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What Does It Take to Be a Public Servant?


Public servants perform a wide range of jobs. They answer 911 calls. They work to keep the water and air clean. They work for nonprofits. Some run for public office. Public service has its fair share of ups and downs, but the people who love it tend to stay for their entire careers.

Why? Working in the government sector offers rewards that many other types of jobs lack. A career serving the public is unique in many ways; a public servant fills a variety of roles, meets many challenges and encounters people from diverse backgrounds.

Government Employees Serve Everyone

No matter the sector of public service, a public servant's work has the potential to affect every citizen in the area. The knowledge that one person's work can impact many lives draws some to enter government. Some citizens lack an understanding of government services and how they function, and it is up to public servants to help inform and assist them with patience and skill, while being open and responsive to public input.

The primary directive of a public servant is to serve others, and within that objective, there is a possibility to be an agent of change by applying the problem-solving skills gained through the curriculum of a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. In an interview about her book, Solving Public Problems: A Practical Guide to Fix Our Government and Change Our World, Beth Simone Noveck speaks to her vision of an evolved role for those in the public sector: "I would like to see more mission-driven leaders who are agile, data driven, and human centered. I have a vision of civil servants as public entrepreneurs who are passionate about solving problems."

Steady Work and Mobility

Local governments are everywhere, from mountain towns and beaches to rural areas and more. If location is a priority, jobs in the public sector can offer flexibility. A common perception is that public service salaries are lower than average, but the facts tell a different story. For instance, some federal government jobs offer competitive pay, equivalent to that for positions in the private and nonprofit sectors.

Government jobs also offer advancement opportunities. Qualified candidates can often get ahead of the competition by seeking higher education. In fact, a Master of Public Administration degree gives candidates the knowledge and skills they need to devise solutions for a variety of real-world problems. For students who cannot leave a job to return to school, an online MPA program may be a practical choice. Reputable online programs mirror their on-campus equivalents. Moreover, they are tailored to the needs of distance learners, offering flexibility and accelerated completion times.

The drive to make a difference often leads to the pursuit of public service careers, whether your goal is to leverage existing resources to meet community needs or if you strive to be a visionary bringing about overarching change. With the variety of options available in government, dedicated professionals can enjoy a rewarding career serving their community, state or country.

Learn about the Arkansas State University online MPA program.



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