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State Government Worker Job Description, Career as a State Government Worker, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Variable – see notes

Average Salary Variable – see notes

Job Outlook Fair

Basic Job Description

State government workers hold a variety of positions. They can work as secretaries, lawyers, public school teachers, public healthcare workers, police officers, and several other positions that are run by a state government system. Some hold positions at secretary of state offices or court houses as secretaries, maintenance workers, plumbers, food service workers, or a variety of other skilled trade jobs. State governments employ people with many different skills as workers in different departments as they are needed. This includes everyone from the president of a department such as health or law, all the way down to the janitors and maintenance workers for the buildings.

Education and Training Requirements

Education varies for different types of jobs. Some workers, such as secretaries or maintenance workers may be able to find a job in the state government with just a high school diploma, while others will need a degree specific to their job as well as state administered certificates or qualifications. Qualifying for jobs through the state has no qualifications different than what is needed for a similar job that is not run by the state, except state employees must become certified to work for the government regardless of their position. State government jobs also require any employee to be a minimum of sixteen years of age.

Most jobs require a state administered test to be taken in order to qualify to work in any department within the state. Secretary of State, city court houses and health departments often have codes and regulations that need to be understood and followed by each employee, so there must be documentation proving employees are qualified to work under these rules and regulations. Many jobs also provide on the job training.

Getting the Job

Someone who wants to work for a state government facility must first determine what is necessary to qualify to work for the specific department they want to work in. High school graduates who are looking for a job in state government will typically need to complete a state administered exam to outline their credentials and help state government hiring agencies determine which direction is best for the student. Once the student decides what government department they want to work in, they can take further advancements and training courses to land a job in the field.

Other state government workers will need the proper education level to work in certain departments. Court house employees, secretary of state employees and health department workers will need to be licensed and certified in their specific field in order to get a job. Aside from these requirements, they will also have to take state administered exams to qualify to work as part of the state government.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

There is plenty of room for advancement in the state government industry. Once a worker of any level has some sort of experience working for a state government establishment, they have developed relevant experience working in the industry and have contacts to help them move up in the industry.

Many employees who wish to work in a specific field within the government start off doing office work such as secretarial and administrative duties in that department. This gives employees a feel for how the department is run and allows them to get their foot in the door. After some time working in an office, employees will advance their career by working as an intern or apprentice under a professional in the field, and then going on to take state tests to qualify to actually work in the field. Health workers often take specific training courses and then become certified through the state to work as a nurse or physician’s assistant in state health departments. The same goes for court room and law enforcement employees.

There is little overall growth expected in state government jobs through 2014. Most recent openings are occurring due to retirement or employees who wish to no longer be employed through the state.

Working Conditions and Environment

Working conditions are extremely variable for government employees. Many work indoors in an office type of setting, handling customers and paperwork. Others work in court rooms, doctor’s office settings, maintenance buildings, or out in the public if they work in law enforcement. There are countless numbers of state jobs, many are no different than working in a private doctor’s office or administrative office of any other business.
The main difference for a state government worker is that they work a stricter schedule with a set number of hours. Overtime is rare for most employees, and they also get all federal holidays off guaranteed. Many state government businesses are also closed on weekends due to budget cuts or spending limits, so workers will often only work during the week.

Salary and Benefits

State government workers are paid according to the General Schedule pay scale. This schedule assigns jobs a grade level according to difficulty, and each grade has a number of categories that are assigned to workers according to education levels and number of years working in the field. Someone with a high school diploma typically begins at level GS-2, making approximately $18,000 per year. Someone with a Bachelor’s degree in their field will typically begin at level GS-5, making between $24,000 and $30,000 per year. The highest level of state government work is level GS-15. Workers on this level make between $89,000 and $116,000 per year. The ability to move up in the general schedule pay scale depends on education level, experience working at the job, and supervisor reviews.

State government workers also receive full benefits packages including health insurance, vacation time and sick leave opportunities according to how long they have been employed with the state. Once an employee is in the system there is plenty of job security and room to advance in their department.

Where to Go for More Information

US Government
1800 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20405
(800) 333-4636

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
1625 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 429-1000

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service