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Which local industry pays $75,000 on average a year?

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The life sciences job sector pays $75,000 on average per year.  Courtesy of Apollo Endosurgery/Facebook

Coveting a high-paying job in the Austin area? Check out the life sciences industry.

A study released May 1 by the Austin Technology Council says the average annual pay in the region’s life sciences sector is $75,209, compared with $49,557 for the average worker in the Austin area’s overall economy. The local life sciences industry includes biotech companies, surgical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies.

All told, the area’s life sciences sector employs about 6,000 Central Texans and pumps an estimated $1 billion a year into the regional economy, according to the first-of-its-kind study. About half of the life sciences jobs in the Austin metro area are in research and development, the study shows.

Don’t have a college degree? You still can find work in the life sciences sector, according to the study.

Although about half of the local jobs in the industry require some sort of college degree, the study identified several life sciences occupations that pay $13 to $20 an hour and require only on-the-job training. One job category in the sector pays more than $24 an hour and requires a two-year associate’s degree.

The study points out that “the life sciences sector is a promising target for economic and workforce development efforts aimed at creating well-paying jobs across the spectrum of low-skill, middle-skill and high-skill segments of the market.”

Jobs in the industry include software developer, chemist, hardware engineer, equipment operator and chemical technician.

Gary Sabins, chairman of the Austin Technology Council and president and CEO of Austin life sciences company Renascent Medical Inc., said: “Austin has high hopes for its life sciences industry, as it should — there is immense economic and community impact at stake.”

Patrick Balthrop, president and CEO of Austin-based life sciences company Luminex Corp., pointed out that the University of Texas’ new medical school will boost the local life sciences sector. It’s predicted that the school could create more than 15,000 jobs in Austin.

Patrick Balthrop, president and CEO of Austin-based life sciences company Luminex Corp., pointed out that the University of Texas’ new medical school will boost the local life sciences sector. It’s predicted that the school could create more than 15,000 jobs in Austin.

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