Taking a Career in Government: What Steps to Take

Choosing a career in government can be a smart move for many individuals. Not only does it provide job security and stability, but it also offers a variety of benefits, such as generous retirement plans, healthcare coverage, and ample time off. Let's look at the advantages of working for the government.


  • Government jobs provide job security and better benefits than private sector jobs.
  • To pursue a career in government, identify your desired career path and budget for education.
  • Potential entry-level roles in government include administrative support, law enforcement, finance, and research.
  • Obtaining a relevant degree can be costly, but scholarships and work-study programs can help reduce the financial burden.
  • Climbing the ladder in the government requires dedication and hard work, including taking advantage of professional development opportunities.

First and foremost, government employees enjoy job security, unlike most private sector jobs, where layoffs are a constant concern. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for government workers is lower than that of private sector workers. This means that once you have a job in government, it's likely to be a long-term career, providing you with the peace of mind and financial stability you need to plan for the future.

Government jobs also typically have a better benefits package. For example, federal employees are eligible for health, life, and retirement benefits. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management reports that the average cost of healthcare premiums paid by the government for its employees is about 70% of the total cost. On top of that, government employees often receive generous paid leave and holiday benefits, as well as sick leave and family medical leave.

However, becoming a government employee can be challenging. Fortunately, these steps can help you get on the path to success.

Identify Your Career Path

Identifying the job you want is crucial when pursuing a career in government. The government offers a wide range of career paths that can suit various interests and skill sets, including administrative support, finance, law enforcement, research, and more. By narrowing down your career path, you can focus your efforts and tailor your skills and experience to your desired position.

Here are some potential entry-level roles in government:

Administrative Support

Every government agency needs administrative support personnel to ensure smooth operations. Administrative assistants, receptionists, and clerks are commonly hired to manage office tasks such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, processing paperwork, and providing customer service. These roles often require strong communication and organizational skills, attention to detail and multi-tasking abilities, and proficiency in office software and technologies.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, CIA, and DEA employ various positions protecting national security and public safety. Jobs may include special agents, intelligence analysts, forensic scientists, and support staff. These positions typically require a background in criminal justice, law enforcement experience, and solid communication and problem-solving skills.


The government employs financial professionals in various areas, such as budgeting, accounting, auditing, and financial management. Entry-level positions may include financial analyst, budget analyst, accountant, or auditor. These roles usually require a degree in finance, accounting, economics, or a related field and knowledge of financial regulations and policies.


The government also values intellectual and scientific expertise and offers opportunities for researchers in various fields, such as health, energy, environmental studies, and technology. Entry-level positions may include research assistant, ecological scientist, lab technician, or policy analyst. These positions often require a solid academic background in a relevant field, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and advanced knowledge of research methodologies and tools.

Budget for Education

A critical step to becoming a government employee is obtaining a degree that aligns with your desired career path. For example, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science can be a beneficial degree for someone considering a career in government. This degree provides knowledge of government systems and policies and critical thinking skills that are important for analyzing and solving complex issues. Other degrees useful for a government career include finance, accounting, criminal justice, environmental studies, and technology.

However, obtaining a degree can be costly, and it's essential to budget accordingly. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for a public four-year college in the 2020-2021 school year was $10,560 for in-state students and $27,020 for out-of-state students. Private nonprofit four-year colleges had an average tuition and fee of $37,650. These costs do not include additional expenses, such as textbooks, housing, and transportation.

There are several ways to reduce the financial burden of obtaining a degree for a government career. Scholarships and grants are excellent resources to help cover the cost of tuition and fees. Additionally, many colleges offer work-study programs that allow students to work part-time while attending school, which can help offset the cost of education. Researching and applying for these opportunities early is essential to increase the chances of receiving financial assistance.

Climb the Ladder

Once you have the necessary education and experience, the next step is applying for government jobs. The USAJOBS website lists a variety of current openings from federal agencies and provides resources to help prepare successful applications. Additionally, some organizations offer internships that provide on-the-job training and valuable experience. An internship in one's desired field can be a great way to start a career in government.

Finally, climbing the ladder requires hard work and dedication. Government employees are held to high-performance standards, so it's essential to stay on top of your responsibilities while taking advantage of professional development opportunities such as continuing education courses or seminars related to your role.

Final Thoughts

There are many benefits to choosing a career in government, including job security and generous benefits. To start your journey in this field, it's essential to identify the career path that interests you and budget for education. Once you have the necessary experience and qualifications, apply for positions on government websites. Finally, staying committed to excellence is critical to success in any government job. With dedication and hard work, you'll be well-positioned to enjoy a rewarding career with the government.

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