Texas is perhaps the one state in the nation that could get by with holding up a giant sign that says ‘We’re #2’ and still feel pretty proud about it. Texas is the second largest state in the country in size, boasts the second largest population, and is the second largest economy. Its gross state product is one of the largest in the world, putting it ahead of South Korea and Canada, and comparable to Russia. Texas has 18 active military installations and a number of defense sector hubs, including Austin’s Silicon Hills, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston. Cleared work includes jobs supporting military installations, but also securing critical infrastructure and supporting missions with diverse agencies including the Department of Energy and Customs and Border Protection.
Cleared compensation in Texas remains competitive, particularly considering the lower cost of living. Cleared professionals make an average of $86,614, a 3% increase from 2018, the last time ClearanceJobs conducted a comprehensive salary survey. New companies continue to move to Texas or expand their operations, including plans by BAE Systems to double the size of their Austin workforce and build a new $150 million campus. When Texas says they’re #2, you might think—‘not for long.’
Compensation by Clearance Level
Department of Energy security clearance holders received the highest pay increases, 17%, and also had the highest total compensation, $121,540. Intel security clearance holders earned the second highest compensation, but actually saw a slight dip in compensation between 2018 and 2020.
Compensation by Career Level
Compensation saw a predictable uptick with career level, with professionals at the Executive Level reporting compensation 3x higher than Entry-Level cleared professionals. Executives also reported the highest compensation increases, a 31% increase, for average total compensation of $165,196. Entry-Level through Mid-Level career professionals also saw significant compensation increases, between 8-12% between 2018 and 2020. When it comes to which career bumps offer the biggest payout, professionals who jumped from the Mid-Level Career (5+ years of experience) to Senior-Level career (10+ years of experience) earn a $20,000 pay premium. A similar bump occurs for professionals who go from Management to Executive level—with a $50,000 premium to show for that new VP or higher title.
Jobs that Show Texans the Money
When it comes the highest paying jobs in Texas, the answers are engineering, engineering, and engineering. Chemical Engineers are the highest-paid cleared professionals. The figures coincide with Department of Energy security clearance holders obtaining the highest pay increases and total compensation compared to other clearance levels. Systems Engineers, including aerospace professionals are second, which is no surprise considering Texas’ long history of aerospace innovation, from the first military flight to SpaceX’s new Texas commercial spaceport. Mechanical Engineers, IT-Software, and Business professionals round out the top five highest-paid positions in Texas. All of the top five well-paying positions in Texas garner more than six figures, a solid figure when paired with a Texas cost of living that helps every dollar go farther.