25 Highest Paying Government Careers

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Government jobs are usually associated with things like working reasonable hours, stability, and a wide variety of benefits, including a decent retirement package. However, government jobs are usually not one of the first categories of jobs that people associate with jobs that pay a lot of money. Many are surprised when they see a list of the highest paying government jobs.

Working for the government does not necessarily mean that a person will receive an average income. They can receive the above mentioned benefits, plus earn a salary that is on par with industries that are known for making high wages.

For individuals who have the right skill set and education, government jobs can be quite lucrative. Depending on the vocation, some government jobs allow individuals to enjoy a six figure salary. The following is a list of the 25 highest paying government salaries.  Some of these careers have a comparable salary across all levels of government (city, municipal, county, state, and federal).  You may be quite surprised by what you see on the list.  The list starts with the least (out of the list) and then increases.

25. Customs Inspector

Customs inspectors are needed by the Department of Homeland Security. Individuals who work in this position can expect an average yearly salary of over $59,000. More than 1,000 employees are needed in this field, with a projected growth rate of 7 percent. Individuals who work as customs inspectors who have military police experience will have a better chance of being hired. An internship program is offered through the US Customs Service for individuals interested in working in this field.

24. Medical Technician

This field pays employees a salary of over $59,000 a year. This field is experiencing a 12 percent growth rate. The government agencies that are most likely to hire medical technicians include the Department of the Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of the Air Force. It is projected that 33,000 employees are needed. Individuals who work as medical technicians will need an associate degree or certificate that relates to the particular field they will be working in. A medical internship program is offered through the Central Intelligence Agency.

23. Border Patrol Agent

Most border patrol agents receive a salary of $63,500 each year. In order to qualify for a position as a border patrol agent, some agencies may help individuals by paying for part of their tuition to receive a degree in criminal justice, administration of justice, police science, or other fields. The most likely agency to hire border patrol agents is the Department of Homeland Security. The projected rate of growth in this field is 9 percent, with more than 8,000 employees being needed.

22. Technical Engineer

Technical engineers receive a salary that averages about $63,900. The projected growth rate of this field is at 7 percent. About 34,000 employees are needed to fill positions with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Transportation. Some individuals may be able to land a position as a technical engineer without formal training, but most agencies will require a person to have an associate degree in engineering technology. Some individuals may qualify for an internship through local state or

21. Nurse

Nurses working in government positions can expect a salary of $65,300 a year. This field needs over 580,000 employees, experiencing a growth rate of 23 percent. Government agencies that are likely to hire nurses include the Department of the Army, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Education requirements will vary depending on each nurse’s career path, but they will include an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or certification from an approved nursing program.

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20. Correctional Officer

Correctional officers earn $67,000 a year. More than 82,000 employees are needed in the field, with a growth rate of 16 percent. The Department of Justice and state/county correctional facilities is most likely to hire correctional officers. The qualifications that are set out for correctional officers will vary by agency. However, most correctional officers require at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

19. Budget Analyst


A budget analyst are likely to receive a salary that sits at about $71,000 a year. This field is experiencing a growth rate at 7 percent. Government agencies that are most likely to hire budget analysts include the Department of State, the Department of the Air Force, and the Department of the Army. It is projected that 4,400 employees will be needed. Internship opportunities are available through the Congressional Budget Office. Budget analysts are required to have at least a bachelors degree.

18. Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers working for government agencies earn about $72,000 a year. This field is experiencing growth, with a projected rate of about 10 percent. More than 2,600 employees will be needed. Agencies that are likely to hire air traffic controllers include the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Justice. In order for a person to qualify for a position with one of these government agencies, they will need to complete an FAA approved education program and other qualifications that have been set out by the federal government.

17. Health and Safety Specialist

Health and safety specialists average about $73,000 in yearly salary. This field is looking at a projected growth rate of 8 percent, with about 3,700 employees needed in government positions. Agencies that are likely to hire health and safety specialists include the Department of Transportation, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Some jobs offered by government agencies may require the specialist to have a bachelors degree in safety, occupational health, or a similar field.

16. Human Resources Manager

Human resource managers working in government agencies receive a salary of over $76,500. This is a field that is constantly growing, with a projected growth rate of 17%. Agencies that are looking for human resource managers include the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is estimated that around 147,000 individuals will be needed to fill government positions as HR resource managers.

15. Ecologist

The average salary that ecologists working in government’s position earn is about $76,500. The Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of the Army are agencies that are most likely to look for ecologists. The projected growth rate of this field is at 25 percent. It has been estimated that more than 23,000 employees will need to fill ecologist positions. Most government agencies will require an ecologist to have a Masters degree.

14. Chaplain

Chaplains who work with the government can expect to receive a salary that exceed $76,000 a year. This field is continuing to grow. Departments that are most likely to hire chaplains include the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

13. Accountant

The average salary that accountants in government positions earn sits at about $78,000. This field is going to experience a lot of growth. It is estimated that more than 264,000 employees will be needed, with the projected growth rate at 12 percent. Accountants are always needed in almost every city/county/state division.

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Federal departments that are most likely to hire new accountants include the Department of Defense, the Department of the Air Force, and the Department of Justice. Depending on the position and agency a person works for, they may be required to have a bachelors degree. Some internship opportunities may be available through the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

12. Librarian

Government agencies that require librarians are expected to pay out around $78,000 a year to their employees. Counties and cities are always in need of librarians. This field is expected to grow about 4 percent.

Federal Agencies that are most likely to hire librarians are the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, and the Library of Congress. It is expected that more than 5,800 employees will be needed. Individuals who will qualify as a librarian with government agencies need a Masters degree in library science and may need to meet state licensing requirements.

11. Statistician

Statisticians working in government agencies can expect to receive a salary of over $81,000 a year. The projected growth of this field is at 9 percent, with more than 1,900 employees expected to be needed. Government agencies that are likely to experience a high demand of statisticians to include the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of Commerce. This position requires a Masters degree in statistics, and there are some internships that are available through the Department of Commerce.

10. Architect

Architects are likely to receive a salary that exceeds $85,000 a year. They are in high demand in a variety of government agencies, including the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of Health and Human Services. This field is going to continue to grow at a rate of at least 18 percent. It is estimated that more than 23,000 architects will be needed. In order to qualify for government jobs as an architect, most individuals will need a degree in architecture and practical work training.

9. Microbiologist

Microbiologists can expect to enjoy a salary of about $87,000 a year. This field is going to experience an increase, right at about 9 percent. It is estimated that around 8,000 employees will be needed. The government agencies that are most likely to hire microbiologists include the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Health and Human Services. For individuals who are interested in this career, an internship program that lasts six months is available through the US National Arboretum. Microbiologists are most likely to specialize in agriculture, food, industrial microbiology, and immunology.

8. Criminal Investigator

Government agencies are demanding more and more criminal investigators. Individuals who work in this field can expect to receive a salary that exceeds $88,000 a year. The projected growth rate of this career is at 18 percent and more than 9,000 employees are needed. Government agencies that are most likely to hire criminal investigators include the Department of the Navy, the Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Some internship opportunities are available in certain states that allow students to get on the path to becoming a criminal investigator.

7. Chemist

Chemists receive a salary that exceeds $89,000 a year. The field is going to continue to grow, with a projected growth rate of at least 8 percent. It is expected that more than 8,000 employees will be needed. Government agencies that will most likely hire chemists include the Department of the Navy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security. Individuals who have a PhD and Masters degree are most likely to enjoy more opportunities in biotechnological firms and pharmaceutical firms.

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6. Computer Scientist

Computer scientists in government positions will most likely work as inventors, theorists, and researchers. Their average yearly salary exceeds $90,000. This field is expected to grow at least 37 percent. More than 200,000 employees will be needed. Individuals who get jobs as a computer scientist in government agencies need at least an associate’s degree. The agencies that experience the highest demand of computer scientists include the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Interior.

5. Economist

Economists who work in government positions enjoy a salary that exceeds $94,000. It is expected that the field will continue to grow at a rate of at least 7 percent. It is estimated that about 1,100 employees will be needed. Government agencies that are most likely to hire economists include the Army, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Homeland Security. Individuals with a PhD or masters degree in economics are most likely to qualify for the job. The primary responsibility of a government economist includes analyzing the connection between government in the economy and budget deficits, tax cuts, and a variety of policies.

4. General Engineer

General engineers who work in government positions can expect to earn a salary that exceeds $100,000 yearly. This industry is expected to experience a projected growth rate of at least 11 percent. More than 160,000 employees will be needed in this field. The agencies that are experiencing the highest demand for general engineers in government positions include the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy. In order to qualify for entry level jobs in engineering, a bachelor’s degree is required.

3. Financial Manager

The average salary of a financial manager working for the government exceeds $100,000. This industry is expected to grow by at least 13 percent and will need at least 64,000 employees. The agencies that are most likely to hire financial managers include the Army, the Department of Treasury, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. A college level education is required. Each level of government has one or more financial managers working with them.

2. Attorney

Attorneys who work for the government can expect to earn a yearly salary of between $75,000 to $114,000. The salary continues to grow as a person moves from state government to local government to federal government. This industry is expected to grow by at least 11 percent and will need more than 80,000 employees. The agencies that have the highest demand of attorneys include the Department of Interior, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Treasury. When working at the federal level, part of an attorney’s job is to investigate cases for a variety of agencies including the US Department of Justice.

1.Astronomer

Astronomers can average an income that exceeds $116,000 a year. This field is expected to experience an increase of between 9 and 17 percent. More than 25,000 employees are currently needed. The occupations that are currently most demanded include NASA astronauts, aeronautical analysts, aerospace engineers, airline pilots, flight engineers, and aeronautical imagery and feature analysts. The agencies that are most likely to hire astronomers include the Army, the Air Force, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


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