Entry-level government jobs exist at the local, state and federal level. The requirements for each government job mirrors that of the private sector, but thousands of positions similar to the private sector are found in the government. The federal government is the largest employer in the United States with more than 2 million employees holding different positions in the government. The 50 states and an estimated 87,500 local governments as of 2007 open many opportunities for a government career for the entry-level job seeker.
The local government employs twice as many workers as the state government. Entry-level positions in local government include transportation jobs, public safety, healthcare and educational services. Seven out of 10 government jobs found within a state are held by local government employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Local clerks, police officers, bus drivers and maintenance personnel are all entry-level jobs in the local government. Most of these jobs do not require a college degree, but some entry-level jobs, such as police officer, require training through the department or agency.
State entry-level jobs are open to every qualified state resident. Computer specialists, secretaries, service employees, state court personnel and nearly every other occupation is found at the state level. Entry-level positions in the state government require a person to pass an examination or eligibility check to ensure the individual is qualified to hold the position. Open entry-level jobs are found on the state's official website, along with the applications, job descriptions and requirements.
The federal government provides services to state and local governments as well as United States citizens. More than 140 agencies exist in the federal government, all of which have entry-level positions. The armed forces, customs, federal courts, political offices, agencies and other federal government facilities and organizations are open to entry-level job seekers. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has the largest list of federal government entry-level positions. Some federal agencies that have the authority to hire personnel directly will advertise those positions in local newspapers or on the agency's official website.
BLS projects that local and state government jobs will increase by eight percent until 2018. The projection is lower than the expected growth for these same positions in the private sector which is 11 percent. Salaries for local and state government employees range from $44,928 to $94,992 a year as of 2008. Federal government entry-level positions are expected to grow more than 10 percent over the same time period. The largest federal job growth is for specialized workers such as research personnel, security employees and public health workers. Federal employees are paid by a grading level called the General Schedule. Grades one through 15 exist with entry-level positions holding the lowest grade level for each position. Federal entry-level employees are expected to make between $17,540 to $98,156 a year, depending on the grade level hired in under.