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Get Started in a Career in Public Service

Get started in a career in public service

A career in public service can be rewarding. Government entities, nonprofits and even private companies offer a variety of avenues for public service careers. What are some requirements for a successful career in public service? A commitment to service comes first; proper education and training follow closely. Additionally, you will want to research potential career options to ensure you find one that aligns with your career goals.

Commitment to Service

Above all, you want to fully understand what a career in public service means. To work in public service is to desire to improve the community in some way. Working for a government agency can give you the opportunity to work directly with the entities responsible for the policies and procedures that inform your city, county, state or nation.

Working for a nonprofit usually involves providing a service to a specific group of people. Some nonprofits serve children and families while others serve veterans or the homeless. All nonprofits, however, focus on improving the communities they serve. A career in public service requires a commitment to community.

Education and Skills

Most full-time public service jobs require a bachelor’s degree. If you plan to work in the policymaking, funding or event-planning aspects of public service, you will need to have a four-year degree in a specific field. For instance, if you want to become the financial advisor at a particular nonprofit, a degree in finance or a related field is a good option. Working in child protective services will require a degree in social work and, possibly, a focus on child psychology.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree and are looking to expand your knowledge and enhance your career potential in public service, earning an MPA degree is another option. This type of degree will prepare you for a leadership role in public service. Whereas an undergraduate degree might only cover a specific subject within the field, an MPA degree can equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to secure a management position in public service.

What Jobs Are Available in Public Service?

There are several different types of jobs available in public service, which makes it easy to find one that aligns with your skills and interests. In the nonprofit sector, administrative roles are available, including administrative assistants as well as human resources and data entry personnel. There is also a need for community engagement officers, finance managers, researchers, donation coordinators, and event coordinators. Career opportunities in government include jobs in policy, administration and research.

Here are a few specific job titles in this arena:

  • Social Worker.
  • Finance Manager.
  • Development Coordinator.
  • Coordinator of Charitable Donations.
  • Special Events Manager.
  • Community Outreach Liaison.

A local government office — such as the property appraiser’s office or the local Department of Motor Vehicles — opens additional career avenues for public service candidates. Government and nonprofit agencies regularly require the services of analysts and research associates.


Networking can give you insight into a career in public service and provide you with a tangible way to start your own career. Internships, volunteering and connecting with people already in the industry are great ways to network.

Preparing for a career in public service takes the right education, thorough research, smart networking and, above all, a passion for contributing to the community. The public service field offers many opportunities to learn and grow. With the proper skills and knowledge, you can pave the way to a bright future.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online MPA program.


Federal Student Aid: Public Service Loan Forgiveness

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