Careers in Government to Consider Based on Your Major and Interests

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 9.6 million jobs in federal, state and local governments across the country. These jobs encompass hundreds of industries and have an annual mean wage of $70,590. There are many pros and cons to working for the government, but for students who are considering public sector employment, here are some of the many opportunities across majors and interest areas.

1. Administration

The office and administrative support sector employs over 1.5 million people with an annual mean wage of $48,530. People in these roles can work as HR managers, analysts, administrative assistants, secretaries and facility managers. Some of the top federal employers hiring employees in administration and program management include the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the American Battle Monuments Commission and the National Capital Planning Commission. Missouri’s Office of Administration has numerous jobs open on its website. It includes positions at the Commissioner’s Office and the Office of Equal Opportunity and OA Boards of Commissions. It has positions open in accounting, budget and planning, IT services, facilities management, general services, personnel and purchasing.

2. Business/Finance

The business and finance sector employs over 1.1 million people with an annual mean wage of $83,420. It includes accountants, auditors and business analysts. The top federal employers in business and finance include the National Credit Union, the Farm Credit Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The Missouri Department of Finances offers entry-level positions with specialization in finance, accounting, economics, business administration or a closely related area. Additionally, the Department of Commerce and Insurance offers nine departments including consumer affairs, market regulation, company regulation, administration, credit unions, finance, professional registration, public service and public counsel.

3. Communication

The art, entertainment and media sector employs 71,340 people with an annual mean wage of $74,660. It includes technical writers, editors, news analysts,

journalists, interpreters, public information officers, audio and video technicians and photographers. The top federal employers in creative arts, which includes all the above, are the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Jobs in communication are available through the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Office of Administration and many other offices. They can also be found in many individual city and local governing bodies.

4. Education

The educational instruction and library occupations sector employs 195,120 people with an annual mean wage of $55,940. It includes public health educators, librarians, archivists, museum technicians and teaching assistants. People in these roles can work with military families, prison inmates and many other groups of people. Some of the top federal employers in education are the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, the Department of Education and the Department of the Air Force. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education currently has positions open in vocational rehabilitation, the Missouri School for the Blind, the Missouri School for the Deaf and Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled. The Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development additionally has jobs open in communication and outreach, operations, performance and strategy, postsecondary policy and workforce development.

5. Engineering The architecture and engineering sector employs 279,460 people with annual mean wage of $97,960. It includes careers in civil, mechanical, aerospace, computer and electrical engineering, as well as architecture. Some of the top federal employers in engineering are the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Missouri Office of Administration has jobs open in architecture/design, engineering, engineering and surveying technical, professional land surveying and project management.

6. Health

The healthcare practitioners and technical occupations sector employs 455,750 people with an annual mean wage of $97,070. It includes nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, dental officers and veterinarians. Some of the top federal employers in medical and public health are the Armed Forces Retirement Home, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has jobs open in community and public health, regulation and licensure, administration, senior and disability services and the State Public Health Laboratory.

7. Law

The legal sector employs 271,090 people with an annual mean wage of $110,390. It includes lawyers, clerks, judges, magistrates and legal assistants. The top federal employers in law are the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the Merit Systems Protection Board. The Missouri Courts currently have openings in Circuit Courts, the Supreme Court and Office of State Courts, the Court of Appeals and in the intermediate appellate court.

8. Public security

The protective service sector employs 1.8 million people with an annual mean wage of $66,780. It includes investigators, compliance officers, security guards and customs officials. The top federal employers in security and protection are the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Office of Personnel Management. The Missouri Department of Public Safety currently has openings in the Office of the Director, the State Highway Patrol, the Division of Fire Safety, the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, the Missouri Gaming Commission, the Missouri Capitol Police, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the Missouri Veterans Commissions.

9. Social sciences

The community and social service sector employs 503,620 people with an annual mean wage of $60,180. It includes probation officers, counselors, social workers and psychologists. The top federal employers in social sciences are the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia, the National Capital Planning Commission and the Council of Economic Advisors. The Missouri Department of Social Services currently offers positions in the Family Support Division, the Division of Youth Services and the Children’s Division.

10. STEM

The life, physical and social science sector employs 332,310 people with an annual mean wage of $80,170. It includes research chemists, geologists, oceanographers, mathematicians and computer scientists. The top federal employers include the

Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation. In Missouri, jobs are available through the Department of Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources. Those with mathematics degrees might also consider applying for the Department of Commerce and Insurance, the Department of Revenue or the State Treasurer’s Office.

11. Transportation

The transportation and material moving sector employs 365,080 people with an annual mean wage of $59,930. It includes traffic managers, highway safety specialists, air traffic controllers and air navigators. The top federal employers in transportation are the Department of Transportation, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Maritime Commission. The Missouri Department of Transportation offers careers in maintenance, engineering, college employment training, and many other divisions. It also has a paid internship program for current students.

For students and recent graduates, a great option for getting involved in government is the Pathways program. It offers internships for current students and a two-year fellowship for recent graduates, with opportunities spanning across a wide range of backgrounds and academic majors. If eligible, students may be able to continue in a permanent position. All vacant positions for the federal government are posted on, which allows you to filter by both location and occupation. After creating an account, candidates can search for jobs, contact employers and submit applications all through the platform. Similarly, the Missouri government posts its jobs on

For more questions on the job application process, be sure to stop by the Career Center and talk to a trained Career Specialist about how to make your public sector application stand out.

Best of luck, tigers!