The Federal Government employs numerous staff members to run its myriad state and local government affairs. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the ratio of public service employees to the general US populace stood at 6.9% by the end of December 2012. To put that another way, the Federal government employed approximately 21,925 staff members for every 315,255 local residents.
While public jobs normally offer certain advantages such as job security, benefits, and opportunities for pay hikes and career advancement, certain public service jobs are quite lucrative in terms salary. They offer better wages in comparison to similar private sector jobs at the same skill level/grade. In 2011, the National Average Wage Index stood at $42, 976. Yet, some public service workers earn relatively higher pay than this including benefits. The following are six examples of such careers.
Public Transit Attendants
Public transit attendants are responsible for ensuring that passengers aboard city buses, subway trains, and other public means of transport travel in relative safety and comfort. Their job entails making passengers feel at ease, collecting fares, detailing the use of safety equipment, meal services, and travel advice. Public service attendants in large bustling cities earn quite decent wages. For instance, attendants and conductors in the District of Columbia earn approximately $42,730 annually. This is almost equal to the National Average Wage Index of the US.
Prison Medical Personnel
Medical personnel in US correctional facilities include doctors, psychiatrists, dentists, registered nurses, and surgeons. Since 2006, inmate healthcare in many US states is presided over by Federal appointed overseers. These overseers are responsible for improving inmate healthcare including setting the pay levels for prison medical staff. Consequently, local governments are facing huge wage bills from prison medical staff members due to the compensation claims, bonuses, and benefits that these independent federal receivers usually recommend.
Kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school teachers in the US earn quite decent salaries. Public school teachers are responsible for planning lessons, explaining concepts and information to students, assigning homework, creating tests, and grading papers and projects. Teaching comes with numerous challenges, but has rewarding compensation and opportunities for prospective career teachers. For instance, there were 4.5 million teaching jobs in 2008 in the US. The lowest paid teacher took home about $52,240 while the highest paid public school teacher earned about $60,000.
Firefighters are responsible for protecting the public against fire or other emergency disasters. They respond quickly to accidents, and are usually the first rescue personnel to arrive at most tragic scenes. In many US states, the median annual pay for a low ranking firefighter is about $45,250. Fire chiefs, sergeants, and superintendents earn even more with added benefits and bonuses from state coffers.
Local authorities employ numerous garbage collectors to manage waste in their cities. These workers collect trash from designated points, recycle specific waste materials, and dump the rest in landfills. Collecting trash is not a glamorous career, but it does offer decent pay for individuals with high school certificates only. Albeit average wages differ according to state, the median pay for garbage collectors is about $42,000 with New York refuse collectors earning about $50,000 annually.
State social workers assist patients to cope with terminal illnesses and other serious conditions from home. Clinical social workers can also diagnose and treat various mental and emotional conditions among patients. Specialized social workers who deal with patients suffering from certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s earn better wages than general social workers do. However, the annual median pay for these workers currently stands at approximately $42,480.
Overall, some professionals despise public service careers due to the presumed low stature of such jobs. However, Federal government jobs offer good remuneration, and a host of added benefits depending on the state and type of job held. Some government jobs have better wages compared to similar positions in the private sector. Six examples of well paying public service jobs include public transit attendants, prison medical personnel, state teachers, firefighters, refuse collectors, and state social workers.
Book Corner –
- Social Workers – How You Can Become An Invincible Social Worker: The Real Deal on Beating Burnout in Social Work
- Firefighters – The Aspiring Firefighter’s 2 Year Plan
- Teachers – So, You Want to Become a National Board Certified Teacher? A Handbook of Teacher Tips for Successfully Completing the NBPTS Certification, Revised, Expanded & Updated Edition
Scott Barrens is a blogger and writer who produces informative articles relating to careers and employment. In this article, he offers jobs in the public sector and aims to encourage further study with a Master of Arts in Public Policy.
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