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Good Enough for Government Work?

Some in Public Sector Earn Pretty Penny

Correction Appended

How well do the best-paid federal employees do?

Pretty well compared with the rest of us, but still far below the millions earned by the best-paid workers in the private sector.

A few of those jobs are rather hard to get. President Barack Obama makes $400,000 a year; Vice President Joseph Biden, $227,300; Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Chief Justice John Roberts, $223,500.

But aside from those positions, here are some of the best-paid jobs in the federal government, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

Regional director, National Credit Union Administration


Regional directors are responsible for the oversight of the chartering program for federal credit unions and the examination and supervision programs for all federally insured credit unions in their geographic area of responsibility. There are five regions within NCUA. Regional directors make an average of $223,949.20.

General attorney, Office of the Comptroller of Currency


Federal attorneys investigate cases for various government agencies. Many also help draft and interpret laws and legislation. At the OCC, where general attorneys make an average of $222,751, lawyers are responsible for dealing with cases affecting the financial services industry, developing banking regulations and often representing the comptroller in related litigation.

Chief medical officer, Department of Veterans Affairs


The chief medical officer is the head of the hospital’s physicians and is responsible for serving as a liaison between the medical staff and the administration. CMOs at the VA handle the clinical functions of their specific network’s integrated system of hospitals. They are also in charge of a variety of multi-specialty outpatient clinics and primary care clinics.

Economist, Securities and Exchange Commission


Most of the economists at the SEC work in the Office of Economic Analysis, where they help the commission understand and assess the economic effects of its regulatory policy. They provide analytical and technical support and conduct research in the areas of corporate finance, market microstructure or mutual funds.

Physicist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Health physicists are trained to identify, analyze and assess radiological agents in food, human tissue and the environment. The CDC created the field about 60 years ago through the Manhattan Project to focus on investigating the possible negative health consequences of atomic energy. Since then, the job has expanded greatly and is constantly evolving.

Elham Khatami writes for Congressional Quarterly. This piece originally appeared on

Correction: May 4

The article incorrectly stated the job title and highest salary at the National Credit Union Administration. The highest-paid employees at the NCUA are regional directors, who make $223,949.20.

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