Salary Ranges for Federal Government Jobs: What You Need to Know 1

Overview of Federal Government Jobs

Federal government jobs are highly coveted due to their stability, competitive salaries, and comprehensive benefits packages. Additionally, federal employment is an excellent way to serve your country while enjoying job security, healthcare, and ample vacation time. However, the salary range can vary widely depending on the position, agency, and level of experience.

Approximately 2.1 million people are employed by the federal government in full-time, part-time, and temporary positions. Federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency are among the most significant federal employers. To enjoy a comprehensive learning journey, explore this thoughtfully chosen external site. There, you’ll find additional and valuable information about the subject.!

General Schedule (GS) Structure

The general pay scale for most federal employees is the General Schedule (GS) structure. This pay scale is divided into 15 grades (GS-1 to GS-15) and ten steps within each grade, except for GS-13, GS-14, and GS-15.

Each grade corresponds to a specific pay range. For example, GS-1 employees usually receive an annual salary of around $20,000 to $25,000, whereas GS-15 employees can earn more than $100,000 a year. Additionally, federal employees within the GS pay scale can also earn locality pay based on their geographic area.

The table below provides an overview of the GS level and corresponding yearly salaries, as of 2021:

  • GS-1: $19,738 – $23,569
  • GS-2: $22,974 – $26,915
  • GS-3: $26,915 – $31,139
  • GS-4: $31,208 – $37,843
  • GS-5: $35,265 – $43,798
  • GS-6: $39,748 – $49,756
  • GS-7: $44,471 – $56,222
  • GS-8: $49,016 – $62,297
  • GS-9: $54,098 – $69,026
  • GS-10: $59,534 – $76,687
  • GS-11: $65,377 – $85,975
  • GS-12: $78,681 – $102,288
  • GS-13: $93,907 – $122,961
  • GS-14: $111,098 – $144,456
  • GS-15: $131,239 – $170,800
  • Factors Affecting Federal Salary Ranges

    Several factors can impact the salary range for federal government positions, including:

    1. Location

    Location, or the General Schedule (GS) locality pay, is a top factor determining federal salaries. While GS budgets provide base pay ranges, locality pay ensures that employees receive a living wage based on the cost of living in their area. Federal employees in high-cost regions receive higher locality pay- with San Francisco, California; Washington DC; New York City, New York; and Seattle, Washington ranking as the top areas.

    2. Experience and Education

    The level of experience and education required to succeed in a federal government job also affects the salary range. Simply put, the higher the education and experience required for a position, the higher the salary range. Generally, jobs requiring significant experience, education, or certifications will have a higher salary range.

    3. Grade and Step

    As mentioned earlier, GS salaries are divided by fifteen grades and ten steps. As employees move up in the grade and step scale, their annual salary increases. Each step typically comes with a two or three percent increase over the previous step, making employee movement within a grade meaningful to their earning potential. Thus, a GS-5 step 7 employee will earn more than a GS-5 step 1 employee.

    4. Occupation

    The specific job and agency an employee works for are also significant factors determining salary range. Some job classifications, such as physicians, scientists, lawyers, and IT specialists, have a higher salary range. Additionally, specialized agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency tend to pay higher salaries than other federal agencies.


    If you’re interested in pursuing a career in federal government jobs, understanding the pay structure can be challenging. However, the General Schedule (GS) pay scale provides a useful reference to estimate financial earnings. A public service career can come with many benefits, both tangible and intangible. While salary range is a significant factor when choosing one’s career path, it is essential to remember that federal government employees often enjoy job stability, excellent healthcare benefits, and opportunities for professional growth. Continue expanding your knowledge on the subject by exploring this meticulously chosen external site., discover new perspectives and additional information to enhance your knowledge of the subject.

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