How to Jumpstart a Career in Local Government

Beginning a new career can be difficult nowadays. For many recent graduates, the job market has been a challenging place to find a well-paying position with decent benefits. And older, more established workers have recently found themselves changing careers, but the decision of which new career path to pursue and which degree to earn can be daunting and confusing. Individuals in both of these career-starting scenarios can benefit from some flexibility, and the choice to begin a career in local government can offer this.

Local Government Careers Local government has a broad range of positions available for those interested in a career in public service. These positions make up and support all of the resources required to create, maintain, and develop a community: Disaster management and law enforcement keep the community safe; public utilities staff and engineers to build and maintain its infrastructure; city and county planners to shape its growth and expand its resources; city and county officials to establish policy and manage its finances; and departments of recreation, arts, and culture to enrich the community. For those who already have degrees, there is even the possibility of translating past education and experience into one of these specialized public service areas.

Earning a Master of Public Administration For those who are looking to go back to school to earn a degree for a career in local government and public service, the most flexible and applicable degree is a Master of Public Administration (MPA). An MPA will provide the education needed for those seeking management and decision-making positions. It will also offer specializations to focus on whichever aspect of local government you’d like to concentrate in. An MPA degree includes aspects of a wide range of fields, including law, economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, and regional planning. An MPA program’s core curriculum consists of courses like public finance, statistics and research, policy process and analysis, public management, ethics, and leadership and public speaking. Areas of focus and concentration reflect a wide array of options and MPA specializations may include urban planning, emergency and disaster management, transportation, health care, economic development, education, information technology, environmental policy, and criminal justice.

Finding Your Career in Local Government Finding a career in local government is less daunting when you consider all of the professional positions available. You can search for positions in local governments by visiting county, city, and township websites or local government job sites like, External link . — A career in local government is a challenging and rewarding one, as you are given the chance to influence others and see the results of your hard work. There is always a demand for public services, and the benefits and salaries are competitive with similar careers in the private sector. If you are interested in making a difference and helping your community, then a career in public service and local government is what you’re looking for.

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