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8 federal government jobs that can pay over $200K

$100 bill with American flag underneath
Some federal medical positions offer an annual salary of $400,000. Douglas Sacha/Getty
  • 64 federal job categories pay upwards of $200,000, with some reaching $400,000.

  • Federal employers increased job postings by 22% over the past year, according to a Handshake report.

  • Higher-paying roles often reflect seniority but many government jobs offer linear paths to move up.

Many people enter federal roles for job security, not for the money. But some federal jobs can offer both.

Data from the US Office of Personnel Management indicates 64 federal job categories have positions that pay over $200,000 — and some pay as much as much as $400,000.

As opportunities in the public sector expand, interest in government jobs continues to grow with layoffs plaguing certain industries, like tech.

Federal employers increased their job postings by 22% on Handshake over the past year, according to a report published in January by the hiring platform. Additionally, federal employers have seen a 55% increase in applications during the same span of time.

While you may not be making more than you would in the same role at a private company, government jobs offer additional benefits that you probably won't get at a corporate job, like pensions and flexible scheduling.

While most of the higher-paying roles reflect seniority level, many government careers offer linear paths for promotions because of the General Schedule pay scale, which is a hierarchical system used by many government agencies.

We've highlighted some of the highest-paying job categories and included some recent listings so you can check out the most up-to-date salary for open positions.

You can use the code in parentheses to find government jobs in the categories listed.

Medical roles (0602, 0610, 0680, 0660, 0668)

Positions under the category of medical officer can earn $300,000 or more. According to OPM data, close to 12,400 people earn $300,000 or more as a medical officer (0602). Other high-paying positions in the medical field include specialized physicians, dentists, pharmacists, and nurses.

An oncologist physician is currently listed on usajobs.gov for $400,000 annually, which is equivalent to what the President earns.

Attorney (0905)

OPM data indicates that 3,156 attorneys for the federal government make between $200,000 and $299,999. Currently, usajobs.gov has 245 open listings under the general attorney category code. The highest paying open listing for an attorney in that category offers a starting salary of $193,819, but a circuit executive position is open for a $243,300 salary.

Financial institution examining (0570)

Positions in this category range from titles like national bank examiner to anti-money laundering examiner. These roles also usually involve work with institutions like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Department of the Treasury. According to OPM data, people in this position can make just below $300,000.

There are currently 55 open positions in this category, with the highest role listed with a starting salary of $180,564.

IT Management (2210)

This category includes IT specialists at the leadership level. These positions range from all different kinds of departments and according to OPM data, 941 people in these roles make over $200,000, with about 7% of that number making between $260,000 to $279,999.

The highest-paying open role under this category is for a director of workforce collaboration at NASA and it's listed at a starting salary of $205,236.

General natural resources management and biological sciences (0401)

This category includes a wide range of roles related to the sciences. Some open listings include biologist for the FDA, fire management specialist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, or social scientist for the Forest Service. According to OPM, there are currently 319 federal employees in this job category who make over $200,000.

The highest open role is for a deputy chief position at the Natural Resources Conservation Service and offers a salary range that maxes out at $210,220.

General Engineering (0801)

OPM data indicates that the highest-paid employees in this category make between $200,000 to $219,999. Some of these positions include research roles or general engineer roles, while higher-paying positions are more senior roles in this field.

The highest-paid open role is listed as deputy director of the Marshall Space Flight Center and has a starting salary of $211,584.

HR Management (0201)

HR management is the umbrella term for all HR specialist positions. The highest paying bracket in this category is between $260,000 to $279,999.

The highest-paid listing on usajobs.com is currently for a chief advisor HR specialist for the National Science Foundation and it has a starting salary of $163,964.

Air traffic control (2152)

Air traffic control workers have the highest number of workers making between $200,000 and $219,999 per year, although other fields may offer higher salary ranges. According to OPM employment data, 2,079 air traffic workers make salaries in that bracket.

Usajobs.gov shows three listings with starting salaries over $200,000. An open role for a supervisory air traffic control specialist may be the highest listing yet for $205,317 to $221,900 per year.

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