Public Service Jobs that Pay Well

Jan 18, 2020

Public service careers involve providing a service to people, such as helping in an emergency or ensuring that people have power in their homes. Read on to learn about the salaries, job outlook, job descriptions and more for six public service career options that pay well.

Career Options for Public Service Jobs that Pay Well

Careers in public service involve working on behalf of the public by ensuring that services are available in order to meet people's needs. Public service workers may work for the government or public agencies, or they may work for companies or organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are a number of public service occupations that pay median salaries over $48,000 per year, compared to the median salary of $37,040 for all occupations.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Medical and Health Services Managers $99,730 18%
Urban and Regional Planners $73,050 11%
Power Plant Operators, Distributors and Dispatchers $83,020 -6%
Firefighters $49,620 5%
Civil Engineers $86,640 6%
Health Educators $54,220 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Public Service Jobs that Pay Well

Medical and Health Services Managers

Although a bachelor's degree may be sufficient to enter this field, a master's degree may increase job prospects for aspiring medical and health services managers. These health care managers ensure that medical facilities operate efficiently and effectively. They determine budgets, hire staff and maintain the facility's records. While some oversee nursing homes, other medical and health services managers oversee hospital operations or public health facilities and are responsible for ensuring that community members receive professional health care services.

Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners contribute to the physical development of communities. They determine where structures can be built, set aside land for recreational use and make sure that environmental regulations are followed so that the safety of community members is not jeopardized through construction projects or the location of factories. There are a few areas planners can specialize in, such as transportation, economic development, and environment and natural resources. Urban and regional planners must have a master's degree specifically in urban and regional planning.

Power Plant Operators, Distributors and Dispatchers

On-the-job training is required to work as a power plant operator, distributor or dispatcher; postsecondary training that leads to a certificate, diploma or associate's degree may be an asset to those pursuing work in this field. These professionals work to ensure that electricity is produced safely and that it is transferred safely to customers. Different types of fuel are used at different power plants, so employees may work with nuclear material, coal or natural gas. Operators are in charge of the reactors and machinery that turn fuel into electricity, while distributors and dispatchers manage the delivery of the produced electricity to consumers.


Firefighters respond to emergencies; they may use equipment to prevent a fire from spreading or they may provide medical treatment to people who have been injured. They perform a vital public service by responding to situations such as structural fires, car accidents and workplace accidents. They also help educate the public about ways to prevent fires and safety features that can help in the event of a fire, such as sprinklers and fire extinguishers. Those with a high school diploma or GED can obtain emergency medical technician (EMT) certification, complete academy training and pass tests to become a firefighter.

Civil Engineers

With a bachelor's degree, it's possible to start a career as a civil engineer. Civil engineers are responsible for designing the infrastructure needed in communities. Airports, bridges, dams, water and sewage systems, roads and buildings are all common examples of structures brought to life by civil engineers. They must make sure that the structures will be safe, and they are involved through all stages of planning, from determining the costs to repairing and maintaining structures after they've been in use.

Health Educators

Health educators work with people in their communities and other health professionals. They may create programs designed to inform the public about specific health risks or issues. Health educators also work with people who have health problems and help them learn how to cope with their health issues; for example, they may help someone diagnosed with diabetes develop a meal plan to manage their blood sugar levels. In some cases, they may help people who need medical care find a doctor or other medical professional. Health educators must have a bachelor's degree in the subject, though a graduate degree may be required by some employers.

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