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.