What Careers are Available in Public Service?

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Firefighters, computer technicians and geologists can all work to improve their communities and the world while enjoying the benefits of doing good. From pensions to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, work in the public sector offers a surprising array of rewards. Here are four of the biggest public sector employment fields.

Public Safety

Firefighters, police officers and emergency health providers have a few things in common: They all enjoy great pay, amazing benefits and a high level of workplace satisfaction. Public safety jobs are some of the most well-known careers in public service for a reason. These jobs offer pensions, health insurance and on-the-job training in a job market where those benefits are rapidly disappearing. Although physical fitness is required to excel in these roles, they are still perfect entry-level jobs in public safety, especially for applicants without a relevant college degree. Most police departments, for example, require some college experience for applicants, but a bachelor's or master's degree in criminology is not required.

Natural Resources Management

For nature-lovers, there's no better employer than state or federal governments. Across America, state and national parks, forests and wilderness preservation areas hire college graduates for exciting jobs in the great outdoors. From tour guides deep underground in Mammoth Cave National Park to wildlife observers on the top of Denali, these jobs offer a range of locations and activities. Possible duties include educating the public, managing fish and wildlife resources, maintaining safe and ecologically appropriate trailways and even capturing poachers. Degrees in archaeology, wildlife sciences, fisheries management or natural resources management are recommended.

Internet Technology (IT)

Government agencies and non-profit organizations need tech-savvy workers, too. Someone has to keep computers running, update agency websites and fix the email server when it breaks down. Many agencies also maintain complex databases of consumer information, research data or health records. IT workers are an important, if often overlooked, part of the public sector field. Studying an IT-related field like systems administration or software design can be a smart choice for college students not ready to commit to a career in the public sector. Because IT skills are needed in both the corporate and public worlds, workers in this field can easily switch between employers if needed.


According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics six out of 10 of the fastest-growing job sectors in the country are in healthcare. That's true in the public sector just as much as in the private sector. State and federal governments need healthcare workers to staff public health departments, Veteran Affairs hospitals and schools. Every level of worker—from physicians to respiratory therapists and phlebotomist – is needed. Like IT professionals, public sector healthcare workers can transition between public service and private-sector jobs.

Related Resource: Top 30 Affordable Online Master's in Information Technology 2017

Public-sector jobs offer stability that's rarely seen in the profit-driven corporate world. It's not uncommon for civil servants to spend their entire working life at a single government agency. That's one of many reasons that so many college students are considering possible careers in public service when choosing a degree plan.