An estimated 2.1 million people work for the U.S. federal government. About a third of them are involved in the daily administrative grind of running the world’s largest economy in the third-most populous country. Other federal job categories include clerical, technical, professional, and blue-collar work.
Pay varies within these categories. To be among the highest paid federal employees requires advanced technical specialties in fields such as computer engineering, health care, pharmacology, financial analysis, and space science. And some of these jobs are rare. For example, only 360 employees at the Fish and Wildlife Service are among the federal government’s highest paid employees, with an average annual salary of $144,620.
To determine the highest paid jobs in the federal government 24/7 Wall St. reviewed salary data from FederalPay.org. Data on the number of employees and the department that employs the most of each position also came from FederalPay. (And these are the best paying jobs in America.)
The largest group of highest-paid federal employees are lawyers who work in the U.S. Justice Department. Nearly 38,000 of them earn an average annual salary of $146,902. Medical officers working at the Veterans Health Administration make up the second-largest group, at nearly 34,000, with an average annual salary of $251,055
These plum jobs are found in the federal administrations in charge of aviation safety, food and drug safety, and social security. Computer and electronics engineers at the departments of Energy and State are among the highest paid federal workers under the White House Cabinet. The Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Houston’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center also offer good salaries for qualified experts.
Though these salaries might not always compare favorably to similar positions in the private sector, federal employees enjoy some of the most generous workplace benefits, including 13 to 26 days of paid vacation annually, 13 days of paid sick leave that cover personal or family medical needs, 11 paid federal holidays per year, and publicly subsidized health insurance, according to the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. (These are the highest paid doctors in America.)
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