Best Paying Federal Jobs

Updated on February 16, 2024

The federal government offers a variety of high-paying jobs across different sectors. This blog highlights the top ten federal jobs, their descriptions, average salaries, and required education, providing a comprehensive overview for those considering a career in the federal government.

Medical Officer

Medical Officers serve in leadership roles within healthcare organizations or government agencies, focusing on public health initiatives, disease prevention, and health promotion. They contribute to policy development, epidemiological research, and healthcare planning.

  • Average Salary: $170,795
  • Responsibilities: Overseeing public health programs, developing healthcare policies, and conducting epidemiological research.
  • Required Education: Medical degree (MD or DO) and relevant licenses.

Technical Systems Program Manager

Technical Systems Program Managers oversee complex technical programs, integrating various components to achieve organizational objectives. They manage software applications, hardware infrastructure, networks, and databases.

  • Average Salary: $150,325
  • Responsibilities: Coordinating technical components, strategic planning, and program execution.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or a related field; often a Master’s degree is preferred.


Physicians in the federal government treat patients, maintain their well-being, and may perform minor surgeries, depending on their specialty.

  • Average Salary: $180,117
  • Responsibilities: Diagnosing and treating illnesses, maintaining patient well-being, and performing surgeries.
  • Required Education: Medical degree (MD or DO) and completed residency in a specialty.

Astronomy and Space Scientist

Astronomy and Space Scientists study celestial objects and phenomena using observational and theoretical methods. They contribute to astrophysics, cosmology, and planetary science.

  • Average Salary: $156,096
  • Responsibilities: Conducting research, developing theories, and proving them through observations and experiments.
  • Required Education: PhD in Astronomy, Astrophysics, or a related field.

Patent Attorney

Patent Attorneys specialize in intellectual property law, helping inventors secure patents for their innovations. They combine legal expertise with technical knowledge.

  • Average Salary: $277,327
  • Responsibilities: Securing patents, providing legal advice on intellectual property.
  • Required Education: Law degree (JD) and admission to a state bar; technical background often required.


Physicists engage in research to explore the fundamental laws of the universe. They work in subfields like quantum mechanics, relativity, and particle physics.

  • Average Salary: $178,510
  • Responsibilities: Designing experiments, developing models, and analyzing data.
  • Required Education: PhD in Physics or a closely related field.

General Attorney

General Attorneys provide legal advice and representation to government agencies across various legal issues.

  • Average Salary: $115,585
  • Responsibilities: Advising on legal matters, representing the government in legal cases.
  • Required Education: Law degree (JD) and admission to a state bar.

Program Manager

Program Managers oversee multiple projects within an organization, ensuring they align with the organization’s goals.

  • Average Salary: $148,515
  • Responsibilities: Strategic planning, resource coordination, and progress monitoring.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Management, or a related field; often a Master’s degree is preferred.

Finance Manager

Finance Managers prepare financial statements, analyze data, and provide insights for decision-making.

  • Average Salary: $107,357
  • Responsibilities: Financial reporting, data analysis, and strategic financial planning.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting, or a related field; CPA or CFA certification can be beneficial.


Economists analyze and gather data related to the cost of goods and services and the global economy.

  • Average Salary: $113,426
  • Responsibilities: Data analysis, conducting surveys, and creating forecast-spending plans.
  • Required Education: Master’s degree in Economics; a PhD is often preferred for senior roles.

Final Thoughts

Pursuing a career in the federal government can be both rewarding and lucrative, offering a range of opportunities across various fields. Each of these top-paying jobs requires specific educational backgrounds and skill sets, and they play crucial roles in the functioning and advancement of governmental operations and public services.

Other Jobs in Public Sector and Defense


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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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