To Put This in Context:
Areas like politics and emergency response may quickly come to mind as prominent public service jobs, but the public sector also offers opportunities in a variety of other fields, from communications to nonprofits. Public service roles are growing in the U.S., and we’ll explore four potential careers that offer the chance to impact your community in different ways.
A rewarding career isn’t always just about your paycheck, benefits, or even work-life balance. Many people want to make a difference in the world through their work. Whether your goals include something as visible as working for a political campaign or a more community-focused role like managing local urban development, there are plenty of meaningful careers in public service you can qualify for with the right education.
1. Communications Coordinator
If you have a way with words and want to craft external messaging, a communications coordinator position may be right for you. This role can be especially useful in government. Every campaign and political organization, no matter how small, needs a qualified person to handle its messaging and media relations. Unlike in the private sector, politicians and political organizations need someone to help them connect with the issues that are important to their electorate, not just market a product or service.
It’s a role that demands someone adept at critical thinking, public speaking, and marketing, as your aim will be to convince people of the importance of your candidate’s or organization’s message. Several college degrees can help you learn this unique combination of skills, including bachelor’s and master’s programs in public relations, political science, communications, and other related fields.
The national average salary for a communications coordinator is about $41,000, but this figure varies greatly depending on the size of the campaign or organization where you work. 
2. Nonprofit Administrator
The nonprofit sector can be perfect for those looking to make a difference with a public service career, as it allows you to pursue organizations that champion causes related to your interests.  Many nonprofit professionals find fulfillment in their work by focusing on issues they’re passionate about, such as community education, medical advocacy, or the arts.
Many colleges offer programs focused on this area of public service, with degrees that include bachelor’s and master’s in nonprofit management and nonprofit administration. While nonprofits aren’t typically known for high-paying positions, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nonprofit employment levels grew steadily every year from 2007 to 2012, even during the recession. This demonstrates a continued need for these vital roles. 
3. Urban Planner
Do you desire to improve your community’s infrastructure or help provide better housing opportunities for those in need? If so, consider pursuing a career in urban or regional planning. These public service professionals have the responsibility of revitalizing communities, improving access to public works, and accommodating population growth.
Colleges offer specialized degrees in urban planning to prepare you for this career path, and the BLS expects job prospects to grow along with the national average in the next few years.  The median income is projected at $68,220, depending on experience and education levels. The experience you can gain as an urban planner can also lead to advancement in roles such as transportation planner and logistics manager. 
Did you know?
Public service isn’t the only field that can help you influence your community’s landscape. Specialized degree programs can also lead to careers protecting the environment and natural resources.
4. Community Service Manager
If you have a knack for coordination and organization, along with a passion for social service programs, being a community service manager can give you the opportunity to turn those skills into a lucrative career. Not only is this job growing faster than the national average, but people in this position also earn an average of $63,530 a year, according to the BLS. 
U.S. News & World Report ranked community service manager #17 on its list of Best Business Jobs.  #Context
Degrees in community health, social entrepreneurship, community development, and social policy can help you earn the skills to pursue this and other similar positions. If you want to enter social services, but aren’t sure about being a community service manager, there are many other options in the public sector.
Additional jobs in this field can see you supporting health care, food subsidies, low-income housing, and even political lobbying or research.  From social work to low-income clinics, social services is a broad field that offers numerous job opportunities for anyone looking to pursue a meaningful career in public service.
Want to know more?
Whether you wish to be a lobbyist advocating for the rights of certain groups, or you’d rather find a career that allows you to operate on a more local level, there are an endless number of ways to get involved in public service work. If you are new to the sector, consider volunteering or interning with certain organizations to see if the work may be right for you. If you are serious about working toward a long-term career in the field, you may want to explore online programs to prepare for one of these or other public service careers.
Did you know?
Health care professionals also can get involved in the public sector. Read more about the important roles that nurses are playing in our nation’s schools.