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What are the Different Civil Service Jobs?

By Erin Oxendine
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Civil service jobs are positions held by civilians in a government agency. These jobs are available in many countries, and in the US, there are civil service employees in the local, state, and federal sectors.

Individuals interested in such jobs may first want to check the requirements for the civil service agency of their choice. Each of these agencies may have requirements specific to the department, and some require a particular level of education, merit tests, and background checks. Once the candidate has met the criteria for the chosen agency, then the applicant may have to pass a civil service exam.

There are many types of civil service positions. One example is a highway patrol officer, who does a variety of tasks, including watching for potential speeders and making sure drivers are obeying the law. Highway officers may also provide security for top ranking officials.

Police officers are also civilians, who protect and serve the community. Some of the duties an officer may perform include enforcing safety rules, monitoring traffic, and reporting stolen vehicles. Officers may also watch closely to check for potential criminal activity.

The division of motor vehicles also employs people in civil service jobs. These employees typically administer driving tests, motor vehicle checks, and licenses. Workers may register tags and titles for automobiles.

Another department that has civilian jobs is the veterans administration. This department has hospitals that employ civil servants as nurses and doctors to assist with their medical needs. Civilians may also be hired on the clerical staff to keep track of the veteran's records.

A public defender is another type of civil service position. The court system often employs public defenders, also known as public attorneys, to defend a person who may have been accused of a crime. The public defender can represent this person in legal matters if needed.

There are interesting civil service jobs in the foreign services. A civil servant may find himself working in domestic or international security. There are also foreign service positions in the legal and administrative fields.

Many of these jobs are highly sought after by job seekers. Civil service careers usually are known to offer steady job security along with competitive salaries and benefits. A career as a civil servant can provide some people with a rewarding and fulfilling job.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon972989 — On Oct 07, 2014

My wife works at the department of motor vehicles as a supervisor and gets no benefits and $10 an hour. It's not about the money. The average cop in this area makes $32,000 per year. It's definitely not about the money and not what everyone thinks.

By gravois — On Jul 02, 2011

Growing up I had a good friend whose dad had worked for the FAA all his career. He was one of those good natured civil servants who had not grown bitter with bureaucratic processes and government headaches.

One night I was sitting around with him and his daughter and he gave a powerful speech about the value of public service. I was about 13 at the time and it had a powerful effect. He put it very succinctly, either you can work for your own gain or you can work for the gain of society. That is what is fundamentally good about public service, it is unselfish.

That has always stayed with me and I am now pursuing a career in public service. Hopefully my small labors can slowly make the world a better place.

By Viktor13 — On Jul 01, 2011

You guys are right about the process taking a long time, particularly with law enforcement and fire jobs because of the background check.

Federal jobs are pretty bad too, and a lot of them have a background requirement as well.

On the bright side, once you get in there you have one of the most secure jobs around these days. The pay's not half bad and the benefits are really good.

One thing to think about is that you are often allowed, or even required, to retire pretty young, and many of those positions still have a pension. I would not want to have to trust a private company pension to be around in 30 years when I need it, but the government can always get more money (unfortunately they get it from us).

By MaPa — On Jun 30, 2011

@strawCake - You are right about the application process taking forever. I am a Deputy Sheriff, and it took more than a year for my hiring process, with most of that time spent waiting. They have the initial hiring period, then all of the different tests, then some interviews of people who have made it that far, then they build a list of people who make it through those steps.

The real fun for a police job comes when your number comes up on the list, because then you have to go through a bunch more interviews and a massive background check.

The trick is to do everything you need to do and then forget about it and go on with life. Right about the time you completely lose interest, they'll call.

By parkthekarma — On Jun 30, 2011

@idemnifyme - I always thought they were grouchy pretty much because they can be. It seems that is nearly impossible to fire someone from a civil service job once they have some seniority.

The DMV where I live isn't too bad, because the Secretary of State is an elected position in my state, and the last one ran on a customer service platform. It is actually pretty efficient, and they have it set up so you can do a lot by mail or online too.

By indemnifyme — On Jun 29, 2011

@strawCake - State civil service jobs do sound pretty great. So I wonder why the people at my local motor vehicle association are always so grouchy? They're probably getting paid a decent salary and have great benefits! I just don't get it.

By strawCake — On Jun 29, 2011

A good friend of mine works for Social Services. He gets paid very well, has excellen benefits, and really likes his job.

The only thing about government civil service jobs is that the appplication process pretty much takes forever. I remember it being months from the time my friend applied to when he had his interview. Then it took awhile after that to get a second interview and then get hired.

So I guess my advice to anyone applying for these jobs would be to be patient and don't give up if you don't hear from them right away.

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