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Government and Public Administration

Careers in this cluster

Cluster definition

Have you served as an officer of a club or organization?
Do you like to plan and organize activities?
Are you interested in politics?
Would you like to work in another country?
Are rules and laws important to you?

If you answered yes to two or more of the questions above, you might be interested in considering a career in government and public administration.

Through the national, state, and local governments, the public can express its will and make our way of life possible. Through government, individuals can act together to accomplish what cannot be done alone. Most of these actions are carried out only by the government. For example, the federal government includes the military for protection. It also includes ambassadors who represent us in foreign countries. It is Congress that passes laws. The Administration carries out and enforces those laws. You would find almost every occupation within the government. However, this Government and Public Administration career cluster focuses on those occupations that are unique.


Foreign service

People in the Foreign Service pathway work in embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions and in Washington, D.C. In your job, you may manage the day-to-day operations of an embassy. Or you might analyze political and economic events and give advice to Congress or the President. Or you might help American citizens abroad.

Foreign Service Officers


In the Governance pathway, you would be an elected or appointed government official. You would be in charge of making and carrying out public policy. This pathway includes the President and members of Congress, governors, and state legislators, and local elected officials. It also includes the staff members who support them. You would work with the individuals and groups you speak for in the government.

National security

The military services protect the country and its citizens. In the National Security pathway, you might run a hospital, operate a tank, program computers, or repair a helicopter. The military provides you with training and experience. You could serve in the active Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, their Reserve components, and the Air and Army National Guard.

Transportation Security Screeners


People who work in the Planning pathway develop plans for use of land. You would prepare for the growth of communities. In addition, you would help local officials make decisions about the best use of land and resources.

Public management and administration

In Public Management and Administration, you would do the work of the government. You would implement the plans and programs developed by the elected officials.


People who work in the Regulation pathway protect our health, safety, and environment. You would make sure that our money, highways, airplanes, and power plants are safe. You would do inspections, audits, or investigations. Your goal is to enforce government rules and regulations.

Revenue and taxation

People who work in the Revenue and Taxation pathway collect taxes. The taxes provide the money the national, state, and local governments need to operate.

Level of education and earnings

The training and education requirements to work in the occupations included in the Government and Public Administration cluster depend on the specialty and the type of work performed. Some occupations require less than one month of on-the-job training; however, some urban and regional planners need a master's degree.

The information provided in the table below, presents the level of education or training required to work in the occupations related to this cluster and the median wages for those occupations. Note that some occupations may have more than one required level because the type of work performed may vary in specific jobs.

Also, keep in mind that there are non-wage benefits that workers receive. For example, these types of benefits are health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. It is important to consider these benefits when you are looking at pay. Some benefits, such as health care, are worth a lot of money. You should carefully weigh a job that pays well but does not have many benefits against one that has good benefits and lower pay. Remember, how much an occupation pays is only one factor to consider when making career choices.

  National Annual
Median Wage
Washington Annual
Median Wage
Short-Term, On-the-Job Training (Less than One Month)
Transportation Security Screeners$41,490 $42,850
Moderate-Term, On-the-Job Training (One to Twelve Months)
Government Benefits Interviewers$46,020 $50,120
Occupational Health and Safety Technicians$50,780 $56,820
Transportation Inspectors$73,780 $75,190
Long-Term, On-the-Job Training (Over One Year)
Court Clerks$38,450 $50,560
License Clerks$38,450 $50,560
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Construction and Building Inspectors$59,700 $76,100
Postmasters and Mail Superintendents$75,970 $74,250
Bachelor's Degree
Agricultural Inspectors$44,140 $48,540
Appraisers and Assessors$54,980 $66,010
Compliance Officers and Inspectors$68,860 $77,510
Financial Examiners$80,180 $85,590
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists$73,020 $75,690
Regulatory Affairs Specialists$68,860 $77,510
Statistical Clerks$48,330 $62,160
Tax Examiners$54,440 $62,070
Work Experience Plus a Bachelor's or Higher Degree
Emergency Management Directors$74,420 $107,760
Master's Degree
Urban and Regional Planners$73,050 $80,910
Professional Degree
Coroners$68,860 $77,510

Employment & outlook

The job opportunities in the Federal Government are expected to decline. There are several reasons for this decrease. First, the government is cutting costs. Second, programs are using private contractors to do the work. Third, the implementation of programs is being turned over to state and local governments. In addition, there will be strong competition for any job openings.

Employment opportunities in state and local governments are expected to increase. The growth is a result of increased demand for services at the state and local level. Also, Federal programs are being turned over to states. However, many state governments are experiencing budget problems. If the problems continue, states may have to cut costs and employees.

In all levels of government, employment is affected by the increased use of technology. As a result, the need for office support workers will grow slowly.