Comparing Average Salary to Highest Paid Salaries in Federal Jobs

By on September 9, 2014 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 121 Comments

What are the average salaries for several common federal sector jobs? How does the average salary compare to the highest ones? Some jobs sound similar but the category may pay more (or less) than similar sounding job categories.

We picked a few federal jobs at random that are used in different agencies in the federal government to make these comparisons. Some of the job categories are in most federal agencies, such as General Attorney, Human Resources Management or Equal Employment Opportunity. Others, such as Administrative Law Judge or Tax Law Specialist are less common. All data on federal employee salaries is from Fedsdatacenter with the underlying data provided by the Office of Personnel Management.

Some agencies are outside of the federal General Schedule pay system. Some agencies have unique implementing legislation to pay higher salaries, presumably in order to attract qualified people from higher paying sectors of the American economy such as finance or banking. The reality is that while the higher salaries may be necessary to obtain qualified employees in technical fields, the higher salaries are also often paid to jobs that are common elsewhere in government but pay less. (See, for example, this 2012 article Highly Paid Federal Administrative Positions: Where Are They and How Much Do They Make?)

Here are a few examples of average salaries for some of these jobs:

Occupation Average Salary
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE $157,259.80
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW $110,978.76
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY $94,725.44
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMPLIANCE $92,962.44
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY INVESTIGATION $85,998.84
GENERAL ATTORNEY $129,268.03
HUMAN RESOURCES ASSISTANCE $44,769.78
HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT $88,411.71
HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT STUDENT TRAIN $37,537.58
PATENT ATTORNEY $151,517.21
TAX LAW SPECIALIST $96,774.24

With the general schedule pay system breaking down more with the passage of time, the highest salaries may vary considerably from the average. From the FedsDataCenter.com database, here are the highest salaries listed in the database for these same jobs.

Administrative Law Judge:

DICKENS,DONNA D 03 AL $173,575.00 $0.00 OFC SEC HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES MIAMI ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE 2013
KRANE,DAVID J 03 AL $173,575.00 $0.00 OFC SEC HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES MIAMI ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE 2013
BULLARD,JANICE K 03 AL $165,300.00 $0.00 DEPARTMENTAL ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE 2013

Employee Benefits Law:

LEBOWITZ,ALAN D 00 ES $179,655.00 $0.00 EMPLOYEE BENEFITS SECURITY ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW 2013
MAGUIRE,DANIEL J 00 ES $179,213.00 $0.00 EMPLOYEE BENEFITS SECURITY ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW 2013
HALL,LYSSA EILEEN 00 ES $171,050.00 $0.00 EMPLOYEE BENEFITS SECURITY ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON EMPLOYEE BENEFITS LAW 2013

Equal Employment Opportunity:

MORAN,MICHAEL P 01 CM $203,781.00 $933.00 FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION WASHINGTON EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY 2013
BERMAN,SUSAN L 01 CM $198,401.00 $1,200.00 FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION WASHINGTON EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY 2013
TUDISCO,REBECCA VALAS 06 NB $182,428.00 $140.00 OFC OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY WASHINGTON EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY 2013

Equal Opportunity Compliance:

JONES,MARY N 00 ES $169,900.00 $0.00 OFC OF SEC OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMPLIANCE 2013
NAME WITHHELD BY AGENCY 00 ES $167,066.00 $0.00 OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMPLIANCE 2013
MARSHALL,ERA L 00 SL $165,300.00 $0.00 SMITHSONIAN INST (EXC SEP BRDS OF TRUST) WASHINGTON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMPLIANCE 2013

Equal Opportunity Investigation:

VIRAMONTES,ROSA M 15 GS $155,500.00 $0.00 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION LOS ANGELES EQUAL OPPORTUNITY INVESTIGATION 2013
CONNOLLY,MICHAEL P 15 GS $155,500.00 $0.00 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION SAN FRANCISCO EQUAL OPPORTUNITY INVESTIGATION 2013
BOWMAN,JULIANNE 15 GS $155,500.00 $0.00 EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION CHICAGO EQUAL OPPORTUNITY INVESTIGATION 2013

General Attorney:

FRIEND,AMY S 09 NB $259,500.00 $0.00 OFC OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY WASHINGTON GENERAL ATTORNEY 2013
POLLARD,ALFRED M 01 LL $255,000.00 $0.00 FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY WASHINGTON GENERAL ATTORNEY 2013
RAWLS,CHARLES R 44 VH $252,296.00 $0.00 FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION MCLEAN GENERAL ATTORNEY 2013

Human Resources Assistance:

COX,LEMUEL 13 GS $111,148.00 $0.00 SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION COVINGTON HUMAN RESOURCES ASSISTANCE 2013
SEGEARS,THEREST I 04 NB $101,034.00 $839.00 OFC OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY WASHINGTON HUMAN RESOURCES ASSISTANCE 2013
ROBINSON,VITA H 04 NB $96,954.00 $534.00 OFC OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY CHICAGO HUMAN RESOURCES ASSISTANCE 2013

Human Resources Management:

CLARK,DAVID SHAWN 07 NB $243,000.00 $0.00 OFC OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY WASHINGTON HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT 2013
KATCOFF,BENJAMIN H 07 NB $234,938.00 $0.00 OFC OF COMPTROLLER OF CURRENCY WASHINGTON HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT 2013
RISINGER,JEFFREY A 01 LL $234,000.00 $17,500.00 FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY WASHINGTON HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT 2013

Human Resources Management Student Train:

CACERES-RODRIGUEZ,RICK 12 GS $74,872.00 $0.00 NATIONAL PARK SERVICE WASHINGTON HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT STUDENT TRAIN 2013
MCLEISH-BOLEY,AMANDA A 12 GS $68,809.00 $0.00 BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT PARKERSBURG HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT STUDENT TRAIN 2013
RODRIGUEZ,JENNIFER M 11 GS $64,724.00 $0.00 LYNDON B. JOHNSON SPACE CENTER HOUSTON HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT STUDENT TRAIN 2013

Patent Attorney:

SMITH,JAMES D 00 ES $179,700.00 $0.00 PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE ALEXANDRIA PATENT ATTORNEY 2013
ELLIOTT,GEORGE C 00 ES $173,952.00 $0.00 PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE ALEXANDRIA PATENT ATTORNEY 2013
NAME WITHHELD BY AGENCY 00 ES $172,957.00 $0.00 OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH PATENT ATTORNEY 2013

Tax Law Specialist:

NAME WITHHELD BY OPM SM IR $155,500.00 $0.00 INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE NEW YORK – KINGS TAX LAW SPECIALIST 2013
NAME WITHHELD BY OPM FM IR $155,500.00 $0.00 INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE SAN FRANCISCO TAX LAW SPECIALIST 2013
NAME WITHHELD BY OPM FM IR $155,500.00 $0.00 INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE BOSTON TAX LAW SPECIALIST 2013

© 2016 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources.

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