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Local & State Government

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Careers in State and Local Government

Opportunities in state and local governments cover a wide range of interest areas. Governments need and hire individuals to work on a broad range of issues and with diverse constituents. Some of the common areas in which state and local government employees’ work include: program management and evaluation, social services, healthcare, human resources, public relations, economic development, financial management, urban/town planning, and policy making. State and local government employees may be elected, appointed, or hired through traditional means.

State governments encompass policy issues related to agriculture and rural policy, education, environment, fiscal management, health, infrastructure, and public safety and justice.


State and local government managers bring management experience, technical knowledge, academic training and a commitment to public serve to the community they serve. Within the states, cities, and counties they have various titles including city manager, county administrator, state administrator, town manager, and chief administrative officer. Their basic mandate at both the state and local levels is to provide public services to the community effectively and efficiently.

Managers organize and provide direction for a team of administrators and staff who together develop programs and deliver services to the public. State and local government managers work to implement the policies of the elected official – mayor, governor, council members. Specific responsibilities are highly dependent upon the size and needs of the community for which they work. Among the typical responsibilities are: meeting with elected officials, hiring and training administrators, implement laws and policies and ensuring they are upheld, investigating citizen concerns, soliciting bids from government contractors for building and development, and managing the day-to-day operations of the city, county, or state operations.

Qualifications Necessary

Because the goal of government officials is to provide public services, it is essential for anyone entering the field to have a demonstrated commitment to making a difference. A strong sense of integrity and ethics as well as administrative and leadership abilities is also essential. Work in state and local government requires the ability to enforce established policies and regulations, to communicate effectively with a range of constituents and colleagues, and to work well under pressure. While a bachelor’s degree may prepare and qualify you for some entry-level positions, a master’s degree in public administration is recommended for mid- and high-level positions.

To locate specific career opportunities, contact the human resources office of the cities, counties, and states you would like to work for. Often a visit to the website for that geographic location will lead you to concrete information about opportunities available. Also, many states, cities, and counties offer established full-time management training programs (often referred to as internships). These are ideal opportunities for individuals seeking a career in management who need to gain professional experience.

Potential Employers (States)

Jobs by State

Potential Employers – Local


Online Resources - State

Online Resources - Local