Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Let them be chemical engineers and operations managers and such. Especially if they live in Southwest Louisiana.

Here are the Top 10 Best Paying Jobs in the Lake Charles Area:

Chemical Engineers
Local Mean Salary: $107,740
Total Employees: 430

General and Operations Managers
Local Mean Salary: $103,250
Total Employees: 1260

Civil Engineers
Local Mean Salary: $101,500
Total Employees: 280

Management Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $92,910
Total Employees: 3590

Architecture and Engineering Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $87,460
Total Employees: 2150

First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
Local Mean Salary: $73,290
Total Employees: 800

Engineers, All Other
Local Mean Salary: $72,530
Total Employees: 310

Chemical Plant and System Operators
Local Mean Salary: $71,630
Total Employees: 1040

Business Operations Specialists, All Other
Local Mean Salary: $67,820
Total Employees: 370

Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
Local Mean Salary: $66,540
Total Employees: 480

As you can see, the best paying jobs aren't necessarily the most abundant. When you stop to consider that there are over 200,000 people living in the Lake Charles Metro Area and only 430 jobs for Chemical Engineers, for example, competition is pretty fierce.

These top 10 jobs represent only 10,710 positions in the area, which is roughly 6% of the total population. You better study hard and work hard if you want to land one them!

In contrast, here are the Top 10 Worst Paying Jobs in the Lake Charles Area:

Gaming Dealers
Local Mean Salary: $17,070
Total Employees: 910

Food Servers, Nonrestaurant
Local Mean Salary: $17,340
Total Employees: 490

Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers
Local Mean Salary: $17,800
Total Employees: 540

Waiters and Waitresses
Local Mean Salary: $17,930
Total Employees: 2030

Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food
Local Mean Salary: $18,160
Total Employees: 1330

Bus Drivers, School or Special Client
Local Mean Salary: $18,160
Total Employees: 410

Food Preparation Workers
Local Mean Salary: $18,310
Total Employees: 1900

Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge, and Coffee Shop
Local Mean Salary: $18,400
Total Employees: 290

Bartenders
Local Mean Salary: $18,430
Total Employees: 500

Personal Care Aides
Local Mean Salary: $18,550
Total Employees: 1660

What's weird is that even the lowest paying jobs aren't all that abundant. Surprisingly, Gaming Dealers make the least amount of money, and there are only 910 of them in the area. Scarcity isn't always an indication of wage value.

Even more surprising is that the bottom 10 jobs account for even fewer positions than the top 10, making up only 10,060 employees, or approximately 5% of the total population.

Speaking of job availability, here are the Top 10 Most Abundant Jobs in the Lake Charles Area:

Office and Administrative Support Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $30,600
Total Employees: 12900

Construction and Extraction Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $45,900
Total Employees: 10560

Sales and Related Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $27,690
Total Employees: 10400

Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $19,430
Total Employees: 10250

Production Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $51,200
Total Employees: 8260

Transportation and Material Moving Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $33,600
Total Employees: 7330

Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $45,300
Total Employees: 6560

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $53,540
Total Employees: 6190

Education, Training, and Library Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $42,900
Total Employees: 5260

Personal Care and Service Occupations
Local Mean Salary: $21,070
Total Employees: 4180

The most abundant jobs make up 81,890 total employees, or about 41% of the total population. The best paying positions among these jobs are Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations, with the lowest paying being Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations.

As of April 2018, average monthly rent in Lake Charles was $1,148/month, which makes up just 13% of the annual salary of the area's highest paying job (Chemical Engineer), a much larger 45% of the most abundant job in the area (Office and Administrative Support Occupations), and a whopping 81% of the lowest paying job (Gaming Dealer).

Conventional financial wisdom says that your rent or mortgage payment should make up no more than 30% of your total income, which means you'll need a job pulling down more than $46,000 annually to make the math work in Lake Charles, which eliminates all of the lowest paying jobs in the area, and all but two of the 10 most abundant positions.

Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be...well, a whole lot of things, apparently.