Top 10 Agencies With Highest Federal Employee Salaries and Individual Awards

Which agencies are in the top 10 of highest average salaries? Which are in the bottom 10? What about bonuses? It will surprise some that there are federal employees who received a bonus of more than $100,000 last year.

The most recent data indicate that federal employees in some states receive higher average salaries than in other states (Washington, DC comes out on top), that some racial groups make a higher average salary than others, and that men, on average, make more than women in the federal workforce.

Which agencies have the highest average salaries? Are there significant differences?

The data are based on information provided by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) detailing individual employee salaries for fiscal year (fy) 2015. The data do not include all federal employees as some are excluded from the list for various reasons.

Here are the top 10 agencies with the highest average salaries:

Agency Average Salary
Securities and Exchange Commission $173,587
Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation $166,720
Federal Housing Finance Agency $161,102
Commodity Futures Trading Commission $152,622
Arctic Research Commission $149,073
National Center for Vet Analysis and Statistics $147,317
National Council on Disability $141,218
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission $140,995
Immediate Office of the Administrator $137,043
Ames Research Center $135,420

For comparison purposes, here are the 10 agencies with the lowest average salaries using the same database. Some of these are small organizations with which many readers are not familiar. Others, such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Forest Service, may be a surprise to some.

Agency Average Salary
National Institute for Literacy $26,088
Advisory Councils and Committees $29,817
Goldwater School and Excellence in Education $31,118
Valles Caldera Trust $50,348
Bureau of the Census $50,849
Transportation Security Administration $52,269
Commission on International Religious Freedom $53,161
Agricultural Marketing Service $53,894
Forest Service $54,750
National Cemetery Administration $56,874

Closely related to salaries are bonus payments. Some federal employees received a substantial bonus in addition to their salaries.

Using the same database, here is a list of the highest bonuses paid in fiscal year 2015 to federal employees. One agency finished with three employees in the top 10. Bonus information can be sorted in the database from highest to lowest by clicking in the bonus column at

Agency Occupation Location Award Adjusted Pay
Federal Housing Finance Agency Administration Washington $147,804 $263,925
Presidio Trust Program Management San Francisco $140,000 $245,000
Headquarters, NASA General Engineering Hampton $81,550 $235,300
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Criminal Investigation $64,155 $183,300
Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Wildlife Administration Washington $64,155 $183,300
Dept. of Energy Program Management Aiken $64,155 $183,300
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medical Officer Woodlawn $64,155 $183,300
Dept. of Energy Program Management Portland $64,155 $183,300
Food and Drug Administration Administration Rockville $64,155 $183,300
Dept. of Energy Administration Washington $64,155 $183,300


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. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47