What government jobs have high pay?

Many believe that working for the government means earning a small paycheck, but that’s not always the case. While some jobs don’t pay big, there are quite a few high paying government jobs. 

Let’s look at some of the highest paying government jobs (in no particular order).


Astronomers are scientists that study the stars, planets, and outer space. It’s their job to observe and understand how the universe works. 

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To become an astronomer, you’ll need a doctoral degree in either physics or astronomy, in addition to a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in similar fields. 

$114,149 average yearly salary

Federal Judges

A Federal Judge is nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. Once confirmed, federal judges serve in their position for life (or as long as they’d like). Federal judges preside over criminal, civil, and bankruptcy cases. 

Becoming a federal judge is no easy task. Federal judges must earn a bachelor’s and Juris Doctorate. Once their education is complete, they must serve as a judge until a federal court’s vacancy is announced. They need to be nominated by the President of the United States and go through White House review to move forward. 

$250,900 average yearly salary

Military General and Admirals 

The highest-ranking military officials, Generals being part of the Marine Corps, Army, and the Airforce, Admirals being part of the Navy generally serve in the Military for at least 20 years before being awarded this rank. 

To earn this high ranking position, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree before entering Officer Candidate School. Not anyone can enter Officer Candidate School as students have to be recruited before acceptance. 

$151,283 average yearly salary

Patent Attorney

A patent attorney is a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property law pertaining to securing and protecting an inventor’s property rights. 

In addition to earning a law degree, patent attorneys also need to earn a master’s degree in engineering or physical sciences like physics, biology, or chemistry. This is required so the attorney can better understand the inventions. 

$170.078 average yearly salary

Securities Compliance Examiner

Securities Compliance Examiners (SCE) review mutual fund portfolios, broker-dealer sales activities, review multi-million dollar companies’ financial statements, and conduct inspections of firms. Basically, they make sure that large companies aren’t violating financial law. 

To become a securities compliance examiner, you’ll need to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance or mathematics. 

$181,013 average yearly salary

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers are responsible for the safe takeoff, flight patterns, and landing for all aircraft. Without them, pilots wouldn’t be able to navigate the skies as smoothly and without incident. 

To become an air traffic controller, you’ll need to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an AT-CTI program. This program was designed specifically for those who wish to work in air traffic control positions. 

$123,027 average yearly salary

Government jobs get a bad wrap. Not only are many positions very lucrative, but government jobs also come with the added perk of student loan forgiveness. When choosing a career, while pay is essential, it’s also important to choose something you love. 

As they say, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”