Washington, D.C. may be the top hub for defense and aerospace jobs, but it’s not the only one. Cleared professionals considering career options should consider both salaries and cost of living when it comes to where to locate. Here are the top five paying locations for cleared professionals, according to the 2020 ClearanceJobs Compensation Survey.


Making Dollars and Sense of it All

Here are the top-paying states for cleared professionals. These figures include active duty military, government employees, and cleared contractors.

#1 Virginia – $108,030

Virginia offers the highest salaries and some of the highest concentration of both cleared positions and employers. From Arlington to Hampton Roads, it’s not just the D.C. metro with cleared job opportunities.

#2 Washington, D.C. $107,808

D.C. may be small in location, but it’s mighty in pay. Cleared job opportunities include positions with a number of government headquarters offices, from the FBI to the Department of Commerce.

#3 Maryland $104,836

The NSA is Maryland’s major employer of cleared professionals but a number of government agencies and contractors keep cleared talent in demand and compensation competitive.

#4 California $99,743

Clear across the country, California salaries come in at #4 in average total compensation. You’ll need it to keep up with California’s equally high cost of living.

#5 Colorado $95,853

If the top five don’t interest you, consider other top paying states for cleared professionals like Alabama and Florida. Alabama salaries are just shy of those in Colorado, and cost of living is lower. Florida’s compensation dollars also go farther thanks to no state income tax.

Regardless of your profession, it’s likely you’ll land at one of these top paying defense hubs. Each state is as diverse as the opportunities, and with competitive cleared compensation, all of them make for a great place to launch, spend, or land a cleared career.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.