If you are a medical doctor working in Kansas, you are in the highest paid occupation in the state.
If you work as a counter attendant or in a cafeteria or coffee shop, you have one of the lowest paying jobs in the state.
The 2008 Kansas Wage Survey released Wednesday by the Kansas Department of Labor is based on information from the second quarter of 2007.
The 10 highest paying occupations are all in health care-related fields. At the top of the list are oral and maxillofacial surgeons with an hourly wage of $98.66.
The survey results didn't surprise Bruce Liese, a professor in family medicine at the Kansas University School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan. Liese isn't a medical doctor, but he has a doctorate in psychology, and he has a part-time practice in addition to being an instructor.
"I love to teach, but the competition for pulling us away to private practice is incredible," said Liese, who lives in Lecompton. "There are so many complexities and so many demands placed on us as faculty that if the pay didn't compete, I don't know that we'd have any good faculty."
Kansas' average hourly wage was estimated at $17.45 in May 2007. That was $2.11 less than the national mean average.
Other details in the wage report showed that people in management occupations in Lawrence earn an average of $37.11 per hour. That's higher than lawyers in Lawrence, who average $34.40.
There are a lot of issues besides pay that people consider in choosing an occupation, said Liese, who also owns Kansas City Sailing, 725 N. Second St. He said it is important for him to have a diversified career.
"I see many, many physicians go into sports medicine because they love sports; they want to work for the Kansas City Chiefs," Liese said. "I see people go into psychiatry because they are interested in the mind and human behavior and other aspects of medicine."
Coffee shop workers earn an average of $7.08 per hour, among the lowest paying jobs in the state. That doesn't bother Sarah Zimmerman and Sarina Geist, managers at The Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. They say they make $8 plus tips, boosting them to about $11 an hour. And there are other benefits, they said.
"We don't have a dress code or wear a uniform," Geist said. "We work downtown."
"And we get free drinks and food," Zimmerman said.