Just as in the private sector, different branches of the U.S. federal government base their job salaries on factors, such as location and experience. However, the federal government is known for being generous with benefit packages, regardless of experience or location. But, which jobs within the government offer the best combined salary and benefits for those wanting to get in early and build toward retirement? Based on an assessment of hiring trends, projected growth rates, and salaries, here are five of the top positions.
The highest paying job on this list, averaging $52 an hour, is that of a civil engineer. The responsibilities of a civil engineer can include staff management, testing soil and other materials, computing load requirements, planning and designing structures, and providing technical advice. Qualified candidates typically have to hold a Bachelor’s degree (or higher) in Engineering, and show a comprehensive knowledge of math, engineering, design and all relevant technologies.
Earning an average salary of $27 an hour, accountants who work for the federal government are responsible for such tasks as developing, implementing and maintaining accounting systems and budgets, and analyzing operational costs and trends. Accountants are typically required to hold a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, or a related field, and demonstrate proficiency in math and economics.
Computer Systems Analyst
A career as a computer systems analyst will earn you an average of $35 an hour with the federal government. The majority of positions require a minimum of a four-year degree in a computer science field. You must also demonstrate knowledge of processors, myriad electronic equipment, and computer hardware and design. Job duties might include testing and maintaining computers and computer systems, using programming language, and resolving staff computer issues.
Police Officer and Sheriff
The federal government pays an average of $24 an hour to its police officers and sheriffs. Typical duties include identifying, pursuing and arresting suspects, and investigating, recording and reporting crimes. Though not every entry level position will require a degree, a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Criminal Justice, is preferable. For those wanting to join the FBI, a four-year degree is a requirement.
Administrative Assistant and Executive Secretary
Just as with police officers, these positions may not always require a four-year degree, as prior office experience and on-the-job training can make up for one. However, a minimum two-year Associate Degree is desirable, and could rank you ahead of those with less formal education. Preparing and reviewing various reports, coordinating services, ordering and distributing supplies, and analyzing and modifying internal procedures are just some of the responsibilities held by administrative assistants and executive secretaries. So, knowledge of general clerical procedures and business principles is necessary. The average wage? $21 an hour.
Federal Government Career Benefits
While the jobs listed above vary in description and duties, each position comes with myriad benefits that make working for the federal government a goal for countless people. Additionally, in the event that a federal employee is injured on the job, or becomes disabled and is otherwise unable to perform his regular duties, federal agencies have a reputation for working hard to try to accommodate the disability. Sometimes that isn’t enough though, and the employee must, unfortunately, stop working. When that happens, federal employees may qualify for a federal disability retirement, which allows them to receive anywhere between 40% and 80% of their highest salary, regardless of position or location. So, working for the federal government can pay well, and offers countless benefits, sometimes even to those who are no longer able to work.