Careers in Government

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“Conquest is not in our principles.  It is inconsistent with our government.”

-Thomas Jefferson



Government jobs involve work at the local, state, and federal level.  The careers involve helping to govern the country in some manner, providing essential services, and working in areas such as research, development, and education. The Federal Government is the nation’s largest employer.  Local governments often employ more than state governments. The occupations within government can range from professional and service jobs.  Fire fighters and law enforcement works, concentrated in local government, are among the largest occupations.

Interests & Skills…

  • Desire to help others
  • Ability to manage time effectively
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Ability to analyze and interpret information
  • Motivation and decisiveness
  • Flexibility


Work Environment:

Careers in government are located in a variety of environments and industries.  The essential duties when working for the Federal Government include defending the U.S from foreign aggression, representing U.S. interests abroad, creating and enforcing national laws and regulations, and working within domestic programs and agencies.  Within state and local government, employment may be within counties, cities, special districts, and towns.  A large number of state and local workers work in public education and public hospitals.

The benefits of working in a government position include providing intellectually challenging work, the opportunity to serve the public and make a difference, possible student loan repayment assistance, flexible schedules, and generous vacation.  Competitive health and retirement benefits, training and professional development, and excellent advancement opportunities are other areas to look into within government positions.

Possible Job Titles:

  • Civil Rights Analyst                                  
  • Border Patrol Agent
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • United States Marshal
  • Police Officer
  • Program Analyst
  • Municipal Clerk
  • Local Governor
  • Budget Analyst
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Patent Examiner
  • Social Service Aid/Assistant
  • International Relations
  • Intelligence Specialist
  • Communication Specialist
  • Personnel Specialist
  • Contract Specialist
  • Public Affairs Specialist
  • General Engineer
  • General Investigator
  • Foreign Affairs Officer
  • Internal Revenue Officer
  • Information Technology Management Specialist
  • Budget Analyst
  • Enhance Your Qualifications:

    There are many opportunities to enhance your qualifications while still a student.  While studying to work in a government position, some suggestions may include interning at sites such as a government agency or within a local government office, becoming a leader of an organization on campus, gaining practical experience through job shadowing, attending government functions, and working part-time in related fields.

    The Political Science program offers internship opportunities which provide practical experience in politics, government, nonprofits, and the private sector.  William Paterson is affiliated with the Washington Internship Institute in Washington, D.C. which provides semester-long or summer internships.  Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and go through an application process.  They can be placed in any one of a variety of Washington-based interest groups or with Executive Branch agencies or members of Congress.  This type of experience can lead to job opportunities after college.

    Related Web Sites:

    USA Jobs

    Occupation Outlook

    Making the Difference


    U.S. Department of State

    Best Places to Work

    William Paterson University, Political Science Department:

    Visit agency websites to explore job, internship, and volunteer opportunities.

    Other sources:

    Please drop by the Career Development and Advisement Center to learn more about careers in local and federal government.  Visiting departments on campus, such as the Political Science department, can also prove to be valuable in addressing some of your questions.