What education is needed for these high-paying jobs in Iowa?

Most of the highest paying jobs in Iowa, especially in healthcare and engineering, require advanced degrees and specialized training.

Are these jobs only in urban areas of Iowa?

While many high-paying jobs are in urban areas like Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, there are opportunities throughout the state, especially in healthcare and agriculture.

How has the job market changed in Iowa over the years?

There’s been a shift towards technology and healthcare, reflecting national trends. However, agriculture and manufacturing remain strong sectors.

Jerry Miller

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *