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These 12 jobs pay more in SLO County than anywhere else on the Central Coast

These are the fastest-growing jobs in SLO County

These 10 jobs are the fastest-growing professions in San Luis Obispo County, according to data from the California Employment Development Department.
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These 10 jobs are the fastest-growing professions in San Luis Obispo County, according to data from the California Employment Development Department.

Historically, San Luis Obispo County wages have lagged slightly behind those of other Central Coast counties, but there are some bright spots, according to data released by the California Employment Development Department this year.

In general, the county outpaced its neighbors in wages in two sectors: protective services and production occupations.

The data comes from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey — a semi-annual mail survey that measures occupational employment and wage rates by industry.

For the first quarter of 2018, protective service jobs such as police officers and firefighters on average took home annual salaries of about $68,928, or $33.14 per hour. Comparatively, the same industry averaged between $63,928 annually in Ventura County and $66,778 in Santa Cruz County — or $30.74 per hour to $32.10 per hour, respectively.

In production jobs — which includes most manufacturing positions but also food production jobs such as bakers and butchers — San Luis Obispo County workers averaged annual salaries of $45,026, compared with $38,618 in Monterey County and $40,696 in Santa Cruz County.

San Luis Obispo County Workforce Development Board director Dawn Boulanger said it’s not surprising that San Luis Obispo County protective service wages are higher: She attributed that to higher wages for security workers at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant employees have eight years to decide whether they want to stay in SLO County or move to another plant after it was announced that Diablo Canyon would close in 2025.

Boulanger said it was more unusual for the wages in production jobs to be higher.

After an analysis of the OES data, she said her best guess was that wage data from some small businesses that isn’t explicitly reported in the OES survey because of confidentiality was driving up average wages.

Other counties could also have a higher number of people in lower paying jobs in that sector, which could drive those counties’ averages down, she said.

Though those two sectors in general pay more, specific jobs from other industries also paid higher in the first quarter of 2018.

Here’s a look at the 12 jobs whose San Luis Obispo County workers net significantly more on average than their counterparts in neighboring counties, spanning from the medical field to construction:

Training and development specialists: $102,490 annually/$49.28 per hour

Sector: Management occupations

What it is: Plan, direct or coordinate the training and development activities and staff of an organization. Employers are usually looking for candidates with work experience, plus a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Santa Cruz County - $77,566 annual/$37.29 per hour
  • Ventura County - $73,668 annual/$35.42 per hour
  • Monterey County - $70,147 annual/$33.72 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $64,401 annual/$30.97 per hour

Financial analysts: $114,227 annually/ $54.92 per hour

Sector: Business and financial operations occupations

What it is: Analyze financial information that impacts investment programs of public or private institutions. Employers are usually looking for candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Santa Cruz County - $94,549 annual/$45.46 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $91,467 annual/$43.98 per hour
  • Monterey County - $85,343 annual/$41.03 per hour
  • Ventura County - $82,404 annual/$39.62 per hour

Environmental engineers: $105,863 annually/ $50.90 per hour

Sector: Architecture and engineering occupations

What it is: Design, plan or perform engineering duties to prevent, control or remediate environmental health hazards. Can include waste treatment, site remediation or pollution control technology. Employers are usually looking for candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Santa Barbara County - $98,500 annual/$47.36 per hour
  • Monterey County - $89,331 annual/$42.94 per hour
  • Ventura County - $93,555 annual/$44.98 per hour
  • Santa Cruz County - $90,783 annual/$43.64 per hour

Biological scientists: $135,870 annually/ $65.33 per hour

Sector: Life, physical and social science occupations

What it is: Typically employed by management and technical consulting businesses, architectural and engineering services and scientific research and development services. Employers are usually looking for candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Monterey County - $90,234 annual/$43.38 per hour
  • Santa Cruz County - $89,138 annual/$42.85 per hour
  • Ventura County - $82,750 annual/$39.79 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $75,795 annual/$36.43 per hour

Family and general practitioners: $262,630 annually/ $126.26 per hour

Sector: Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations

What it is: Diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population. Employers are usually looking for candidates with a professional degree.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Monterey County - $244,250 annual/$117.43 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $187,608 annual/$90.19 per hour
  • Santa Cruz County - $121,206 annual/$58.27 per hour
  • Ventura County - $98,896 annual/$47.54 per hour

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians: $75,256 annually/ $36.18 per hour

Sector: Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations

What it is: Collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue and other substances. Employers are usually looking for candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or post-secondary certification.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Ventura County - $67,630 annual/$32.52 per hour
  • Monterey County - $62,573 annual/$30.09 per hour

  • Santa Barbara County - $59,049 annual/$28.39 per hour

First-line supervisors of protective service workers: $102,234 annually/ $49.15 per hour

Sector: Protective service occupations

What its is: Supervisors of protective service workers not including police, detectives or firefighting and prevention workers. Usually employed by investigation and security services, schools and hotels. Employers are usually looking for candidates with work experience in a related occupation.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Santa Cruz County - $70,018 annual/$33.66 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $64,093 annual/$30.82 per hour
  • Monterey County - $55,802 annual/$26.83 per hour
  • Ventura County - $49,199 annual/$23.66 per hour

Security guards: $56,070 annually/ $26.11 per hour

Sector: Protective service occupations

What it is: Guard, patrol or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence or infractions of rules. Can operate x-ray and metal detector equipment. Employers usually expect an employee in this occupation to be able to do the job after short-term on-the-job training.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Monterey County - $33,337 annual/$16.03 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $31,630 annual/$15.20 per hour
  • Santa Cruz County - $30,982 annual/$14.89 per hour
  • Ventura County - $30,190 annual/$14.51 per hour

Protective service workers: $56,070 annually/ $26.96 per hour

Sector: Protective service occupations

What it is: Protective service workers not including police, detectives or firefighting and prevention workers, namely those employed by entities such as schools and universities, investigation services, amusement parks, recreation businesses and hotels. Employers usually expect an employee in this occupation to be able to do the job after short-term on-the-job training.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Monterey County - $39,869 annual/$19.17 per hour
  • Santa Cruz County - $39,303 annual/$18.90 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $39,149 annual/$18.82 per hour
  • Ventura County - $37,791 annual/$18.18 per hour

Tour and travel guides: $39,571 annually/ $19.03 per hour

Sector: Personal care and service occupations

What it is: Plan, organize and conduct long-distance or sightseeing tours, travel or expeditions or can escort individuals or groups through places of interest like industrial businesses, public buildings and art galleries.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Monterey County - $32,309 annual/$15.53 per hour
  • Santa Cruz County - $30,982 annual/$14.89 per hour
  • Ventura County - $29,172 annual/$14.03 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $27,721 annual/$13.33 per hour

Drywall and ceiling tile installers: $68,512 annually/ $32.94 per hour

Sector: Construction and extraction occupations

What it is: Applies plasterboard, wallboard, tiles, shock-absorbing materials or wooden, metal or rockboard lath to ceilings or interior walls of buildings. Employers usually expect an employee to be able to do the job after a year of on-the-job training.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Ventura County - $55,687 annual/$26.77 per hour
  • Santa Cruz County - $52,715 annual/$25.34 per hour
  • Monterey County - $51,504 annual/$24.76 per hour

  • Santa Barbara County - $51,219 annual/$24.62 per hour

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers: $67,634 annually/ $32.52 per hour

Sector: Installation, maintenance and repair occupations

What it is: Set-up, rearrange or remove switching and dialing equipment used in central offices. Service or repair telephones and other communication equipment on customers’ property. Employers usually expect an employee to be able to do the job after more than a year of on-the-job training.

Other counties’ wages:

  • Monterey County - $61,825 annual/$29.72 per hour
  • Ventura County - $61,145 annual/$29.72 per hour
  • Santa Cruz County - $49,852 annual/$23.97 per hour
  • Santa Barbara County - $49,659 annual/$23.88 per hour

More than 350 California workers die from work-related injuries during a typical year. Here are the five jobs that had the highest annual fatality rates from workplace injuries from 2012 to 2016.

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Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie
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