Public employees play a vital role in the functioning of state governments across the United States. From teachers and professors to law enforcement officers and healthcare professionals, these individuals contribute significantly to their communities. Within each state, one individual stands out as the highest-paid public employee, commanding a substantial compensation package. In this article, we have compiled a list of the highest paid public employees by state in the USA. It reflects the diverse range of professions and expertise valued in different regions, shedding light on the priorities and significance placed on certain roles within state governance.
Facts about the Highest Paid Public Employees by State
Here are some interesting facts about being a state employee in the USA.
- The United States of America is a leading economy in the world; hence, it is ranked highly in state employee salaries.
- The USA is a home for some of the top technological companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, making the average salary for its employees competitive in the world.
- Public employee salaries in the USA range between 25,000 USD and 424,000 USD per year.
- Football and basketball coaches are among the highest paid public employees by state in the USA.
- If you fall among the top-paid public employees by the state in the USA, you will likely take home an average salary of 95,000 USD per annum.
15 Highest Paid Public Employees by State in the USA
Given below is the list of the highest paid state employees in the USA. These people are the masters of their field and warrant a salary which is above and beyond the pay of a normal employee.
1. John Calipari, Kentucky ($9.3million)
John Calipari is the men’s basketball head coach at the University of Kentucky. He has led the team since 2009 and is one of the highest-paid public employees in the USA.
Calipari is good at what he does, having recorded 768 official wins in his career as a basketball coach. He also led his team to the finals between 2011 and 2015, increasing his value in public service.
He also became Naismith’s college coach of the year in 1996, 2008, and 2015. Because of his outstanding performance, his name was listed in the Basketball Hall of Fame 7 years ago. Calipari has also won countless national championships.
2. Dabo Swinney, South Carolina ($9.3million)
Dabo Swinney leads the football team at Clemson University, South Carolina as a head coach and ties with John Calipari on the list of the highest paid state employees in the USA.
He remained the football head coach at the University from the year 2008. He took over the team midway through a season in 2008 after the resignation of its coach. In September 2022, Swinney signed a 9-year contract worth $115 million. He is also the second highest-paid college football coach.
Coach Swinney broke a record by leading the Clemson Tigers to national championships in two seasons. In 2018, he broke a record that the team had never broken since 1897 in a 15-0 win. This has made him one of the highest-paid public employees in the USA.
3. Nick Saban, Alabama ($8.9 million)
Nick Saban comes third while ranking the top 5 highest-paid public employees in the USA. His origin is traced back to West Virginia, but he works as the head coach of Crimson Tide, University of Alabama.
Saban signed a contract worth $74 million in 2018 that runs for 8 years. Before signing the contract, he also served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and bucketed seven national titles with them.
Many media houses have praised him as the best college football coach. He records the biggest wins in national titles as a head coach.
4. Urban Meyer, Ohio ($7.6 million)
Urban Meyer is fourth on this list of the highest paid public employees by State in the USA. He has been the head coach of several football teams, including Bowling Green Falcons, Uta Utes, Florida Gators, and now at Ohio States Buckeyes.
He signed a six-year contract of $6.4 million yearly with retention payments that were later extended. In his career, he is among the 4 coaches who have won national championships for more than one college.
Meyer’s coaching career has stood out over the years and ranked him highly. His exemplary performance has made him among the highest paid state employees in the USA.
5. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan ($7.5 million)
Jim Harbaugh studied at the University of Michigan and played for the University’s football team while at the school. He now heads the team as its coach with an outstanding performance.
Harbaugh’s history with the team is seen as a motivating factor for his players because of his great performance. He takes home millions yearly and is the fifth highest-paid public employee in the USA.
Harbaugh was born in Toledo, Ohio, to a father who was also a football coach. Jack Harbaugh (the father) inspired Jim greatly in the game. He has also coached at the University of San Diego, Stanford University, and now the University of Michigan, for which he has a 4-year contract ending in 2025.
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6. Jimbo Fisher, Texas ($7.5 million)
Jimbo Fisher landed a job at Texas A & M University in 2017. He signed a 10-year deal worth $75 million as the head football coach. Fisher got the job after leading Florida State University to the top of the championships, making him one of the highest paid state employees in the USA.
He served the University for 8 years before resigning to take the job in Texas. He is also a Salem University and University of Florida alma mater born in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
7. Kirby Smart, Georgia ($6.9 million)
Kirby Smart studied at the University of Georgia. The Georgia Bulldogs later hired him as the head coach. His origin is in Montgomery, Alabama, but he grew up in Georgia. He is the seventh best-paid public employees in the USA. He has served as the assistant coach to Nick Saban.
Kirby has also led the University of Alabama as a school head football coach for 8 years. He began leading the University team in 2015. As the head coach, Smart has taken the Bulldogs team to Sec Championship and came out victoriously. The national championship victory he led the Georgia Bulldogs has been a history record for the school as it is the first one since 1980.
8. Jeff Brohm, Indiana ($6.6million)
Jeff Brohm’s origin is Kentucky. He has played at the quarterback position before and is now the head coach of Boilermakers, Purdue University, Indiana. He signed a deal of $29 million with the University in 2017. Apart from the contract, he also tops his salary with extra bonuses.
Brohm has led the Boilermakers to win the Foster Farms Bowl. He is known for his innovativeness with the play tricks and aggression, making him a star and one of the highest paid state employees in the USA.
His birthplace is Louisville, Kentucky, and his father played quarterback at Louisville. Brohm once led the Kentucky high school team to state championships undefeated and was named the player of the year.
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9. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma ($6.4 million)
Lincoln Riley is the youngest among the highest paid public employees by State in the USA. He made it to the list when he was 36. He is the current head coach of Trojans football team at the University of Southern California.
Lincoln was the head coach of the University of Oklahoma Sooners from 2017-2021. The team has recorded an outstanding performance since he began leading it. His appointment as the USA Trojan head coach received much praise from the media, which was a great move.
10. Dan Mullen, Florida ($6.07 million)
Dan Mullen is the head coach for the University of Florida. Before becoming the head coach for the University of Florida, Mullen served as the Mississippi State University head coach between 2009 and 2017. He has worked under Urban Meyer at Bowling Green.
Mullen has coached some remarkable players in football, including Kyle Trask and Dak Prescott among many others. He signed his contract with the Florida Gaters Football team in 2017, which lasted for 6 years. The contract was worth $36.6 million, placing him among the top-paid state employees in the USA.
11. James Franklin, Pennsylvania ($5.7 million)
James Franklin has a long-serving career as a head coach. His coaching career started in 1995. He was born in Langhome, Pennsylvania.
He has also played quarterback for the East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania for four years. James was also the football head coach of Vanderbilt University. Franklin is among the top-paid public employees in the USA and is the head coach of Penn State’s Nittanny Lions starting in 2014.
12. Scott Frost, Nebraska ($ 5 million)
Scott Frost is among the highest paid state employees in the USA. He serves as the head coach of the Cornhuskers football team at the University of Nebraska. He signed a 7-year agreement with the club in 2017 of $35 million.
Besides being the head coach at the University, Frost is also a graduate of the University. Once his contract expired, the University requested him to extend his contract for another two years because of his exemplary performance.
13. Lovie Smith, Illinois ($5 million)
Lovie Smith is appointed as the head coach of the University of Illinois. He leads the football team at the University and is one of the highest paid public employees in the USA.
Smith was signed as the head coach of the University in 2016 for 6 years. He recently became the head coach of the Houston Texans earlier in 2022. He also served at Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 2004 and 2016. Smith has been at the super bowl two times and recorded an outstanding performance.
Besides coaching, Smith was a footballer who played in the positions of linebacker and defensive back at the University of Tulsa. He then served the team as its assistant coach.
14. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma ($5 million)
Mike Gundy has been the head football coach of Oklahoma University since 2005. He is among the highest paid public employees in the USA and has the experience of playing in the position of a quarterback earlier in the 80s.
He led the Cowboys’ team in more than 96 wins recording the highest in the team’s history. Mike signed a rolling 5-year contract with the Cowboys in October 2020 and is among the USA’s top-ranking coaches and highest paid state employees. He was featured in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2021.
15. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa ($ 4.8 million)
Ferentz was appointed as the head coach of the Iowa football team back in 1999 and remained in this position since then. He is the longest-serving FBS coach in the same program.
In college, Ferentz played the linebacker position at the University of Connecticut. He has also served as the head coach of the University of Maine football team. His great performance has kept him heading the same team for the longest.
Benefits of Working as a State employee in the USA
Many people would love to work in the USA, but they can’t just figure out if it is the best place to land a job. Working for a state in the USA is one of the best career decisions you can ever make for several reasons.
1. Anyone can get a job
First, if you have been contemplating being a state employee in the USA, you stand a great chance of being employed. The US government offers a variety of jobs to people who are skilled in different skills. You can choose from the great pool of employment opportunities depending on your skills and passions; from cleaners to professors, there is an opportunity for everyone.
2. Make a socio-economic impact
The United States is known for its great input into the global economy. The government works to improve people’s lives worldwide by improving their socio-economic status. Working as a public employee will give you a chance to leave a mark on the lives of many globally.
3. Competitive pays
As a leading economy, the job market in the US has a very competitive pay scale. Landing a job in one of the states will allow you to be among the highest-paid state employee in the USA and worldwide. All you need are quality academic papers due to the competitiveness in the job market.
4. Time for personal life
Many state jobs are flexible enough to allow you to have time for family and friends. Some people even take more than two jobs and still manage to have some time for their personal lives.
5. Grow your skills
The jobs offered by the different government agencies challenge you to think hard and be innovative enough. This will assist you in growing your skills and thereby increase your value in the market. With increased value, you stand a chance of being one of the highest paid state employees in the USA.
6. Other benefits
As a public employee, you will be exposed to other government benefits besides your salary, such as social security funds. These will secure your future and make your stay in the US more comfortable.
The highest paid public employee varies by state in the USA, reflecting the diverse range of professions and roles within public institutions. These individuals hold positions of importance and responsibility, showcasing the significance of their contributions to their respective states.