Government Overview

Government Jobs

Most jobs in federal government are open to US citizens only.  There are a few exceptions, most often for positions in other countries (for instance, at a US embassy).  For US citizens, government jobs are often more promising than popular myths would suggest:

  • Starting salaries are, on average, comparable to those in the private sector, and many government agencies have fixed scales to increase salaries by 150% within two or three years of satisfactory work.
  • Only 12% of federal jobs are in the DC area. There are federal employees in every US state and territory, and more than 50,000 in other countries.
  • Just 54% of private-sector employees have some post-secondary education; 75% of public-sector employees do.
  • Thirty-one percent of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire by 2017, leading to a large push to hire fresh graduates in coming years.
  • Federal jobs offer generous benefits, often exceeding those in the private sector.  Most federal employees are eligible for health, dental, vision, and life insurance; flexible spending accounts; long term care; pensions and retirement savings plans; thirteen paid sick days per annum; thirteen paid vacation days per annum (with an additional seven days after three years of continuous employment); other types of paid and unpaid leave; and, of course, paid federal holidays.

Peruse our guides to careers in government:

Email Kirsten Wellman with comments, updates or recommended additions.