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Careers in the Federal Government Handbook

Careers in Government Pace University Career Services TYPES OF INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN GOVERNMENT

On December 27, 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order, “Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates.” This Executive Order establishes a Pathways Programs framework with 3 clear excepted-service program paths tailored to recruit, hire, develop, and retain students and recent graduates. The 3 program paths included in its framework are: an Internship Program, a Recent Graduates Program, and a reinvigorated Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. Also the Federal Career Internship Program (FCIP) has been eliminated, effective March of 2011

 Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP): Traditional summer internship typically paid and available to any student enrolled in college. This program will be phased out in early 2012.  Internship Program: The Internship Program will replace the existing Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), and is targeted towards students enrolled in a wide variety of different types of educational institutions, with paid opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school. This program should be ready in early 2012.  Recent Graduates Program: This brand new program will target recent graduates who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs. To be eligible, applicants must apply within 2 years of degree completion (except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who will have six years after degree completion). Successful applicants will be placed in a 2-year career development program with a cohort of peers hired during time frames aligned with academic calendars.  Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF): President Obama’s Executive Order expands the eligibility window for applicants, making it more “student friendly” by aligning it with academic calendars and including those who have received a qualifying advanced degree within the preceding 2 years. It also directs OPM to set eligibility requirements and minimum qualification standards, and to make changes in order to make the PMF experience more robust and substantive for participants. NOTE: While the Executive Order creates these programs, they will not be operational until OPM promulgates new regulations to implement them. Regulations will be released toward the end of 2011, the current student hiring will be in effect until then (STEP, SCEP)

CONNECTING PACE UNIVERSITY’S STUDENTS TO CAREERS IN GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING Accountants oversee the day-to-day operations of bookkeeping, balance the financial record books, track expenses and revenue, process payroll and pay the bills.

research, compile and tabulate inventory data, such as, population reproductive performance, food habits, prey densities, and habitat distribution; conduct field surveys for federally listed wildlife species; conduct monitoring of known sites to ascertain site occupation and reproductive success. They also interpret aerial photos and topographic maps to determine land use, vegetation distribution and to plot herd breeding sites.

Auditors provide accounting and financial advisory services for contracts and subcontracts including assignments that involve the systematic examination and appraisal of financial records, reports, management Chemical/Environmental Engineers perform controls, policies, and practices affecting or reflecting the professional engineering work in the research, financial condition and operations. development, design, operation, evaluation, and Internal Revenue Agents serve as an advisor with expert improvement of chemical processes, plants, equipment, skill in accounting, tax law and related matters, with methods, or products; involving changes in the chemical expert skill in data processing systems. In addition, agents composition or physical state of materials and requires act as expert technical advisor and information specialist application of the principles and practices of chemical keeping systems and document imaging technology for engineering, chemistry, and related scientific and litigation. They may also provide accounting advice and engineering disciplines. computer technology assistance.


Budget Analysts provide management to assure smooth daily operations of the fields of human resources, business support, customer service, sales and marketing. They review financial commitment and obligation documents for validity and accuracy; determine correct fiscal year; and record/obligate all transactions and of payment, reimbursement or adjustment. Analysts also monitor and adjust account balances to reflect changing priorities, allowance adjustments, cost transfers in or out, and reimbursements; assist analysts in identifying overall allowance requirements; monitor status of transactions and reconcile discrepancies.

Exhibits Specialists perform the day-to-day acquisitioning, cataloging, handling of incoming and outgoing material, cleaning, repairing, marking and storing of specimens and locating stored material. They classify the cataloged property received in museums, write information pamphlets to accompany historic objects for use outside museum, organize and maintain documents, files, and records associated with the cataloging, loan, shipping, inventory and storage pursuant to the care, custody and control of historically significant property. Specialist also perform exhibit design and construction work. Trade Specialists promote U.S. competitiveness in Illustrators use drawing and artistic skills to create domestic and international markets through analytic work advertisements to sell products and help businesses make addressing critical trade policy issues on international levels. They create market access through policy advocacy a profit or create floor plans as an interior designer. and the support of trade negotiations. Specialists also Photographers capture important historical events or ensure appropriate industry and other stakeholder input into domestic and trade policy development, negotiations organize exhibits in a museum. and implementation. BIOLOGY/CHEMISTRY General Biological Scientists research organisms, cells, plants and human beings on various levels, study processes in nature, care for animals and the environment, including marine life. Biological Aids/Technicians


historical and projected program operations and for proposed program changes. In their role, they analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits. Actuaries may ascertain premium rates required and cash reserves necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.

Communication Specialists assist in the execution of advertising, promotional, and public affairs activities. Coordinates and implements sales promotion activities. In addition, they schedule assets, bands and ceremonial units; manage aspects of the recruiting program and coordinates details for participation in conventions and science and engineering fairs. Other duties in the field of communications include: writing, designing, editing, Economists study the buying and selling aspects and publishing newspapers, newsletters and other of countries, businesses or local markets and make informational products. predictions based on trends, formulas and collected information. Further, they develop economic guidelines Printing Specialists set up or operate various types of and policies. printing machines, such as offset, letterset, intaglio, or gravure presses or screen printers to produce print on ENGLISH paper or other materials. Writers and Editors produce a wide variety of written COUNSELING/PSYCHOLOGY materials delivered to an audience in an increasing number of ways. They develop content using any number Social Service Aides and Psychologists provide of multimedia formats for readers, listeners, or viewers counseling and adjustment support to those people in including: develop concepts for books, articles and transition (after an injury, address spiritual needs, career grant proposals. In addition, they read, review and edit and lifestyle development). They work with individuals, documents such as press releases, journals, government families, organizations, units, etc. to provide mental publications, reports and mass communications. health support. Although many people write as part of their primary job, CRIMINAL JUSTICE or on on-line chats or blogs, only writers and editors who Criminal Program Specialists gather and analyze are paid for their work are included in this occupation. various types of data from Federal, State, local, and public agencies. They establish working relationships with court personnel and personnel from other law enforcement agencies. In addition, they monitor, evaluate and coordinate a variety of warrants, such as: escaped federal prisoners; parole and probation; bond default; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Internal Revenue Service; Secret Service; United States Postal Service; Department of Homeland Security and Department of State Warrants. Police Officers maintain law and order; protect life, property and the civil rights of individuals by enforcing federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, rules and/or regulations; including traffic. ECONOMICS Actuaries develop program rates; prepare cost estimates; conduct and evaluate surveys; direct studies on prices, utilization, and costs. They prepare support material programs for each stage of the budget cycle. In addition, develop estimation methodologies and models for

Technical Writers write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. They may assist in layout work or organize material and complete writing assignments accordingly to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology. Additional, job responsibilities may include maintaining records and files of work and revisions; editing, standardizing, or making changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel. They may confer with customer representatives, vendors, plant executives, or publisher to establish technical specifications and to determine subject material to be developed for publication. Writers also review published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope, format, content, and methods of reproduction and binding. They select photographs, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and charts to illustrate material. In addition, they study drawings, specifications, mockups, and product samples to integrate and delineate technology, operating procedure, and production sequence and detail. Technical duties may also include: interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES Environmental Protection Assistants research, study and promote ways to use natural resources in efficient ways. In their role, they: maintain, conserve and protect wildlife including plants, animals and biological systems. FINANCE Financial Analysts help people decide how to invest their money. They work for banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, and securities firms. They often meet with company officials to learn more about the firms in which they want to invest. After the meetings, the analysts write reports and give talks about what they found. Then, they suggest buying or selling that firm’s stock. Tax Examiners do similar work whether they are employed at the Federal, State, or local government level. They review filed tax returns for accuracy and determine whether tax credits and deductions are allowed by law. Because many states assess individual income taxes based on the taxpayer’s reported Federal adjusted gross income, tax examiners working for the Federal Government report any adjustments or corrections they make to the states. State Tax Examiners determine whether the adjustments affect the taxpayer’s State tax liability. At the local level, Tax Examiners often have additional duties, but an integral part of the work includes the need to determine the factual basis for claims for refunds.

and preserved plants and animals, and historic objects, including, for example, turn-of-the-century immigration records, buildings, and sites. Museum Curators administer museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, nature centers, and historic sites. The head curator of the museum is usually called the museum director. Curators direct the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections, including negotiating and authorizing the purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections. They are also responsible for authenticating, evaluating, and categorizing the specimens in a collection. Curators oversee and help conduct the institution’s research projects and related educational programs. Today, an increasing part of a curator’s duties involves fundraising and promotion, which may include the writing and reviewing of grant proposals, journal articles, and publicity materials, as well as attendance at meetings, conventions, and civic events. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Computer Specialists help people use computers. When something goes wrong, support specialists figure out why. Then, they try to fix it. Many support specialists answer questions over the phone or by e-mail. Others also help people face-to-face. To answer a problem over the phone, the specialist takes the person through the necessary steps to fix the problem using their own computer. Computer support specialists also install printers, software, and other computer tools. Then, they teach people how to use them. Sometimes, they write instruction books. Some FOREIGN LANGUAGE specialists check computer systems every day to make Border Patrol Agents investigate and inspect persons, sure they are working well. To be successful in this job, common carriers, goods, and merchandise, arriving in workers need to be good listeners and good at solving or departing from the United States or between states to problems. detect violations of immigration and customs laws and Computer Programmers write, test, and maintain the regulations. detailed instructions, called programs that computers Equal Employment Opportunity Specialists monitor follow to perform their functions. Programmers also and evaluate compliance with equal opportunity laws, conceive, design, and test logical structures for solving guidelines, and policies to ensure that employment problems by computer. With the help of other computer practices and contracting arrangements give equal specialists, they figure out which instructions to use to opportunity without regard to race, religion, color, make computers do specific tasks. national origin, sex, age, or disability. HISTORY Archive Technicians work for museums, governments, zoos, colleges and universities, corporations, and other institutions that require experts to preserve important records and artifacts. These workers preserve important objects and documents, including works of art, transcripts of meetings, photographs, coins and stamps, living

LIBERAL ARTS/HUMANITIES Management Analysts conduct organizational studies and evaluations, design systems and procedures, conduct work simplifications and measurement studies, and prepare operations and procedures manuals to assist management in operating more efficiently and effectively. Includes program analysts and management consultants.

Insurance Claim Examiners obtain information from insured or designated persons for purpose of settling claim with insurance carrier. Review insurance policy to determine coverage. Prepare insurance claim forms and related documents and review them for completeness. Provide customer service, such as limited instructions on proceeding with claims or referrals to auto repair facilities or local contractors. Organize and work with detailed office or warehouse records, using computers to enter, access, search and retrieve data. Post or attach information to claim file. Pay small claims. Transmit claims for payment or further investigation. Contact insured or other involved persons to obtain missing information. Calculate amount of claim. Apply insurance rating systems. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS Computer Software Engineers research, design, develop, and test operating systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software for medical, industrial, military, communications, aerospace, business, scientific, and general computing applications. Set operational specifications and formulate and analyze software requirements. Apply principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis. Operations Research Analysts formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods using a computer to develop and interpret information that assists management with decision making, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May develop related software, service, or products. Frequently concentrates on collecting and analyzing data and developing decision support software. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation. MANAGEMENT Administrative Services Managers coordinate and direct the many support services that allow organizations to operate efficiently. They perform a broad range of duties. They might, for example, oversee secretarial and reception services, administration, payroll, conference planning and travel, information and data processing, mail, materials scheduling and distribution, printing and reproduction, records management, telecommunications management, security, parking, energy consumption, and personal property procurement, supply, recycling, and disposal. They manage support services for organizations as diverse as insurance companies, computer manufacturers, and government offices.

Labor Relations Managers and their staffs implement industrial labor relations programs. Labor relations specialists prepare information for management to use during collective bargaining agreement negotiations, a process that requires the specialist to be familiar with economic and wage data and to have extensive knowledge of labor law and collective bargaining trends. The labor relations staff interprets and administers the contract with respect to grievances, wages and salaries, employee welfare, health care, pensions, union and management practices, and other contractual stipulations. As union membership continues to decline in most industries, industrial relations personnel are working more often with employees who are not members of a labor union.

MARKETING Advertising Managers oversee advertising and promotion staffs, which usually are small, except in the largest firms. In a small firm, managers may serve as liaisons between the firm and the advertising or promotion agency to which many advertising or promotional functions are contracted out. In larger firms, advertising managers oversee in-house account, creative, and media services departments. The account executive manages the account services department, assesses the need for advertising and, in advertising agencies, maintains the accounts of clients. The creative services department develops the subject matter and presentation of advertising. The creative director oversees the copy chief, art director, and associated staff. The media director oversees planning groups that select the communication media—for example, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, or outdoor signs—to disseminate the advertising. Promotions Managers supervise staffs of promotions specialists. These managers direct promotions programs that combine advertising with purchase incentives to increase sales. In an effort to establish closer contact with purchasers—dealers, distributors, or consumers— promotions programs may use direct mail, telemarketing, television or radio advertising, catalogs, exhibits, inserts in newspapers, Internet ads or Web sites, in-store displays or product endorsements, and special events. Purchasing incentives may include discounts, samples, gifts, rebates, coupons, sweepstakes, and contests.

SOCIOLOGY POLITICAL SCIENCE/GOVERNMENT Budget Analysts work in private industry, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector. In private sector firms, a budget analyst’s main responsibility is to examine the budget and seek new ways to improve efficiency and increase profits. In nonprofit and governmental organizations, which usually are not concerned with profits, analysts try to find the most efficient way to distribute funds and other resources among various departments and programs. Social Science Research Assistants assist social scientists in laboratory, survey, and other social research. May perform publication activities, laboratory analysis, quality control, or data management. Normally these individuals work under the direct supervision of a social scientist and assist in routine activities. PSYCHOLOGY Psychologists study the human mind and human behavior. Research psychologists investigate the physical, cognitive, emotional, or social aspects of human behavior. Psychologists in health service fields provide mental health care in hospitals, clinics, schools, or private settings. Psychologists employed in applied settings, such as business, industry, government, or nonprofit organizations, provide training, conduct research, design organizational systems, and act as advocates for psychology. Employee Assistance Plan Managers, also called Employee Welfare Managers, are responsible for a wide array of programs. These include occupational safety and health standards and practices; health promotion and physical fitness, medical examinations, and minor health treatment, such as first aid; plant security; publications; food service and recreation activities; carpooling and transportation programs, such as transit subsidies; employee suggestion systems; child care and elder care; and counseling services. Child care and elder care are increasingly significant because of growth in the number of dual-income households and the elderly population. Counseling may help employees deal with emotional disorders, alcoholism, or marital, family, consumer, legal, and financial problems. Some employers offer career counseling as well. In large firms, certain programs, such as those dealing with security and safety, may be in separate departments headed by other managers.

Anthropologists study the origin and the physical, social, and cultural development and behavior of humans. They may examine the way of life, archaeological remains, language, or physical characteristics of people in various parts of the world. Some compare the customs, values, and social patterns of different cultures. Anthropologists usually concentrate in Sociocultural anthropology, linguistics, biophysical, or physical anthropology. Sociocultural Anthropologists study the customs, cultures, and social lives of groups in settings that range from unindustrialized societies to modern urban centers. Linguistic anthropologists investigate the role of, and changes to, language over time in various cultures. Biophysical anthropologists research the evolution of the human body, look for the earliest evidences of human life, and analyze how culture and biology influence one another. Political Scientists study the origin, development, and operation of political systems and public policy. They conduct research on a wide range of subjects, such as relations between the United States and other countries, the institutions and political life of nations, the politics of small towns or major metropolises, and the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. Studying topics such as public opinion, political decision making, ideology, and public policy, they analyze the structure and operation of governments, as well as various political entities. Depending on the topic, a political scientist might conduct a public-opinion survey, analyze election results or public documents, or interview public officials. Geographers analyze distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, and global scales. Economic geographers study the distribution of resources and economic activities. Political geographers are concerned with the relationship of geography to political phenomena, and cultural geographers study the geography of cultural phenomena. Physical geographers examine variations in climate, vegetation, soil, and landforms and their implications for human activity. Urban and transportation geographers study cities and metropolitan areas. Regional geographers study the physical, economic, political, and cultural characteristics of regions ranging in size from a congressional district to entire continents. Medical geographers investigate health care delivery systems, epidemiology (the study of the causes and control of epidemics), and the effect of the environment on health.

THE INTERVIEW/HIRING PROCESS  Every agency has different hiring practices  Essay-style questions (KSA essays) have been eliminated, allowing applicants to rely on résumés and cover letters or complete simple, straightforward applications  There is an 80 day hiring model from posting to offer; which will include notifying applicants on USAJOBS Web site at key stages of the application process  Preference may be given based on veteran status, law enforcement or interagency experience  Once an applicant receives a job offer a basic background check of the individual’s criminal and credit histories is performed  A more extensive clearance investigation takes place after the offer has been made. About 90% of background investigations are undertaken by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

INTERNET RESOURCES  Student centered website with information on federal opportunities  Federal employee database  See which agencies have job openings in your area  Wide range of employment opportunities for students within the federal government, whether in high school, college or grad school!  Use the directory of Agency Contacts and talk to Call to Serve member agencies through Partnership Connect  Teaches students how to navigate the federal hiring process and allows you to make presentations to others  Contact your region’s Federal Executive Board to ask for agencies in your area  More information about hiring reform  Partnership for Public Service website  Reviews and ranks the best places to work in the federal government  Learn more about federal reform  Partnership for Public Service Facebook Fan Page Career descriptions gathered from  Bureau of Labor Statistics-Occupational Outlook Handbook  Online occupational network database



The “Political Science major” myth


The “Washington” myth


The “low pay” myth

There are many careers that match a variety of undergraduate majors. Federal agencies do not just need Social Sciences majors. In fact, some of the highest need areas are public health and medicine, engineering, the sciences, business and accounting and information technology.

Jobs are not just located in Washington D.C. In fact, 84% of federal jobs are OUTSIDE of the D.C. metro region, with 50,000 jobs abroad!

Entry level salaries are competitive with many industries. Plus, Federal employees advance quickly with the possibility of increasing their salary by 150 percent in just 2-3 years! Job security, work/life balance and additional financial benefits such as assistance with loan repayment are a plus as well!


Atlanta Chicago Dallas NYC San Fran. D.C.


$32,039 $33,639 $32,418 $34,582 $36,309 $33,269


$39,687 $41,669 $40,156 $42,837 $44,976 $41,210


$48,545 $50,969 $49,118 $52,398 $55,015 $50,408


$58,734 $61,667 $59,428 $63,397 $66,562 $60,989

The federal government utilizes the General Schedule (GS) pay scale and Banded Systems to determine salary. Grade GS-4 GS-5 GS-7

Qualifying Education Associate’s or 2 years above high school Bachelor’s degree or 4 years above high school Bachelor’s degree with either: upper third of class standing, 3.0 GPA; 3.5 GPA in major, honor society membership GS-9 Master’s degree (or equivalent) **GS-5 and GS-7 are considered “entry level”**


The “bureaucracy” myth

Young federal employees get to work on substantive issues that affect the future of our country. For students who want to make a difference, the federal government is arguably the best place to contribute!

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Careers in Federal Government Handbook  

Pace University Career Services Careers in Federal Government Handbook

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