10 Well-Paid Federal-Government Jobs

Accomplished professionals often don’t consider the federal government as a prospective employer. But they should–half of federal hires in the past several months have been at starting salaries over $100,000, says Seattle career coach Robin Ryan. And by some estimates, the government needs to hire more than 270,000 people just to keep “mission-critical” functions up and going.

With masses of civil-servant baby boomers headed toward retirement, and with the creation of new federal agencies and programs responding to national-security and economic-downturn issues, our federal government is eager to find qualified hires.

Here’s a look at some of the well-paid jobs for which the federal government has thousands of openings.

Program manager 
Government agencies assign projects via contracts–and then people have to manage those contracts to make sure they stay on budget. The Department of Homeland Security–one of the agencies hiring the most right now–needs 1,850 program managers. Once you’re in as a program manager, you can easily go from project to project within various government agencies for the rest of your career, says Heather Krasna, the author of “Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service.”

Logistics manager
The Departments of the Army and Navy need about 2,000 of these experts to help them move goods and personnel efficiently and cost-effectively, both at home and overseas. Prior military experience is a strong plus here, says Janet Ruck, a coauthor of “Guide to America’s Federal Jobs.”

Attorney 
The Department of Justice alone needs 2,700 attorneys, out of more than 5,500 projected attorney hires across all agencies. Qualified attorneys can pick their area of interest–for example, transportation, treasury, environment, or communications.

Paralegal 
The Department of Justice also has a big need for paralegals and anticipates hiring 870 by last year. Also known as legal assistants, paralegals help lawyers prepare cases and may draft contracts, take depositions, or write briefs. Many get started with a certificate program or by earning a two-year college degree.

Intelligence analyst 
In a world of homegrown terrorists and threats that seem to come from nowhere, intelligence analysts are in demand. Analysts research and study data to come up with policy recommendations, says Ruck.

Physician 
The Department of Veterans Affairs alone needs a staggering 8,500 more doctors, as it gears up to meet the needs of returning military members.

Pharmacist 
The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking more than 2,300 pharmacists to dispense medications for returning veterans. Pharmacists must earn a specialized Pharm.D. four-year degree from an accredited college or school of pharmacy, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Auditor
The current administration’s focus on accountability and transparency means programs must be closely monitored to make sure funds are properly spent–and that means auditors are in demand. The Department of Defense alone wants 1,700 more.

Information technology manager
Nearly every federal agency wants more tech help–in all, more than 11,000 IT managers and specialists are being sought. Homeland Security, the Treasury, and the Army and Navy all have big needs.

Civil engineer  or electrical engineer 
More than 10,000 engineers are being sought by federal agencies, including NASA and the military. Electrical engineers are needed to design equipment including machine controls, electric motors, and transmission devices for the electric grid, while civil engineers are in demand to design and supervise projects as America rebuilds crumbling infrastructure such as roads, tunnels, and bridges.

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