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Arkansas State University

Benefits in Public Service

Public service and administration jobs have long been rumored to come with “good benefits.”

In fact, it’s one of many reasons some people find the public sector attractive and seek jobs in it.

What Is the Public Sector?

Public sector employees are those who work for any local, state or federal government agency. These include teachers, law enforcement personnel, elected officials, IRS employees, postal workers and millions of other civil service employees in the United States. As of May 2021, the total number of people employed by local, state and federal government agencies was 21,668,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why Work for the Government?

Besides the intrinsic value that comes from working on behalf of citizens as a public servant, there are other benefits that attract people to that line of duty. They include the following:

  • Job security — Government jobs are not fully exempt from layoffs and job freezes, but there is generally long-term job stability in the industry. Many services offered by local, state and federal agencies are critical and ongoing, so there’s always a need to fill various types of openings. Someone who works as an urban planner, for example, would be in high demand during periods of population growth and would likely be responsible for planning new parks, schools, communities, infrastructure and the like.
  • Parental leave— According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. Their group health benefits must also continue during the leave. The FMLA law is standard in many private industry jobs as well. But some states — including Arkansas, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island — now offer some form of paid FMLA leave. New York’s paid family leave law is currently in effect.
  • Good benefits and pay— Government benefits, including health coverage, pensions, sick pay and vacation pay, tend to be competitive with — and far more comprehensive than — those offered by private companies. As far as pay, the average annual federal salary in 2017 was over $84,913, according to OPM. Some federal agencies may even pay for employees to get additional education, such as certifications or advanced degrees.

A Graduate Degree Can Be Helpful

Government employees, especially those with strong education and experience, also have solid opportunities for advancement. That’s where an online Master of Public Administration from Arkansas State can give you an advantage.

Students in A-State’s MPA online program gain critical, hands-on training through internships, as well as in-depth knowledge of politics, U.S. government, economic issues, grant writing, public policy analysis, and public budgeting and finance. The degree program also offers the right resources and guidance for government employees who may want to take what they have learned from the MPA program and apply it on the job to create, shape or even influence policies that make a difference. Or, depending on the government agency you work for, you can bring your policy ideas to the attention of those in higher positions.

A-State’s MPA program is completely online and accredited through the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). By taking two classes at a time, students can earn an MPA in as few as 18 months and come away from the program with the skills required for effective public administration. Each course in the 36-credit-hour program is seven weeks long. Register today and start your journey to a degree that can position you for success in the ideal government career.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online MPA program.


Houston Chronicle: What Is the Meaning of Public Sector Employment vs. Private?

United States Department of Labor: FMLA (Family & Medical Leave) Profile of Federal Civilian Non-Postal Employees

Governing: The State of Paid Parental Leave in the Public Sector

Congressional Research Service: Federal Workforce Statistics Sources: OPM and OMB

National Conference of State Legislatures: Paid Family Leave Resources

San Diego Union Tribune: Econometer: Is Working for the Federal Government a Good Job?

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