General Information:

  • Undergraduate degree sufficient for entry-level position in government and business.
  • Graduate degree in public administration or public health administration very helpful for management and administration positions.
  • Consider law school for careers in upper level politics, administration or management.
  • Obtain broad liberal arts background including written and verbal skills, communication and foreign language skills.
  • Part-time, summer, internship, volunteer experience extremely helpful in government affairs, organizations or public service areas.
  • Develop strong leadership skills; run for office in clubs and organizations in school or community; volunteer to organize or lead an event or project.
  • Get involved in Student Government.
  • Demonstrate interest/involvement in community affairs/events.
  • Join related social and/or professional organizations.
  • Employment opportunities in local government tend to follow population trends in terms of growth and decline in availability of positions.
  • Develop network through informal contacts.
  • Political connections are helpful for appointed positions. Most agencies respond to professional connections.
  • Expect competition for federal positions.
  • Develop patience, persistence and drive in obtaining government positions.
  • Explore application to Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) and the Outstanding Scholar Program for federal positions.
  • Learn applicable application process for area of interest.
  • Research websites and books that address various government job opportunities, pay structure and hiring processes.
  • Consider military experience and training as an entryway into government jobs and public service.
  • Plan on following a flexible career path to higher positions. Many people begin on the clerical or entry level in order to gain experience and network.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer.


Explore Possible Careers Pathways in Public Administration: