Am I Being Paid Enough with My Clearance?

The Factors to Consider

If you have clearance for clearance jobs, your skills are highly valuable to many employers. The question is, how much should you be paid for your clearance?

Applying for clearance takes commitment – so you want to make sure that you’re landing the highest-paying clearance jobs you can achieve. 46% of U.S. workers feel they’re underpaid, while PayScale reports most people still have no idea whether they’re paid fairly.

With clearance jobs separate from mainstream salary brackets, it’s hard to evaluate how much you should be paid. Here, we help you discover your value.

What Makes Clearance Valuable

Obtaining clearance grants you access to incredible job opportunities many others can’t, won’t, or fail to achieve. Like a degree or high-level qualification proves your ability and/or expertise, clearance is evidence of your credential. It will also be proof of your tenacious commitment, as you endure:

  • Background investigation processes
  • National security adjudicative guidelines
  • Reinvestigation
  • Continuous evaluation program

Such processes take time and investigation processes that many people don’t want to commit to. Those who do are highly compensated for their evidenced trustworthiness and dedication. Look at these comparisons:

That’s more than double – though these figures are not clear-cut.

How Much Are You Worth in Clearance Jobs?

It’s almost impossible to pinpoint exactly how much you should be earning in clearance jobs, because there are many different factors that come into play. Here, we look at what can impact your clearance jobs salary:

The Polygraph

More commonly known as the lie detector. And if you’ve been hooked up to one of these as part of the process, you could earn around $11,000 more than those without one.


Of course, which sector you work in will have an impact on how much you earn. The skills required in an industry with or without clearance could vary greatly from one to another. According to latest reports, some of the highest-paying clearance jobs include:

  • Chemical engineering – $134,000
  • Systems engineering – $115,106
  • Mechanical engineering – $113,900
  • IT software – $108,835
  • Business legal – $107,207

Intelligence will also be highly compensated, though requiring rigorous clearance investigation.


Washington DC is clearance job central, and attracts one of the highest salaries, but is topped by Virginia by a fraction. Other high-paying hubs in America include Maryland, California, and Colorado.

Clearance Level

Your level of clearance will depend on the role you’re performing. Department of Energy (DoE) jobs have enjoyed the biggest salary increase in 2020 at 17%, and are the highest-paying alongside intelligence and top-secret roles.


Clearance is high on the agenda for employers, but so, too, is your ability to fulfil the task itself. Whichever field you enter, the more evidence you have of your skills, knowledge, and ability, the higher the reward is likely to be.


Employers do not incur costs for clearance (they’re settled by agencies), but they still invest in you throughout the lengthy process of obtaining clearance. The process can take months or even years, so be sure to assess employers at the initial stage and invest your time in the right place.


Experience is a key attribute in anyone’s career, but more so in clearance jobs. One of the main reasons for this is because a lifetime of clearance showcases continuous loyalty and achievement professionally and personally, while simultaneously excelling your skill and industry. A career spanning longer than 20 years could deliver a 12% boost in salary.

Clearance Jobs Begin with a Resume in the Right Hands

While we can mostly only work with averages, the bottom line is plain: clearance will get you a higher salary. You become highly valuable to employers. To maximize that value in a job and location you love, submit your resume today with TECHEAD. We’ll help you stand apart from your competitors with some of the best clearance jobs you’ll unlikely find on mainstream job sites.

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