Secret Service Agent
Average Salary: $60,370
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,336,000
The federal pay grade charts make it so cut-and-dried, although remember the charts are only guidelines. Basically, the charts show lots of ascending pay grades, with a series of steps for pay increases within each pay grade. However, charts don't consider your past military or intelligence background, or your fluency in four languages. Charts also don't consider your master's degree in intelligence studies or counter-terrorism.
You'll probably be hired at a Grade 7 level, or around $35k or higher; or at a Grade 9 level, or around $40k or higher. Secret Service agents generally progress to the Grade 13 level, around $70k or higher, before they are launched into the highly competitive promotional sweepstakes.
If you speak a foreign language, you might be able to snag a little something extra for your checking account. This one-time bonus, a whopping 25 percent of your basic yearly pay, will be paid to new hires who test at “general professional proficiency” when speaking the language in which they claim proficiency. For the record, that means you should have enough vocabulary and structural knowledge to easily carry on informal and formal conversations on just about any common topic, including professional subjects. You'll get the lump-sum bonus when you graduate from the Secret Service's training academy.