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Ames Employment

Employment and Industries in the Ames, Iowa Area

Federal and state institutions are Ames' primary employers. Iowa State University is the largest employer. Numerous jobs are provided by the technology companies affiliated with the university's research park. The major job providing sectors in Ames include education, government, professional, scientific and technical services; accommodation and food services; and healthcare.

Jobs are also located in manufacturing industries such as containers, business forms, abrasives and metal products. Ames also has numerous computer specialists, post secondary teachers and life and physical scientists. Approximately 45% of the workforce is employed in management, professional and related occupations.

Ames is also home to the Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, the prominent materials research and development center. Notable companies located in Ames include 3M, Sauer-Danfoss, Ball, Becker Underwood, Syngenta, Boehringer Ingleheim and Hach.

The top companies in Ames based on the number of employees are:

  • Iowa State University
  • Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Mary Greeley Medical Center
  • McFarland Clinic PC
  • Sauer-Danfoss
  • City of Ames
  • Ames Community School
  • Ames Laboratories
  • Hach Companies
  • 3M
  • Hy-Vee Food Stores
  • Sigler Companies
  • Ames Tribune
  • Barilla American Inc
  • Ball Corporation
  • First National Bank
  • Kmart
  • JC Penney
  • Kreg Tool
  • MH EBY, Inc
  • Nikkel & Associates
  • Sam's Club
  • UGS
  • Story Construction
  • Walmart

Noteworthy information about Ames Iowa: Placed in the "Top 20 best places to live and work" list by Employment Review magazine and BestJobsUSA.com. Named a "Five-Star quality of life metro" by Expansion Management Magazine. The cost of living index in 2008 was 87.1. The country's average is 100. About 59% of the adult population has earned a bachelor's degree or higher. In 2009 the average salary in Ames was $33,000.

Local businesses are provided help by organizations such as:

Ames newspaper the Ames Tribune is a good resource for local business and industry news.

Most Popular Jobs in Ames, Iowa Metro Area (2008 data)

Where the Majority of Workers Have College Degrees

Rank Title Local Jobs Local Mean Salary Typical Local Salary National Growth % 2006-2016 National % With College Degree
1 Registered nurses 710 $56,210 $39,730 - 67,130 24% 56%
2 Teachers and instructors, all other 380 $47,050 $27,870 - 69,410 9% 54%
3 Biological technicians 350 $36,910 $17,920 - 56,700 16% 60%
4 Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products 290 $48,350 $19,630 - 75,930 8% 51%
5 Civil engineers 260 $76,210 $49,820 - 101,010 18% 87%
6 Accountants and auditors 260 $53,400 $36,930 - 74,820 18% 79%
7 Computer systems analysts 250 $63,200 $47,340 - 83,470 29% 68%
8 Elementary school teachers, except special education 210 $40,230 $26,660 - 55,800 14% 95%
9 Computer specialists, all other 190 $52,530 $36,420 - 72,950 15% 68%
10 Medical and health services managers 170 $76,940 $33,870 - 124,590 16% 57%
11 Network and computer systems administrators 140 $58,560 $39,320 - 79,090 27% 50%
12 Training and development specialists 140 $48,030 $30,380 - 62,330 18% 56%
13 Public relations specialists 140 $47,790 $34,810 - 65,510 18% 81%
14 Managers, all other 130 $68,940 $40,680 - 113,140 7% 55%
15 Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products 130 $63,300 $27,030 - 109,530 12% 51%
16 Computer programmers 120 $53,270 $28,860 - 85,600 -4% 73%
17 Financial managers 110 $98,670 $59,230 - 137,050 13% 60%
18 Management analysts 110 $57,940 $39,860 - 78,830 22% 78%
19 Social and human service assistants 110 $23,690 $17,050 - 31,840 34% 58%
20 Soil and plant scientists 100 $57,730 $39,220 - 82,650 8% 82%
21 Educational, vocational, and school counselors 90 $42,620 $35,450 - 54,490 13% 73%
22 Pharmacists 80 $87,020 $67,670 - 121,370 22% 97%
23 Chief executives 70 $150,570 $76,710 - 2% 65%
24 Graphic designers 70 $40,830 $24,290 - 58,830 10% 55%
25 Medical and clinical laboratory technicians 70 $38,530 $30,190 - 50,210 15% 51%
26 Lawyers 60 $82,750 $58,140 - 128,230 11% 99%
27 Veterinarians 60 $77,130 $48,000 - 105,860 35% 100%
28 Industrial engineers 60 $68,900 $46,650 - 104,710 20% 74%
29 Architects, except landscape and naval 60 $58,930 $35,020 - 88,780 18% 88%
30 Medical and clinical laboratory technologists 60 $47,340 $30,470 - 65,780 12% 51%
31 Community and social service specialists, all other 60 $33,220 $19,800 - 49,070 25% 58%
32 Engineering managers 50 $95,190 $65,900 - 126,770 7% 84%
33 Computer and information systems managers 50 $88,450 $57,420 - 111,290 16% 73%
34 Education administrators, elementary and secondary school 50 $79,000 $55,290 - 96,450 8% 78%
35 Mechanical engineers 50 $78,250 $44,770 - 4% 78%
36 Special education teachers, middle school 50 $46,860 $33,940 - 61,390 16% 87%
37 Editors 50 $36,600 $19,320 - 55,490 2% 81%
38 Reporters and correspondents 50 $20,220 $17,410 - 24,430 1% 85%
39 Network systems and data communications analysts 50 $0 $ - 53% 57%
40 Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents 40 $63,810 $29,180 - 96,430 25% 67%
41 Engineers, all other 40 $63,730 $37,210 - 102,110 6% 82%
42 Compliance officers, except agriculture, construction, health and safety, and transportation 40 $59,400 $43,140 - 84,110 5% 58%
43 Social and community service managers 40 $47,570 $22,650 - 83,450 25% 72%
44 Librarians 40 $39,410 $20,670 - 65,880 4% 85%
45 Food scientists and technologists 30 $58,740 $31,160 - 96,170 10% 82%
46 Market research analysts 30 $54,400 $32,240 - 109,280 20% 82%
47 Employment, recruitment, and placement specialists 30 $37,010 $25,590 - 58,560 18% 56%
48 Legislators 30 $30,130 $15,370 - 58,160 1% 65%
49 Advertising sales agents 30 $27,190 $20,000 - 42,880 20% 56%

Where the Majority of Workers Do Not Have College Degrees

Rank Title Local Jobs Local Mean Salary Typical Local Salary National Growth % 2006-2016 National % With College Degree
1 Retail salespersons 1,410 $23,660 $15,340 - 35,770 12% 25%
2 Cashiers 1,140 $19,900 $15,480 - 24,950 -3% 10%
3 Office clerks, general 1,130 $30,300 $17,220 - 47,010 13% 19%
4 Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 1,060 $16,460 $15,190 - 19,020 18% 5%
5 Waiters and waitresses 930 $20,040 $15,230 - 30,140 11% 14%
6 Secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive 830 $35,340 $21,890 - 47,740 1% 18%
7 Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners 790 $24,980 $17,390 - 33,500 15% 4%
8 Business operations specialists, all other 700 $51,590 $35,270 - 70,230 21% 49%
9 Stock clerks and order fillers 610 $27,210 $16,020 - 41,530 -8% 8%
10 Maintenance and repair workers, general 570 $35,890 $21,360 - 51,800 10% 6%
11 Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 560 $31,460 $21,120 - 42,440 13% 16%
12 Landscaping and groundskeeping workers 530 $24,590 $15,720 - 39,350 18% 6%
13 Food preparation workers 530 $17,750 $15,320 - 21,920 15% 7%
14 First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers 400 $36,680 $21,490 - 50,610 4% 25%
15 Receptionists and information clerks 400 $23,310 $15,870 - 31,460 17% 13%
16 Executive secretaries and administrative assistants 390 $39,760 $26,490 - 52,910 15% 18%
17 Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants 380 $25,510 $20,690 - 31,770 18% 7%
18 Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 360 $25,360 $17,200 - 42,830 2% 5%
19 Cooks, restaurant 300 $19,430 $16,140 - 25,640 12% 5%
20 General and operations managers 290 $92,020 $36,140 - 2% 48%
21 Teacher assistants 290 $21,310 $15,420 - 28,150 10% 18%
22 Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer 280 $32,050 $17,480 - 46,240 10% 4%
23 Cooks, institution and cafeteria 280 $26,530 $18,570 - 33,690 11% 5%
24 First-line supervisors/managers of food preparation and serving workers 260 $27,230 $17,070 - 40,770 11% 14%
25 First-line supervisors/managers of production and operating workers 250 $53,530 $32,190 - 81,210 -5% 15%
26 Cooks, fast food 250 $16,350 $15,200 - 18,720 8% 5%
27 Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop 230 $17,570 $15,350 - 20,570 10% 8%
28 Printing machine operators 220 $35,490 $23,930 - 43,430 -6% 6%
29 Maids and housekeeping cleaners 220 $21,330 $16,090 - 30,540 13% 5%
30 Personal and home care aides 220 $21,030 $16,670 - 26,120 51% 10%
31 Child care workers 220 $16,760 $15,190 - 19,670 18% 15%
32 Automotive service technicians and mechanics 210 $41,560 $22,150 - 64,750 14% 4%
33 Carpenters 210 $32,950 $22,180 - 43,500 10% 6%
34 Construction laborers 200 $32,410 $27,580 - 39,490 11% 5%
35 Customer service representatives 200 $28,320 $17,860 - 42,500 25% 22%
36 Electricians 190 $40,650 $28,160 - 54,510 7% 7%
37 Tellers 190 $23,190 $16,830 - 30,780 14% 16%
38 Bartenders 190 $17,190 $15,250 - 21,170 11% 17%
39 Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 180 $32,890 $22,490 - 47,370 9% 3%
40 Sales representatives, services, all other 170 $40,590 $26,150 - 63,490 28% 48%
41 Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks 160 $29,860 $20,580 - 38,520 4% 6%
42 Industrial truck and tractor operators 150 $29,620 $21,480 - 40,360 -2% 2%
43 Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders 150 $25,780 $17,110 - 39,200 -5% 5%
44 Packers and packagers, hand 150 $20,270 $15,570 - 26,320 -12% 3%
45 Counter and rental clerks 150 $19,110 $15,310 - 24,900 23% 16%
46 Helpers--production workers 140 $23,540 $18,350 - 30,870 -1% 4%
47 Preschool teachers, except special education 140 $19,290 $15,700 - 24,060 26% 43%
48 Dishwashers 140 $16,280 $15,170 - 18,990 10% 3%
49 Loan officers 130 $63,860 $41,350 - 94,610 12% 49%
50 First-line supervisors/managers of office and administrative support workers 130 $45,930 $27,470 - 63,820 6% 29%
51 Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 130 $35,190 $27,960 - 42,210 14% 7%
52 Machinists 130 $34,800 $23,600 - 50,140 -3% 3%
53 Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists 130 $26,090 $15,480 - 48,250 12% 6%
54 Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop 130 $18,970 $15,380 - 29,350 10% 17%
55 First-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers 120 $61,960 $45,210 - 79,570 9% 10%
56 Library assistants, clerical 120 $37,040 $16,750 - 52,430 8% 37%
57 Medical records and health information technicians 120 $23,590 $17,000 - 33,250 18% 12%
58 Truck drivers, light or delivery services 120 $20,500 $15,760 - 26,690 8% 4%
59 Construction managers 110 $73,370 $19,790 - 115,700 16% 29%
60 First-line supervisors/managers of mechanics, installers, and repairers 110 $57,430 $36,380 - 79,940 7% 13%
61 Police and sheriff's patrol officers 110 $47,400 $30,350 - 63,860 11% 33%
62 Prepress technicians and workers 110 $35,670 $23,750 - 48,870 -21% 16%
63 Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers 110 $30,800 $22,580 - 38,950 5% 2%
64 Nonfarm animal caretakers 110 $26,250 $15,500 - 38,740 18% 16%
65 Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products 100 $49,180 $30,770 - 67,830 0% 42%
66 Computer support specialists 100 $42,600 $23,790 - 62,480 13% 43%
67 Food service managers 100 $41,530 $20,610 - 67,020 5% 24%
68 Billing and posting clerks and machine operators 100 $28,280 $20,760 - 38,210 4% 15%
69 Cost estimators 90 $50,770 $34,840 - 65,610 19% 32%
70 Civil engineering technicians 90 $46,420 $31,090 - 64,280 10% 18%
71 Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers 90 $40,140 $22,810 - 59,240 -7% 14%
72 Industrial machinery mechanics 90 $38,460 $20,920 - 58,720 9% 5%
73 Medical assistants 90 $29,580 $22,360 - 37,730 35% 10%
74 Bus drivers, school 90 $29,560 $15,920 - 38,950 9% 4%
75 Food cooking machine operators and tenders 90 $21,770 $16,520 - 32,770 -5% 0%
76 Postal service mail carriers 90 $0 $ - 1% 11%
77 Administrative services managers 80 $81,630 $53,820 - 118,120 12% 40%
78 Real estate sales agents 80 $53,850 $33,570 - 74,010 11% 45%
79 Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators 80 $42,480 $28,180 - 62,950 9% 47%
80 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 80 $38,410 $26,000 - 60,640 12% 3%
81 Cement masons and concrete finishers 80 $34,400 $26,800 - 46,130 11% 2%
82 Word processors and typists 80 $32,620 $22,530 - 41,400 -12% 19%
83 Hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks 80 $20,730 $15,890 - 29,530 17% 14%
84 Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line installers 70 $54,260 $44,520 - 63,760 3% 13%
85 Radiologic technologists and technicians 70 $43,790 $33,620 - 60,390 15% 25%
86 Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators 70 $38,050 $25,990 - 49,330 8% 4%
87 Veterinary technologists and technicians 70 $33,170 $20,980 - 48,940 41% 16%
88 Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors 70 $28,060 $15,310 - 41,260 27% 47%
89 Medical secretaries 70 $26,860 $15,380 - 44,480 17% 18%
90 Opticians, dispensing 70 $26,290 $18,170 - 34,630 9% 15%
91 Pharmacy technicians 70 $25,640 $19,610 - 32,220 32% 16%
92 Security guards 70 $22,450 $17,260 - 30,250 17% 13%
93 Medical transcriptionists 70 $0 $ - 14% 10%
94 Postsecondary teachers, all other 60 $73,140 $15,470 - 141,590 0% 0%
95 Dental hygienists 60 $65,590 $55,450 - 80,840 30% 33%
96 Power plant operators 60 $48,840 $35,610 - 61,860 3% 20%
97 Automotive body and related repairers 60 $35,000 $22,440 - 53,640 12% 3%
98 Bindery workers 60 $26,030 $17,250 - 37,060 -22% 7%
99 Home health aides 60 $24,280 $17,430 - 31,930 49% 7%
100 Residential advisors 60 $23,240 $15,280 - 33,540 19% 28%
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Ames Colleges
Ames colleges and trade schools.
Ames Graduate Schools
Ames Graduate and Business Schools

Jobs More Common Near Ames Than Most Other Cities

* Average job popularity for metro areas = 1.0

Title Mean Local Salary Local Jobs Pop. vs. Avg.*
Soil and plant scientists 57,730 100 111.1
Biological technicians 36,910 350 25.9
Prepress technicians and workers 35,670 110 7.9
Printing machine operators 35,490 220 4.8
Library assistants, clerical 37,040 120 4.7
Computer specialists, all other 52,530 190 3.9
Civil engineers 76,210 260 3.9
Cooks, institution and cafeteria 26,530 280 3.6
Nonfarm animal caretakers 26,250 110 3.5
Teachers and instructors, all other 47,050 380 3.2
Medical records and health information technicians 23,590 120 3
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers 32,890 180 2.8
Training and development specialists 48,030 140 2.7
Medical and health services managers 76,940 170 2.7
Business operations specialists, all other 51,590 700 2.7
Food preparation workers 17,750 530 2.5
Landscaping and groundskeeping workers 24,590 530 2.4
Public relations specialists 47,790 140 2.2
Food service managers 41,530 100 2.1
Personal and home care aides 21,030 220 2
Cooks, fast food 16,350 250 2
Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders 25,780 150 1.9
Construction managers 73,370 110 1.9
Computer systems analysts 63,200 250 1.9
Maintenance and repair workers, general 35,890 570 1.9
Secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive 35,340 830 1.8
Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop 17,570 230 1.8
First-line supervisors/managers of production and operating workers 53,530 250 1.7
Loan officers 63,860 130 1.6
Network and computer systems administrators 58,560 140 1.6
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 16,460 1,060 1.6
Office clerks, general 30,300 1,130 1.6
Waiters and waitresses 20,040 930 1.6
Bartenders 17,190 190 1.6
Child care workers 16,760 220 1.6
Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners 24,980 790 1.5
Social and human service assistants 23,690 110 1.5
Preschool teachers, except special education 19,290 140 1.5
Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop 18,970 130 1.5
Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists 26,090 130 1.5
Receptionists and information clerks 23,310 400 1.5
Managers, all other 68,940 130 1.4
First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers 36,680 400 1.4
Machinists 34,800 130 1.4
Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products 49,180 100 1.4
Tellers 23,190 190 1.4
Cooks, restaurant 19,430 300 1.4
Counter and rental clerks 19,110 150 1.4
Cashiers 19,900 1,140 1.4
Automotive service technicians and mechanics 41,560 210 1.3

Work Paying Relatively Well in the Ames, Iowa Metro Area (2008 data)

* Average Salary Index for metro areas = 1.0

Title Mean Local Salary Salary Index * Local Jobs
Library assistants, clerical 37,040 1.55 120
Nonfarm animal caretakers 26,250 1.27 110
Teachers and instructors, all other 47,050 1.24 380
Secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive 35,340 1.21 830
Stock clerks and order fillers 27,210 1.19 610
Office clerks, general 30,300 1.19 1,130
Automotive service technicians and mechanics 41,560 1.15 210
Cooks, institution and cafeteria 26,530 1.12 280
Maids and housekeeping cleaners 21,330 1.11 220
Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners 24,980 1.09 790
Printing machine operators 35,490 1.08 220
Loan officers 63,860 1.08 130
Cashiers 19,900 1.07 1,140
Waiters and waitresses 20,040 1.07 930
Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop 18,970 1.07 130
First-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers 61,960 1.07 120
Financial managers 98,670 1.06 110
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants 25,510 1.06 380
Personal and home care aides 21,030 1.05 220
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 25,360 1.05 360
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks 29,860 1.05 160
Maintenance and repair workers, general 35,890 1.04 570
Construction laborers 32,410 1.04 200
Civil engineers 76,210 1.04 260
Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists 26,090 1.04 130
Executive secretaries and administrative assistants 39,760 1.03 390
First-line supervisors/managers of office and administrative support workers 45,930 1.02 130
Landscaping and groundskeeping workers 24,590 1.01 530
Prepress technicians and workers 35,670 1.01 110
First-line supervisors/managers of production and operating workers 53,530 1.01 250
First-line supervisors/managers of mechanics, installers, and repairers 57,430 1.01 110
Helpers--production workers 23,540 1 140
Packers and packagers, hand 20,270 0.99 150
Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders 25,780 0.99 150
Industrial truck and tractor operators 29,620 0.99 150
Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop 17,570 0.98 230
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 31,460 0.98 560
Tellers 23,190 0.98 190
Police and sheriff's patrol officers 47,400 0.98 110
Receptionists and information clerks 23,310 0.97 400
Retail salespersons 23,660 0.97 1,410
Biological technicians 36,910 0.96 350
Teacher assistants 21,310 0.96 290
Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food 16,460 0.96 1,060
General and operations managers 92,020 0.95 290
Customer service representatives 28,320 0.95 200
Network and computer systems administrators 58,560 0.95 140
Training and development specialists 48,030 0.95 140
First-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers 36,680 0.95 400
Public relations specialists 47,790 0.95 140

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