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50 highest-paying jobs in the federal government

  • 50 highest-paying jobs in the federal government

    There are some major pros to snagging a job with the U.S. government. Federal jobs exist all across the country, the benefits tend to be competitive, and the types of jobs cover interests across the spectrum. Sure, the job comes with plenty of bureaucracy. And, yes, during government shutdowns, employees may have to take forced, unpaid leave. However, most of the time, the job is steady and may even come with a large paycheck. But which federal jobs are the best compensated?

    Stacker took a look at FederalPay, a public resource website for U.S. employees that is not run by the government. Using information from 2017, FederalPay ranked each job by annual average salaries. Here, Stacker also notes the pay for the highest-paid individual in each particular job.

    To find out who’s making the most paper while still making a difference for the country, read on. Plus, find out more about what each job entails and what it takes to get the gig.

    RELATED: 100 biggest U.S. government contractors and what they do

  • #50. Fire protection engineering

    Average annual salary (2017): $120,676
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $172,100

    Fire protection engineers investigate the root causes of fires, examining the way architecture and design could prevent or suppress blazes. Day to day, they also may inspect buildings or fire equipment. Most fire protection engineers start by getting a degree in engineering before getting on-the-job experience with a firefighting agency.

  • #49. International cooperation

    Average annual salary (2017): $120,921
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $161,900

    All 37 international cooperation personnel working for the federal government are employed by the Agency for International Development. This job requires planning, developing, and implementing foreign economic assistance programs. In addition to knowing about foreign policy and finances, these workers must understand the country that the United States is working with on any particular program.


     

  • #48. Metallurgy

    Average annual salary (2017): $121,071
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $187,000

    The job title says a lot about what it entails—metal. Metallurgists are materials scientists specializing in iron, copper, and other metals, often focusing on extraction and processing. Most metallurgists get degrees in engineering or materials science. Government gigs are known for being the best paying in this field.

  • #47. Credit union examiner

    Average annual salary (2017): $121,197
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $279,000

    Credit union examiners travel around the state, or even around the country, examining federally chartered credit unions. They typically work out of the credit unions they’re inspecting, or may even work from home. Qualifications for the job require a yearlong program of classes, on-the-job training, and progressive work assignments.

  • #46. General physical science

    Average annual salary (2017): $121,243
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $245,670

    This wide-ranging job category includes physicists, chemists, astronomists, and geologists. Many of these employees work for the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Energy. Expect most of them to have master’s degrees or higher in their fields.

  • #45. Operations research

    Average annual salary (2017): $121,371
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $192,522

    If you’re a problem-solver by nature, this may be the job for you. Operations research analysts use data mining, mathematical modeling, and statistics to help organizations operate efficiently and cost-effectively. Math, business, or industrial engineering degrees are helpful to enter this field.

  • #44. Economist

    Average annual salary (2017): $121,424
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $268,000

    Economists research and predict trends, analyze data, and examine financial resources. Most of these jobs, which are with departments like the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Internal Revenue Service, require a master’s degree in economics.

  • #43. Employee benefits law

    Average annual salary (2017): $121,515
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $187,000

    Employee benefits lawyers are experts on everything from health care and 401(k) to paid-time off and welfare benefits. Naturally, a legal degree is essential for this job. The federal government hires these legal minds for the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

  • #42. Plant physiology

    Average annual salary (2017): $121,662
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $207,800

    Whether studying entire plants or just their genes, plant physiologists are experts about the physical, biological, and chemical functions of flora. Most plant physiologists have a background in botany, chemistry, math, and biology, and most have experience working in labs. The Agricultural Research Service employs the majority of these federal workers.

  • #41. Transportation industry analysis

    Average annual salary (2017): $122,121
    Salary for highest-paid individual: $161,900

    These analysts have a mind for everything having to do with transportation, including air, trucking, freight, and more. They’re smart about regulatory controls, customs, and carrier operations, and may work for the Maritime Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, or Federal Railroad Administration, among other departments.

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