» more from Jobs

10 High-Paying Government Jobs

One of the trademarks of the current recession has been widespread unemployment. As a result, anyone looking for a job right now should probably cast a wide net and include government jobs in their search for a regular paycheck.

Public-sector employment is sometimes seen as the booby prize of the job market. But there some lucrative opportunities out there. According to data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the highest-paying government jobs outside of elective office have annual salaries of more than $85,000 and include jobs in a wide array of fields, including law, medicine, science, and finance.

As in the private sector, anyone expecting to be hired in these government jobs needs to achieve a baseline level of expertise. Fortunately, tax dollars not only pay these salaries, but also help fund internships that will give prospective hires the skills they’ll need to find full-time employment in these positions.

As one might expect, some of the highest-paying government jobs are held by elected officials. The largest government salary goes to the president of the U.S, who earns $400,000 a year. Interestingly, the vice president is not the second-highest paid government employee. That distinction belongs to the Postmaster General, whose annual salary is $245,000. The Speaker of the House earns $223,500 annually, the Senate majority leader earns $193,400, and the vice president brings home nearly half the president's salary at $227,300 a year.

So what can job-seekers expect from a public sector paycheck? Using data from the Office of Personnel Management, CNBC.com collected the annual salaries of employees in 10 of the high-earning government jobs, and compared them with the salaries from the same jobs in the private sector, utilizing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some are jobs are better-paying in the private sector and some have higher salaries in government positions...regardless, they all pay well.

What are some of the highest-paying government jobs? Click ahead and find out.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 20 July 2011

Bloomberg | Getty Images