Thousands of people relocate to Colorado every year to explore the large, multifaceted US state. In 2017 alone, 77,049 visitors moved into the area. So, what attracts so many people to Colorado? From a range of mountains to plains of agriculture, wineries, orchards, deepest geothermal springs worldwide, and North America’s tallest dunes, there is so much to discover. Colorado is the sunniest state in the US with 300 days of sun per year. It is full of different types of ‘cool’ people who enjoy different things, including hiking, mountain biking, camping, rock climbing, eating healthy, gym, beer, skiing, outdoor concerts, ranching, and so on.
So, what is the average salary in Colorado? How much can you expect to earn in this seemingly marvellous state? The average salary in Colorado is 101,000 USD per annum, which is 6% higher than that of the US average of $94,800/year. The average salary is 8,410 USD at a monthly rate and $49 an hour for hourly jobs.
Job opportunities here are plenty, although unemployment rates have been increasing in the past months due to the effects of the coronavirus. Employees in the area enjoy a whopping minimum wage of 12 USD per hour. Economically, it has been growing year in year out. It boasts one of the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the US, which reflects in the high-quality of its residents’ lives. Different industries led by construction, trade, and information technology are constantly creating new job opportunities. Even when employed, you will enjoy an excellent work-life balance. Whether you are moving here to work, enjoy the sun, explore the beautiful scenery, or enjoy legal marijuana, a great active life is guaranteed.
The Average Salary in Colorado
Many factors determine how much money you take home after work. The obvious ones include the level of education, level of experience, gender, number of hours worked, tax rates, location, employer, and job title. Here’s an in-depth look at them to give you a clearer understanding of what your salary might be:
Your job title determines what roles you play in your workplace and therefore, how much you will get paid. Check out the annual average salaries for different job titles below:
- Accountant 68,000 USD
- Accounting Manager 150,000 USD
- Financial Manager 185,000 USD
- Internal Auditor 92,700 USD
- Office Manager 87,100 USD
- Secretary 44,500 USD
- Aerospace Engineer 127,000 USD
- Air Traffic Controller 106,000 USD
- Flight Attendant 64,200 USD
- Pilot 171,000 USD
- Architect 122,000 USD
- CAD Drafter 51,400 USD
- Translator 86,200 USD
- Civil Engineer 88,000 USD
- Construction Project Manager 155,000 USD
- Health and Safety Officer 45,400 USD
- Electrical Engineer 95,300 USD
- Mechanical Engineer 94,600 USD
- Chief Executive Officer 220,000 USD
- Chef 62,800 USD
- Hotel Manager 178,000 USD
- Elementary School Teacher 68,300 USD
- Secondary School Teacher 83,200 USD
The above salaries are approximations and should only guide you on how much you should expect. Remember your salary could be very different when multiple factors used to determine it are considered.
Since the above salaries are gross, your take-home pay will be lower after multiple deductions, starting with taxes. Colorado charges a flat-rate tax of 4.63% on personal income. Typically, this means that this is what is deducted from every employee’s salary regardless of how much they earn. If you own any real estate in the area, you will be charged a property tax of 0.57%. This is actually one of the best tax rates in the country.
Wage and hour laws
The number of hours worked and overtime accumulated also determines your take-home salary. Eligible employees in the state work for a maximum of 12 consecutive hours, after which they must be paid overtime. The same case applies to when the employees work for more than 40 hours a week, considering there are 5 workdays. The overtime rate is 1.5 times the normal hourly rate
Did you know that employees in the US get a regular salary raise? In Colorado, they receive an increment of 8% after 16 consecutive months. The world’s average salary increment is lower than that of the US at 3% every 16 months. Your contribution to the growth of your company and your performance determines how much and how frequent your increment is. The rates also increase with your level of experience. This is because employers try as much as possible to retain their most experienced employees.
The geographical location of your job matters when it comes to matters of salary. For instance, Denver the capital of Colorado has an average gross annual salary of $102,000. Employees here receive more salary compared to those in other geographical locations such as Springs, CO. In general, employees in Denver and Springs are paid higher than those in small cities such as Boulder, Fort Collins, Aspen, Pueblo, Aurora, and Grand Junction.
Cost Of Living in Colorado
The overall cost of living in Colorado is higher than the US average. One person needs a salary of about 13 USD per hour to sustain basic needs, which is above the state’s minimum hourly wage. A family of four will need around 24 USD per hour. This is exactly twice the minimum wage and the chances of earning that much in lower-end jobs are very few. In monthly rates, one person requires 969.95 USD while 4 people require 3,490.83 USD.
Housing is the greatest factor when it comes to calculating the cost of living. After some time in Colorado, you will definitely have to move out of your Airbnbs and find your own place to live in. Well, unfortunately, housing in Colorado is ridiculously expensive. Plots to build on are extremely expensive and the land fees imposed by the local government are burdening. The interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.47% and 2.77% for a 15-year mortgage. Considering you have to make a down payment of 15-20%, incur maintenance, insurance, and utility costs, it is more economical to rent, especially if you will be living here short-term. You will get a 1-bedroom apartment at about 1,684 USD per month.
When it comes to transport, you have to choose between driving at 0.70 USD per litre of gas and a $3 one-way ticket for local transport. If you have kids then you know it means more bills. Private kindergarten for one kid will cost you 1,115.40 USD per month while the international primary school will cost 13,961.29 per year. When it comes to utilities, the rates are low. Expect a bill of about 210 USD for the internet, electricity, water, garbage, and mobile phone for an 85m2-apartment.
Most Popular Jobs in Colorado
Jobs with the most number of vacancies tend to attract more employees and popularity. Using this logic, the most popular jobs in Colorado include managerial jobs, elementary and middle school teaching, and retail sales. About 79,702 employees are occupying different managerial positions, 76,882 elementary and middle school teachers, and 67,149 retail salespersons. Jobs at the airport as flight engineers, pilots, and copilots are also very popular. In 2017 and 2018, Denver International Airport was the largest employer in Colorado.
Colorado’s labour market offers widely diversified job opportunities for everyone, including expatriates. Even job titles such as translator, aesthetician, insulation installer, cement mason, minor, home health aide, information security analyst, and diagnostic medical sonographer are becoming very popular due to their increased demand. Whatever activity you are good at, you will make good money out of it working in Colorado.
As time goes by, the popularity of some jobs diminishes while that of others increases. The market is always evolving to the point of even introducing new job opportunities that never existed. For this reason, the job professions I have mentioned above might lose popularity and get replaced by others. The idea is to have a speciality in something, at least, since the jobs will always be available. This article is meant to help you understand Colorado’s labour market. To be on the safe side, get the job before moving into this state. A job might be very popular with so many opportunities but the influx of expats is also high. This translates to very stiff competition in the job market.
Highest Paid Salary in Colorado
If you are a gynaecologist or an obstetrician planning to work in Colorado, congratulations as you are going to the top earner in the entire state. They are about 650 employees in this profession. Being the highest-paid salary in Colorado, it is not surprising that it stands at an average of 274,680 USD per year. However, the amount usually swings in between US$247,296 and US$343,038 a year. Gynaecologists and obstetricians are physicians who offer medical care services in the line of pregnancy and diagnose, help prevent, and treat diseases of the reproductive system in women.
Most of the changes are a result of the difference in cities, level of experience, additional skills, and the difference in certifications. For instance, beginners in this medical profession make an entry-level average salary of 184,370 USD per year. This is about 94.45 USD per hour, which is still very high. Gynaecologists who have specialised in obstetrics (OB/GYN) as well are paid more compared to those who have specialised in one field. Every effort you put in increasing your educational qualifications will pay off well. You can take some additional courses at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG).
OB/GYNs earn 14% more than employees in similar careers such as colorectal surgeons, anaesthesiologists, orthopaedic surgeons, and cardiothoracic surgeons. With a large population booming with babies, the state of Colorado is always ready for one more OB/GYN. Some of these medical practitioners usually branch to other medical fields to access more patients. Most of them are usually promoted to chief OB/GYN physicians where they manage a team of physicians.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.