Top 10 Highest Paying Federal Government Jobs in 2021

Which federal government jobs had the highest average salary in 2021? Which federal employees are the highest-paid in Human Resources Management?

Federal government jobs are diverse and the salaries vary widely. Which federal jobs have the highest average salary? How do other professions compare with those that have the highest average salary?

Here are several examples. The data are provided FedsDataCenter.com, which is a database of individual federal employee salaries. For guidance on how to use this database, check out How to Find Federal Employees’ Salaries by Name.

All data are from the fiscal year 2021 and are provided by federal agencies. The database is provided and maintained by FedsDataCenter.com.

Federal Government Jobs With Highest Average Salary

Which federal government jobs have the highest average salary? Here is a listing of these professions showing the “top ten” with the highest and lowest average salaries in each profession.

ProfessionAverage Salary In $
MEDICAL OFFICER253,314.64
SECURITIES COMPLIANCE EXAMINING204,100.69
DENTAL OFFICER191,277.51
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE180,517.02
ANESTHESIA173,884.09
PATENT ATTORNEY173,269.86
PATENT ADMINISTRATION171,135.6
TECHNICAL SYSTEMS PROGRAM MANAGER165,359.39
CHIEF ENGINEER162,032.06
PODIATRIST160,114.04

One Highest-Paid Federal Government Job: Administrative Law Judges

The federal pay system has grown much more complex over time. The highest salaries may vary considerably from the average and many of these higher average salaries are different than the General Schedule salaries. Note, for example, the number of professions listed above in the medical field.

From the FedsDataCenter.com database, here are the highest salaries listed in the database for a couple of these professions: Administrative Law Judge.

NameGradePay PlanSalaryAgency
CARLOS, TIERNEY MICHAEL3AL$183,300.00DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
SULLIVAN, J E3AL$183,300.00DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
NAME WITHHELD BY AGENCY3AL$183,300.00DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
NAME WITHHELD BY AGENCY3AL$183,300.00DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
NAME WITHHELD BY AGENCY3AL$183,300.00DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WELCH, DAVID L2AL$183,300.00FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
PEARSON, RICHARD A.3AL$183,300.00FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
CENTER, CHARLES R3AL$183,300.00FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
STROTHER, CHANNING DELAPLANE2AL$183,300.00DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Highest-Paid Federal Government Jobs in Human Resources Management

While these are the professions with the highest average salary, there are some other areas that pay high salaries as well. For example, here are the highest-paid federal employees with the title of “Human Resources Management”.

These are among the highest-paid human resources professionals in the federal government. They do not appear among the top ten professions with the highest average salary as the human resources field consists of people in much lower-paying jobs who are not managers.

Here are the “top 10” highest-paid federal employees of “Human Resources Management” as assigned by their agencies.

NameGradePay PlanSalaryAgencyLocation
CUFFEE-GRAVES, CASSANDRA LANELL8NB$279,615.00DEPARTMENT OF TREASURYWASHINGTON
PLITT, BRIDGET LOUISE7NB$279,300.00DEPARTMENT OF TREASURYWASHINGTON
EVANS, YVETTE H0CX$273,400.00FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATIONWASHINGTON
CHARLES, JOY C6NB$273,205.00DEPARTMENT OF TREASURYWASHINGTON
SMITH, TRINETTE KARENA17SK$255,800.00SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSIONWASHINGTON
FISHER, SIAN MARY0EM$255,000.00FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATIONWASHINGTON
JONES, RHONDA W7NB$253,956.00DEPARTMENT OF TREASURYWASHINGTON
MACKLIN, ALICE Y15CT$251,980.00COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSIONWASHINGTON
SCHMIDT, SHANNON W15CT$251,980.00COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSIONWASHINGTON
GREEN, ADRIANNE BIANCA7NB$251,533.00DEPARTMENT OF TREASURYWASHINGTON

Highest Paid “Chief Engineer” Federal Government Jobs

The position of “Chief Engineer” qualifies as one of the “top ten” highest-paid federal government jobs. While the average salary for this position is $162,032, the individuals who are receiving the highest salaries obviously make more than average.

Here is a listing of the top ten people in the federal government with the position of “Chief Engineer” according to the FedsDataCenter.com database.

NameGradePay SystemSalaryAgencyLocation
ANGLEBERGER, JEFFERY J1WM$169,249.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCEDAVISVILLE
BATTLES, SEAN M1WM$169,249.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCEWOODS HOLE
BROWN, JAMES LLOYD1WM$171,689.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCESAN DIEGO
CLEARY, THOMAS J1WM$165,297.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCENORFOLK
CURRIE, ALAN G10WM$177,331.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCENEWPORT
DARGA, LAWRENCE JAMES0WB$66,053.55DEPARTMENT OF INTERIORCHEBOYGAN
DAVIS, COLIN ERIC1WM$169,249.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCEWOODS HOLE
DELTORTO, JOSEPH A1WM$169,249.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCEWOODS HOLE
DENNIS, ROBERT W1WM$171,689.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCESAN DIEGO
GIANELLONI, TODD S1WM$165,297.00DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCENORFOLK

Why Are Salaries of Federal Federal Government Jobs Public Information?

The current policy of releasing names and federal pay started in 2005. At that time, the Bush administration started withholding salary information from the public for about 900,000 federal civilian employees. The practice of refusing to release the information was “breaking a tradition of openness that began in 1816” according to a lawsuit filed by a group at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act.

The group argued that “Citizens have a right to know who is working for the government” and the new policy changed that policy.

The federal government began publicly naming its employees, their job category, salary, and workplace in 1816. The first entry in the 1816 version of the Federal Register was James Madison. He was identified as president of the United States at a salary of $25,000 and that his birthplace was in Virginia. The second entry was Secretary of State James Monroe and noted his salary of $5,000.

It wasn’t just political leaders who were listed. According to an article in the Washington Post, Treasury Department messenger John Connell was from Maryland and worked in Washington for the federal government at a salary of $410 a year, and another Marylander, Richard H. Briscoe, worked for the Comptroller’s Office clerk for $1,000 a year.

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