Event Tickets My Account Advertise About Us Contact Us Archive RSS Newsletters

2012 Salary Survey: Who Makes What

2012 Salary Survey: Who Makes What

Thinking about asking your boss for a raise? Here’s a little ammunition. For the past few months, we’ve indulged our inner auditors, sifting the numbers in financial documents and corporate reports with the intent of uncovering the earnings—sometimes annual, sometimes hourly—of Minnesota workers from all walks of life, from the CEO leading Target to the instructor leading your yoga class. On the following pages are the results of a sweeping salary survey—a project so complex that the magazine hasn’t undertaken it since 2008. The figures are presented in a simple format, but there are, of course, some surprises: the state’s most successful pro athlete last year, for example, made about as much as a high-school teacher. (Who is it? Hint: she plays for the Lynx.) Also, area locksmiths’ wages have risen 27 percent since the start of the recession. That’s right. Locksmiths.

Feeling undervalued yet? Wait till you get through the rest of the numbers.

So how did we get this information, anyway?

Sometimes we just asked. Seriously. Find a disgruntled barista, and she’ll happily gripe about how little she makes. E-mail a Twin Cities mayor, legally obligated as a public employee to disclose his salary, and he’ll hit you back with a frank response. (Thanks, R.T.!) But researching the big wigs gets trickier. The CEOs. The artistic directors. The nonprofit execs. For those, we used our journalistic smarts, pouring over public SEC filings, court records, and 990 tax forms. In a pinch, we turned to median wages furnished by Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development and by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In all cases, we went with the data most recently available, usually from 2010 or 2011. However, a few numbers do date back to 2009.


62 Number of senators and representatives  in the 201-member Minnesota Legislature who declined pay during the state government shutdown in July 2011
18 Number of legislators who opted to accept pay retroactively
$1,600 Wages lost by each


Even in Minnesota’s 10 largest cities, you don’t get rich running for mayor

1. Minneapolis

Population: 382,578
R.T. Rybak, $102,906

6. Plymouth

Population: 81,803
Kelli Slavik, $14,004

2. St. Paul

Population: 285,068
Chris Coleman, $111,146

7. Brooklyn Park

Population: 75,758
Jeffrey Lunde, $17,100

3. Rochester

Population: 106,769
Ardell Brede, $33,123

8. St. Cloud

Population: 65,842
Dave Kleis, $45,000

4. Duluth

Population: 86,265
Don Ness, $85,500

9. Eagan

Population: 64,206
Mike Maguire, $13,625

5. Bloomington

Population: 82,893
Gene Winstead, $26,400

10. Woodbury

Population: 61,961
Mary Stephens, $8,520




Twin Cities

New York

St. Louis


2-percent milk, 1 gallon $2.69 $3.69 $3.29 $2.69
Saturday night movie ticket $10 $13 $9 $11
Pack of Camel Lights $6.50 $14 $4.89 $9.48
Starbucks Vanilla Latte, 12 ounce $3.25 $3.97 $3.45 $3
Big Mac $3.29 $3.99 $3.39 $4.09
Unleaded gasoline, one gallon $3.50 $3.69 $3.29 $3.79
TOTAL $29.23 $42.34 $27.31 $34.05
Your Twin Cities Dollar is Worth $1 69¢ $1.07 86¢



Median Wage Twin Cities $26.25 23-percent increase since 2007


How many museum-goers does it take to pay a director’s salary?

< = 1,000 VISITORS

Science Museum of Minnesota

President: Eric Jolly
Salary: $559,830
Cost of admission: $13
Number of visitors in 2011: 796,051
Number of visitors to pay salary: 43,063

Minnesota Children’s Museum

President: Dianne Krizan
Salary: $150,000
Cost of admission: $8.95
Number of visitors in 2011: 429,834
Number of visitors to pay salary: 16,759

Walker Art Center

Director: Olga Viso
Salary: $413,179
Cost of admission: $10
Number of visitors in 2011: 144,635
Number of visitors to pay salary: 41,318

American Swedish Institute

President: Bruce Karstadt
Salary: $96,499
Cost of admission: $6
Number of visitors in 2011: 30,000
Number of visitors to pay salary: 16,083

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Director: Kaywin Feldman
Salary: $379,343
Cost of admission: $0
Number of visitors in 2011: 470,831
Number of visitors to pay salary: Infinite



It depends on where you work

$2.33 Minimum wage for tipped servers in Wisconsin
$7.25 Minimum wage for tipped servers in Minnesota, the only state in the Midwest—and one of only seven states nationwide—not to enforce a “tip penalty” on its servers


A random sample of Gophers football coach Jerry Kill’s performance-based incentives

National Championship: $50,000
Big Ten Championship: $150,000
Big Ten Divisional Championship: $100,000
Named National Coach of the Year: $100,000
Named Conference Coach of the Year: $25,000
Five Big Ten wins: $50,000
Each addition Big Ten win after the fifth: $25,000
Graduation success rate of players equal to or
greater than that of the overall student body:


How we spend it, and how it makes us feel

The Psychotherapist - 62, married, no children at home

Salary: $80,000 per year
Mortgage: $1,800 per month
Food budget: $200–$250 per month, Oxendale’s Market, Rainbow Foods
Credit-card bill: $1,800 per month, paid in full
Monthly savings: $1,400 in retirement, IRA, and investments
Most expensive meal you ate in a restaurant in the last month: True Thai, $20 per person
What, if anything, you’re currently saving for: Big spring trip, either to Mexico or Florida
An indulgence you do not feel guilty about: Season tickets to the Guthrie. Also, getting an excellent haircut.
Amount you spent on holiday gifts: I would say about $700. We like to give services, like a morning of yard work, or babysitting, or tickets to plays.
Baseline salary you would need to feel comfortable: I am not stressed about my income.

Princeton University recently conducted a study in which they pinpointed an annual income at which happiness peaks. What would you guess this salary to be? $200,000*

The Museum Professional - 28, single, no kids

Salary: $34,000 per year
Rent: $525 per month
Food budget: $150 per month, Rainbow, Cub, CSA
Credit-card consolidation loan: $108 per month
Monthly savings: “I rarely have enough money to put in
What, if anything, you’re currently saving for: Paying off my credit-card debt.
If you’ve cut back—due to the recession or otherwise—what specific sacrifices have you made?  I only buy off-brand packaged food. I’ve cut back on going out to eat or drink. I don’t buy new clothes, only thrift-store duds.
Biggest unplanned expense for 2011: $800 for car repairs
An indulgence you do not feel guilty about: Paying more rent for my own place with no roommates.
An indulgence you do feel guilty about: Owning a car
Baseline salary you would need to feel comfortable: $50,000/year

Princeton University recently conducted a study in which they pinpointed an annual income at which happiness peaks. What would you guess this salary to be? $100,000*

The Coffee-Shop Server - 34, single, no kids

Salary: $7.25 per hour plus tips (about $11–$12 per hour)
Rent: $670 per month
Food budget: $200–$300 per month, The Wedge, Seward Co-op
Student loan: $290 per month
Credit-card bill: “I don’t use a credit card.”
Monthly health insurance payment: I’m on Medical Assistance. It’s free. I only pay $1 for co-pays and prescriptions. I also do yoga about eight times a month at a nonprofit studio. Classes are sliding scale. I pay $10 per visit.
One thing you would never scrimp on: Body-care products. I will always choose an $8 bottle of paraben-free shampoo over a cheap bottle of Suave. Also, beer. I always buy good, hoppy beer.
Biggest planned expense for 2011: Rent. I just moved into a one-bedroom after sharing an apartment for five years.
Baseline salary you would need to feel comfortable: $45,000/year

Princeton University recently conducted a study in which they pinpointed an annual income at which happiness peaks. What would you guess this salary to be? $125,000*

The Registered Nurse - 34, married, two kids under 5

Salary: $140,000 per year $40,000 per year †
Household income: $140,000 per year
Mortgage + utilities: $3,000 per month
Food budget: $500 at Costco, Rainbow, Target
Student loan: $400 per month
Monthly savings: $200–$300 per month
Daycare: $1,700 per month (2 kids, 3 days per week)
Monthly  Credit-card bill: $4,000. All bills and expenses are put on a credit card and paid off monthly.
Most expensive meal you ate in a restaurant last month: Axel’s Bonfire Grill, $65
One thing you would never scrimp on: Remodeling projects. Do it nice the first time!
An indulgence you do not feel guilty about: Traveling.
An indulgence you do feel guilty about: Buying coffee from a coffee shop.
Amount you spent on holiday gifts:  $500
Baseline salary you would need to feel comfortable: $200,000/year

Princeton University recently conducted a complex study in which they pinpointed an annual income at which happiness peaks. What would you guess this salary to be? $100,000*

* The study found that happiness peaks at $75,000 per year.

Editor’s Note: In the initial article, the registered nurse’s annual salary was mistakenly reported as $140,000. Her actual annual salary is $40,000. Her household income is $140,000.


Public-school salaries throughout the state were hit with a 2-year wage freeze in January 2011


At the state’s top-ranked liberal-arts colleges, just a few tuition checks pay the president


1. Carleton College

President: Steven J. Poskanzer
Salary: $492,526 (projected)
Tuition: $42,690
Students: 12

2. Macalester College

President: Brian Rosenberg
Salary: $640,780
Tuition: $41,800
Students: 15

3. St. Olaf College 

President: David R. Anderson
Salary: $318,038
Tuition: $38,150
Students: 8


Vikings cheerleaders don’t get paid much. But here’s what they do get:

• Two season tickets
• Sponsorships for free hair cuts and coloring
• Free game parking
• Free make-up kits
• Travel opportunities
• Free gym memberships
• Free medical spa treatments
• Free tanning services
• Professional photo sessions
• Team clothing and apparel


-58% Job vacancies for registered nurses in Minnesota since 2005
+22% Newly certified registered nurses in Minnesota since 2005



Public Service

Mark Dayton


Steven Bosacker

City Coordinator

Lois Langer Thompson

Hennepin County Library

Michele Bachmann

U.S. House Representative

Steve Maki

MSFC Facilities
$50 per diem

Brian Lamb

General Manager
Metro Transit

Tim Dolan

Police Chief

Lisa Goodman

City Councilmember, Ward 7

Linda Berglin

State Senator
District 61

Andrew Smith

Police Lieutenant

Al Franken

U.S. Senator

John Erwin

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Janna M. Hottinger

Executive Assistant to Mayor R.T. Rybak

Mark Ritchie

Secretary of State

Seasonal Park Attendant

Lebanon Hills Visitor Center
$8 – $9.50 per hour

Dave Larson


Mike Opat

Hennepin County Commissioner, 1st District

Paul Aasen

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Business & Labor

James Cracchiola

Ameriprise Financial
$17.7 million

Charlie Weaver

Executive Director
Minnesota Business Partnership

First-year Bank Teller

Wells Fargo
$10.50 per hour

Ken Powell

General Mills
$12.3 million

Brian Dunn

Best Buy
$5 million

Eliot Seide

Executive Director

Jeffrey Ettinger

Hormel Foods
$10.5 million

First-year Home Loan Underwriter

U.S. Bancorp

Tax Preparer

$16.87 per hour

Arts & Culture

Joe Dowling

Artistic Director
Guthrie Theater

Carla McGrath

Executive Director
Highpoint Center for Printmaking

Ranee Ramaswamy

Artistic Director
Ragamala Dance

Steve Bader

Finance Director
Guthrie Theater

Peter Brosius

Artistic Director
Children’s Theatre Company

John Kelsch

Executive Director
Judy Garland Children’s Museum

Chorus Member

The Guthrie’s
a Christmas Carol
$100 for run of show

John Becker

Executive Director
Forecast Public Art

Jack Lavoy

Executive Director
Great Lakes Aquarium

Steven Kent Lockwood

Executive Director
Park Square Theatre

Steve Raymer

Managing Director
Pavek Museum of Broadcasting

Lee Ehmke

Minnesota Zoo

Jack Reuler

Artistic Director
Mixed Blood Theatre

Ben Haywood

Executive Director
Soap Factory

Steven Estebo

Avian Zoologist
Minnesota Zoo

Bain Boehlke

Artistic Director
Jungle Theater

Susana Di Palma

Artistic Director
Zorongo Flamenco Dance
Theater and School

Catherine Cramer

Director of Development
Minnesota Historical Society

Darsie Alexander

Senior Curator
Walker Art Center

Linda Andrews

Artistic Director
Zenon Dance Company

Historical Interpreter

Fort Snelling
$12.69 per hour

Sarah Stauder

Executive Director
Rochester Art Center

Matthew Janczewski

Artistic Director
ARENA Dances



Michael Henson

Minnesota Orchestra

Laura Littleford

Contract Grant Writer
MacPhail Center for Music

Andre Heywood

Artistic Director
St. John’s Boys Choir

Jeff Couture

Finance Director
Minnesota Opera

Rob Simonds

Executive Director
Cedar Cultural Center

Amir Kats

Artistic Director
Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony

Ronald Thomas

Principal Cellist
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

Guitar Instructor

Private lessons
$50 per hour

Kathleen Van Bergen

Executive Director
Schubert Club

John Nuechterlein

President and CEO
American Composers Forum

Cover Band Bassist

$100 per night

Stan Hill

Artistic Director
Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus

Sandy Nadeau

Executive Director
St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra

Mark S. Johnson

Artistic Director
Minnesota Boys Choir


Health and Medicine

Stephen Hemsley

UnitedHealth group
$10.8 million

Laura Littleford

Contract Grant Writer
MacPhail Center for Music

Yoga Instructor

$20 per class

Barbara Knoll, MD

Hennepin County Medical Center

Richard L. Ehman, MD

Mayo Clinic

Kathleen Van Bergen

Executive Director
Schubert Club

Art Gonzalez

Hennepin County Medical Center

John H. Noseworthy

Mayo Clinic

Drug-Study Volunteer

Prism Research,
12-week-long study


Gwedolyn Velez

Executive Director
African American AIDS task Force

Joseph Lee

Child Psychiatrist



Eric Kaler

University of Minnesota

Edward Kim

Head of School
Breck School

Teacher, 15 years of
experience plus master’s degree

St. Paul Public Schools

Adjunct Instructor

University of Minnesota,
Department of Theatre Arts and Dance
$1,200 per semester

John C. Gulla

Head of School
Blake School

Bus Driver, 2–4 years experience

Edina Public Schools
$14.60–$15.60 per hour

Adjunct Instructor

University of Minnesota, College of Design
$5,000 per semester

Lucretia Wells

Assistant Head of School
Blake School

Gene P. Boyle

Moorhead High School

James Barnes III

Bethel University

First-Year Teacher

Edina Public Schools

Speech Language Pathologist,
4 years of experience

Minneapolis Public Schools

Kevin Gilligan

Capella University
$3.8 million

First-Year Teacher

St. Paul Public Schools

GMAT Instructor

Manhattan GMAT
$100 per hour, plus
$3,000 training bonus

Jay Coogan

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Christina Selander Bouzouina

Executive Director
Alliance FranÇaise, Twin Cities

Chess Tutor

Youth Enrichment League
$20–$25 per hour

Randall Clegg

Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District

Teacher,15 years of
experience plus master’s degree

Edina Public Schools



Jerry Kill

Head Coach
Gophers Football
$1.2 million

Ricky Rubio

Rookie Forward
Minnesota Timberwolves
Signed for $3.5 million

Mohammed Trafeh

Medtronic Twin Cities 10-mile

Donovan McNabb

2011 Minnesota Vikings
$5 million

Jason Kubel

Minnesota Twins
$5.25 million

Head Coach

Eastview Juniors
Volleyball Club, Eagan
$450 – $500 per month

Brett Favre

2010 Minnesota Vikings
$20 million

Joe Mauer

Minnesota Twins
$23 million

High-School Hockey Referee

Varsity Level
$74 per game


Minnesota Vikings
$50 per game

John Aronson

Sales Director/Fundraiser
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon

College Hockey Referee

Division III
$155 per game


First-year Barista

$7.75 per hour

Gardening Crew Leader

$14.25 per hour, seasonal

Full-time Live-in Nanny
for Newborn Twins

$10 to $15 per hour

Sandwich Artist

Jimmy John’s
$7.25 per hour

Heidi Govednik

Hair Stylist
Salon work: $8 per hour plus tips
Wedding styling: $400-$600
per wedding


Senior Care Facility,
$9.50 per hour

Line Cook

McHugh’s Public House, Savage
$10 – $11 per hour

Beer Vendor

Target Field
$7.25 per hour,
18-percent commission

Pizza Deliverer

Angeno’s, Maple Grove
$7.25 per hour, $2 perdelivery
plus tips


John Andrews

Northern Star Council – Boy Scouts of America

Sarah A. Stoesz

Planned Parenthood: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

Daniel Wordsworth

Executive Director
American Refugee Committee

Mitchell B. Pearlstein

Executive Director
Center of the American Experiment

Janelle Dixon

Animal Humane Society

Jan Plimpton

Executive Director
Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota

Steve Cramer

Executive Director
Project for Pride in Living

George Klauser

Opportunity Partners

Douglas Johnson

Executive Director
Center for Victims of Torture

Carol Ball

Medical Director
Planned Parenthood: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

Julie Manworren

Executive Director
Simpson Housing Services

Nicole Matthews

Executive Director
Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition

Deborah Ferry

VP of Retail Operations
Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota

L. Kelley Lindquist

Artspace Projects

Timothy Benz

Vice President, Development and Communications
Catholic Charities


Lorie Gildae

Chief Justice
Minnesota Supreme Court

Nancy J. Logering

Judge, 10th Judicial District
Kanabec County

David Lund

Executive Director
Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota

Helen M. Meyer

Associate Justice
Minnesota Supreme Court

Judicial Law Clerk


Eric Janus

President and Dean
William Mitchell College of Law

Pat Kittridge

Chief Public Defender
Ramsey County

Court Reporter


Michael Paulsen

Law Professor
St. Thomas University

Roger M. Klapnake

Associate Judge
Minnesota Court of Appeals



Thomas Mengler

Dean, Law School
St. Thomas University

Timothy Bloomquist

Chief Judge, 10th Judicial District
Kanabec County

Barbara Deneen

Assistant Public Defender
Ramsey county



Senior Editor

Metro Magazine

Corey Anderson

Web Editor


Star Tribune
$85,000 – $110,000

Fiona McCrae

Director & Publisher
Graywolf Press

James Pagliarini

President and CEO
Twin Cities Public TV

Jeff Passolt

Fox 9

Daniel J. Slager

Publisher & CEO
Milkweed Editions

Janis Lane-Ewart

Executive Director
KFAI Fresh Air Radio

Mary Turck


Joel Cramer

Editor and CEO

Assignment Desk Editor


Jenny Masters-Wolfe

Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Twin Cities Public TV

Susan Albright

Managing Editor

First-Year Reporter

Star Tribune



Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Old to new | New to old
Dec 15, 2011 08:57 pm
 Posted by  sailj7

I don't get the magazine at my house, just browsed a copy @ B&N. I saw an appalling misrepresentation - where does a registered nurse who is 34 with 2 kids make $140,000? I would guarantee that is an unusual (if an actual??) case and does NOT represent the average of RN's in the Mpls/St Paul area. Any Registered nurse making near that much is specially trained, works full time and they must be including benefits as income... How is she able to work full time in a job that has a 100% rate of on the job injury? where does she work?? Are they hiring?? Check the facts!!

Dec 15, 2011 11:21 pm
 Posted by  LizBeth

$140,000 a year for a Registered Nurse ?!? Inflammatory and NOT true! A full time RN working 35 years of night shifts, weekends and holidays WITH a masters degree in nursing as a hospital floor nurse does NOT make an hourly rate that comes close to $140,000 a year. Where did you get that piece of innaccurate information? Bet you didn't check your "facts" with someone actually doing the job.

Dec 16, 2011 11:45 am
 Posted by  gscott

Dear nurses,

Thanks for the comments here. And to those who have written me personally (especially the nice ones), thanks to you as well. Your feedback has helped us sort through the confusion of the over-reported registered nurse’s salary. Turns out, you’re right. The figure is a mistake. We owe you a huge apology.

Here’s what happened:

The “Pathology of a Paycheck” section was based on a survey that we administered to a large number of folks, meaning all of the earnings figures were self-reported. The registered nurse listed hers as $140,000. Turns out, she misread the question. She accidentally wrote in her household income instead of her personal income. After seeing the print issue, she sent a note of apology just the other day.

Of course, the greater fault lies with me personally. I should have challenged her more on that figure. That’s my mistake. And I’ve been writing a lot of apologies to a lot of nurses as a result. We appreciate what nurses do. And we in no way want to suggest that nurses are overpaid.

For the record, the nurse who responded to our survey actually made $40,000 last year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for a registered nurse in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area, in 2010, was between $35 and $36 per hour. You’ll see that we did manage to list that accurately in our “Bumps and Slumps” graph.

Again, many apologies. We’ll be correcting the error on our website. We will also run a correction note in the February issue of the magazine.

Thanks for hearing us out.


Dec 16, 2011 07:03 pm
 Posted by  sailj7

Thank YOU for the clarification and following up on the information. I represent the percentage of nurses who were unable to find a job after graduation because of the decrease in nursing jobs in MN and the quantity of graduates in the market. Now that I am employed and have a years worth of experience, I've been trying to get a job in a hospital for the pay AND benefits. In order to get the position and training I want I'm looking at moving out of state.

People who are not in the field have many misconceptions and salary is one of them. Thanks again for correcting and reporting accurate info.

Add your comment:


Your Essential Guide to Dining, Shopping & Culture
  • Less than $1.67 an issue.
  • 66.7% off newsstand price.
  • The best Minnesota has to offer.
MNMO E-newsletters

Your guide to the good life, delivered to your in-box.

One click gets you the best local news, events, and info.

Once you submit your email, you will then select which e-newsletters you want.

We don’t like spam either, so we’ll keep your e-mail address to ourselves.