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280 Public Sector, Government & Emergency Services Jobs in the USA

The public sector employs over 20 million people in the US, or about 14% of the total workforce. This includes federal, state, and local workers. The services delivered by these employees has remained consistent over time, such as providing education, health care, housing, welfare, transportation, mail delivery, and public safety. Public sector jobs are known for being well-paid, stable, and highly unionized. If working in the public sector, government & emergency services interests you, keep reading to learn about the sector and the opportunities available.

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Your duties will depend on the role you choose to take on. Since the public sector involves so many different types of roles, the possibilities are endless. You could be an economist, charting the current and future economic trends for a federal agency. You could be a nurse working in a local hospital and caring for patients. You could be a teacher in a public school teaching any number of K-12 subjects. You could be an auditor working for the IRS to ensure the country’s tax code is implemented fairly. Or you could be a bus driver, driving various routes for your municipality.

The education you need will depend on the role you decide to pursue. For instance, if you want to be a nurse, you will need a degree from an accredited nursing school. Other jobs will require less specific qualifications. For instance, many government and bureaucratic roles may only require a bachelor’s degree and/or certificate. Other roles, such as trash collectors, street sweepers, or various administrative roles may not require more than a high school diploma.

Opportunities available within the public sector depend largely on government budgets, which can depend on many things. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects most public sector roles to grow between 1-10% in the next 10 years, with occupations like agricultural engineers, astronomers, and industrial psychologists to grow by more than 10%. However, many factors, such as Covid-19 and continuous budget cuts, have meant that public sector employment could be under threat in the near future.

Public sector jobs are known to be well-paid and stable, and tend to provide good benefits, such as healthcare and pensions. Many people who work in the public sector often cite working for the general public good or providing vital services as a reason for their high level of job satisfaction. The public sector in the US is also vast, so no matter what field you are in, there is most likely a place for you.

Because many public sector roles are bound by government rules and regulations, workers in this sector often have to deal with a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. Some roles in the public sector can be dangerous, especially in construction, social work, and transportation. Many public sector workers also cite a certain alienation from their work since they are part of such a large bureaucratic structure that can often distance them from the work they produce and the people they are meant to serve.