Public Service Fields

Sample Employers and Professional Development Opportunities

Want to learn more about career fields connected to public policy and public administration? Use these guides to get a quick overview, explore potential employers and find additional resources for getting your foot in the door.

Sample Employers

Professional Resources

Congressional employment on the Hill refers to positions available in congressional offices, committees, or subcommittees. Job functions include legislative and policy research, bill drafting, constituent and representative relations, and congressional liaison. 

Career Paths 

Each office has their own pay scale, review the Legistorm website for specific salaries. Typically, Senate positions have higher salaries.

  • Intern: Administrative tasks including handling constituent requests, letter writing and tours. 
  • Legislative Correspondent (LC): Drafts responses to inquiries and handles a range of constituent requests/concerns on legislation and national policy.
  • Legislative Assistant (LA): Briefs the Member on a number of issue areas, helps draft legislation, writes position papers and addresses constituent inquiries.
  • Press Secretary/Communications Director: Acts as the key link between the Member of Congress and the media; directs publicity by issuing press releases, media, and speeches.
  • Legislative Director (LD): Heads the legislative staff, updates the Member on the status of bills in Congress, and maintains close contact with a number of constituencies, including other Hill staffers and lobbyists.
  • Chief of Staff: Oversees the operation of the entire office, both in Washington and in the Senator’s or Representative’s home state/district. Individuals in this position generally have at least 10 years of experience working in Congress.
  • Committee Staff: Organizes hearings, writes bills and function as Congress’ experts on specific policy areas.

Sample Employers

Membership Organizations & Professional Resources

Sample Employers

Sample Employers: Federal government

In addition to the environmentally focused agencies listed here, nearly every agency has an environmental division. Congress and the Executive Office of the President have opportunities with environmental policy such as House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Membership Organizations & Professional Resources

The executive branch is the largest of the three federal government branches and is composed of the Office of the President, the 14 executive departments and over 90 independent agencies, employing 98 percent of all federal workers. While most hiring is centralized through usajobs.gov, some excepted service agencies do not have to post on usajobs.gov.

Federal employment is general not as affected by cyclical fluctuations in the economy as other sectors, but political changes can influence staffing levels.

After an election is an opportune time to search for positions. Hiring also increases at the end of September – the end of the government’s fiscal year.

Salary Information

Salaries vary based on level of experience, education, and complexity of the position. There are 8 pay systems, the most common being the General Schedule (GS). General Schedule has geographic variances. OPM publishes Locality Pay Tables on its website. Jobs are ranked according to level of responsibility and difficulty, and are assigned corresponding “grades.”

Average starting salary with a master’s degree: $54K (GS-9)

Membership Organizations & Additional Resources

Trachtenberg School International Development Career Guide: Guide with key insights, organization types, employment areas and course recommendations (PDF)

Sample Employers: International Organizations

Sample Employers: Bilateral or Govt. Agencies

Sample Employers: Private Voluntary Organizations

Sample Employers: For-Profit International Development Firms

Professional Resources

Sample Employers: Federal/Local Government

Sample Employers: Nonprofits/Think Tanks/Research Centers

Sample Employers

Membership Organizations & Additional Resources

 

Think Tanks with DC Offices

Membership Organizations and Professional Resources