Where the Jobs Are: Opportunities in the Federal Government

Last fall, the Partnership for Public Service conducted a survey to assess projected hiring needs for agencies within the federal government. The survey Exit Disclaimer found that nearly 273,000 jobs will be available in the federal government through 2012, and of these, 54,114–a full 20% of all positions–fall into the medical, public health, and general health sciences category. These numbers are only projections and will be impacted by the actual number of federal employees who retire in the next few years, but the federal government will still post a significant number of job openings from 2010-2012.

Following are a few of the federal positions currently available. I list these particular jobs to highlight not only the broad range of positions available within the government, but also the diversity of agencies seeking candidates with scientific, medical, or public health educational and experiential backgrounds:

  • Health Education Specialist, Atlanta, GA (National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention)
  • Epidemiologist, Cairo, Egypt (National Center for Infectious Disease)
  • Pharmacy Residency Program, Indian reservations across the U.S. (Indian Health Services)
  • Chemist, various U.S. locations (Customs and Border Protection)
  • Biological Science Summer Internship, throughout the U.S. (Department of the Navy)
  • Foreign Service Engineering Officer, vacancies throughout the world (U.S. Agency for International Development)
  • Environmental Education Specialist, Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, Kotzebue, Alaska (Department of the Interior)

If you are interested in exploring a career with the federal government, consider these tips from the Partnership for Public Service Exit Disclaimer:

1. Start at USAJOBS.gov to explore current job openings, but also check the job pages of agencies that interest you, as each government agency does its own hiring.

2. Identify a job of interest and read through the job announcement carefully.

3. Follow the application instructions closely.

Most federal jobs will require you to respond to a series of Knowledge, Skills and Abilities questions known as KSAs. Your answers to these questions are very important, as they may distinguish your application from others and move you forward in the hiring process. For assistance with writing your KSAs, visit the following two sites from MakingTheDifference.org:

4. Be patient, as the federal application process can take much longer than the application process in the private sector. However, it is possible to follow up with an agency if you need to make a decision. Use the agency contact listed in the job posting to get in touch.

If you are still not convinced that federal employment is for you, check out the Top 10 Reasons to Work for Government Exit Disclaimer. As MakingTheDifference.org puts it: It’s not just making a living, it’s making the difference.

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