What are The Most Common Civil Servant Jobs? 

You might have heard the term “civil servant” before. But, you may not be sure of what it means. In general, this term encompasses a wide range of careers that work to benefit the general public — whether it be at a federal, state, or local level.  

In other words, individuals in civil service positions aim to protect, educate, and assist fellow citizens. They are professionals that work for the government (or a government agency) and whose wages stem from taxes.  

Today, there are over 9.9 million civil servants across the country that work in 170+ departments – such as the Ministry of Justice, Treasury, and Department for Work and Pensions. Hence, it is safe to say that there are plenty of jobs to choose from! 

The most common civil servant jobs include members of the Armed Forces, teachers, judges, social workers, police officers, firefighters, postal workers, registered nurses, civil engineers, and more.  

Below we will go over in-depth of what it means to be a civil servant in the United States.  


Civil Servant Jobs 

What are The Most Common Civil Servant Jobs? 

As we mentioned before, almost every imaginable profession can be carried out on behalf of the government. Hence, civil service offers a plethora of job career opportunities and positions. 

Nonetheless, some of the most common civil servant jobs include: 

Members of the Armed Forces

Any member of the United States Armed Forces (e.g., the U.S. Army, US Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, National Coast Guard.) is a civil servant. Their job is to serve the American people, to defend the Nation, to protect vital national interests, and to fulfill national military responsibilities.  

Military salaries are determined by the person’s rank and years of service. Thus, they can go anywhere from $19,198.80 per year to $186,998.40 per year.  


The typical duties of a firefighter include putting out fires, acting as first responders, rescuing victims from burning buildings and other emergencies, driving emergency vehicles, and providing public education on fire safety.  

Note that firefighters can often diversify their roles by becoming specialists within the organization. Some specialized areas include Urban Search and Rescue, Fire Investigation, Regulatory Fire Safety, Tactical Advisor Rescue, and many more.  

The average salary of a firefighter is $45,454 per year.  

Police Officers

The main duty of a police officer is to protect people and property. However, they also control traffic, patrol neighborhoods, respond to emergency calls, write citations, deliver warrants, and more.  

The average salary of a police officer nationwide is $53,561. 

Postal Workers

The USPS is a huge enterprise with a wide range of jobs. But, in general, postal workers are responsible for collecting letters and parcels, sorting mail, selling postal products, operating various types of postal equipment, distributing mail.  

The average postal mail carrier earns $53,848 per year. However, administrative jobs have considerably higher pay. The highest paying job within the USPS is ‘Financial Analyst,’ with a yearly income of $84,000.  


Teachers who practice at the public elementary, middle, and high schools are considered civil servants — primarily because their salary is paid by taxpayers. Plus, public school teachers must be licensed by a teachers’ education program regulated by the state.  

Overall, teachers are among the country’s most important civil servants as they are responsible for educating young citizens.  

The average salary for a public-school teacher is $58,230 per year. Nonetheless, depending on location, years of experience, and the level they teach, a teacher can make up to $95,270.  

Social Workers

A social worker serves the community by evaluating the needs of individuals who face serious issues. Often these issues might affect their well-being or the safety of those they care for (e.g., children, elderly). Hence, a social worker’s job is to decide the best course of action to ensure their welfare.  

Moreover, social workers generally tend to individuals who have problems caused by neglect, abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, and substance abuse. 

The average salary of a social worker is $57,579 per year. 


Judges implement the law to court cases and oversee the legal process in courts by hearing evidence, making decisions on motions, instructing juries, and making rulings. They also solve administrative disputes and aid negotiations between opposing parties.  

The average salary of a judge is $134,000 per year – making it one of the best-paying civil servant jobs in the United States.  

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses provide various services depending on their areas of expertise and where they work. But, in general, a registered nurse’s job description includes monitoring and reporting symptoms or changes in patient’s conditions, administering medication and treatment to patients, assisting doctors with their daily tasks, and performing diagnostic tests.  

The average salary of a registered nurse is $41,290 per year.  

Civil Engineers

A civil engineer creates engineering blueprints and documents to develop plans that improve any existing government operations. They also supervise construction sites, supply innovative solutions for safety/productivity problems, and enforce compliance with government regulations and standards. 

The average salary of a social worker is $80,928 per year.  

Keep in mind that there are many other jobs, including TSA Officer, librarians, public transportation drivers, public defenders, administrators, and more.  


Pros and Cons of being a Civil Servant  

What are The Most Common Civil Servant Jobs? 

Being a Civil Servant, like any other job, has its good and not-so-good things. Thus, if you are curious about pursuing a career in this sector, you take into consideration the following benefits and downsides: 

Let’s start with the advantages of becoming a civil servant: 

  1. Numerous Government Benefits

Most civil servant positions come with an extensive list of government benefits such as extended vacation days, a retirement fund, a good health plan (for you and your family), life insurance, flexible spending accounts, employee discounts, and more.  

  1. High Job Security

Know that almost all civil servant jobs fill a much-needed position within the community, state, or country. As a result, job security is very high —primarily if you are used to working in the private sector where jobs depend significantly on external factors. 

Additionally, civil service jobs have a tight adherence to labor laws. As a result, you do not have to worry about your payments being on time or having to fight over employment rights. 

  1. Nationwide Locations

As a public servant, the possibilities are endless when it comes to location. Given that there are positions at local, regional, and even national levels, you can find a job in your hometown or virtually anywhere in the country.  

But, as expected, there are also many downsides related to these kinds of jobs, such as: 

  1. Low Wages

Although there is plenty of room for promotions and growth, civil service roles are not high pay. Nonetheless, note that this is might be counterbalanced with other benefits.  

  1. High-Risk Jobs

Almost all civil servant roles, with a few exceptions, are very high-risk jobs that entail a great deal of responsibility. Policemen, firefighters, and other civil servants put their lives on the line every day to ensure the safety of others.  

  1. Low (or no) Control Over Your Work 

As a civil servant, you have no control over your work. Meaning that you have very clear objectives, goals, and key responsibilities. It is not like other jobs where can have a word of what gets (or doesn’t get done.) 

Given the level of responsibility these types of job demand, all major (and many minor) decisions go through strict approval processes and other bureaucratic practices. As a result, there is no place for individualism or creativity.  


Civil Servant Salaries What are The Most Common Civil Servant Jobs? 

Based on the information mentioned above, you now know that most civil servant jobs include low wages. But what does this mean? Well, in short, it means that most jobs offer an average of $24.62 per hour or up to $51,220 per year. Nonetheless, it is vital to note that salaries may differ based on location, role, and experience.  

Plus, elected officials, such as the president, governors, mayors, and senators (who are still considered public servants) make considerably more.  

The annual salary of a government official also depends on their position. However, it is not arbitrary. All government official wages are determined by the United States Code (a collection of all permanent federal statutes.) As a result, elected officials can earn between $193,400 to $400,000 per year. For instance, the president of the United States (which is the highest-payed position) makes roughly $90 an hour or $400,000 per year.  

Here is more about what civil servants earn: https://civilservicehq.com/this-is-how-much-civil-servants-earn-9-stats-and-examples/


Getting a Civil Servant Job 

Let’s start at the beginning! The first thing you need to know is that civil service employees have a direct impact on the country’s well-being. These jobs directly affect the country in terms of finance, education, law enforcement, and information. As a result, civil service positions tend to be very competitive and require an extensive hiring process.  

Furthermore, each government entity is responsible for its employment system and engages in different hiring practices. So, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to applying for a civil servant position.  

However, if you wish to become a civil servant, you can start by following these steps: 

  1. Search for available job offerings posted only on official websites (sites ending in .gov are your best option.) 
  2. Know the requirements of the position you are interested in pursuing 
  3. Complete a civil service application for employment  
  4. Sign up for any required testing 
  5. Pass the civil service exam (and any other obligatory evaluations) 
  6. Wait for a job interview 

It is also worth mentioning that there are usually two types of civil service job announcements:     

  • Continuous -administered periodically and are open to all applicants.
  • Open to State Employees - involve positions that are only available to current employees of the state. 

Thus, make sure you apply to the civil service position that best fits your profile.  

What are The Most Common Civil Servant Jobs? 

The Civil Service Exam 

The Civil Service Exam, also known as public tendering, is mainly used to screen candidates for state and federal government positions. Nonetheless, some local positions may also require you to take (and successfully pass) the test.  

As we mentioned before, depending on the position, you might encounter a different hiring process. Thus, the exam a firefighter is obliged to take might not be the same as the one a candidate for an administrative position might take. However, most civil service assessments consist 

of multiple-choice questions that measure your knowledge and abilities on a variety of subjects including: 

  • Language proficiency
  • Reading comprehension
  • Communication skills
  • Situational judgment skills
  • Logical reasoning
  • Math skills
  • Figural Reasoning
  • And more

Additionally, depending on the job, a civil service exam can include supplemental questionnaires that inquire about prior training, education, and employment— as well as personality assessments and psychological evaluations.  

Note that some public service roles could need additional evaluations to assess if a candidate has all the necessary skills for the job. For example, police academies, ask you to partake in various examinations where you demonstrate physical abilities (e.g., driving, weight lifting, shooting.) 


Related Questions

What are the aptitudes needed to be a civil servant?

Civil servant jobs encompass a wide range of careers and duties. Thus, depending on the position, you might need specific skills. Nonetheless, these types of job suit people who have the following abilities: 

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Outstanding communication skills
  • The capability to work both as part of a team and on an individual basis
  • A responsible attitude
  • Comfortable handling classified information responsibly
  • Great attention to detail
  • The capability to follow procedures
  • A systematic approach to work 

What is the difference between a public servant and a civil servant?

 The term “civil servant” and “public servant” are closely related, but they are not the same. There is a slight but relevant difference between the two. A “civil servant” is an individual who works at a local, state, or federal level for the U.S. government. And a “public servant” is an elected member of the government for public service (e.g., mayors, governors, president.)  

Thus, technically all public servants are civil servants. But, not all civil service positions qualify as “public service.”  

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To learn how to best prepare and study for your civil servant exam click here!

Interested to learn more about the civil service? Check out our free guide here: https://civilservicehq.com/ 

Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.