Fifteen Cabinet departments and more than 100 independent agencies comprise the federal system. These departments and agencies have offices in all corners of the world and employ over 2,097,881 workers, not counting 634,366 postal employees. The size of each agency varies considerably. The larger the agency, the more diverse the opportunities.
Agencies, like corporations, have a headquarters office, typically located in Washington D.C., regional offices located throughout the country, with many satellite offices to provide public services and to perform agency functions. For example, the Social Security Administration has offices nationwide to administer their programs.
WHERE TO LOOK
Expand your area of consideration. Jobs can be found in all parts of the country and overseas — even in places you couldn’t imagine. Don’t exclude any location regardless of size. I was initially hired by the FAA to work at Philipsburg, a small town in central Pennsylvania with a population of 3,065. I maintained navigational aids and communications facilities at the Philipsburg and State College airports. There were few applicants for this remote location.
When I originally bid on this job, I was living 150 miles away in Pittsburgh, PA; my family had to relocate at our expense to take the position. It took me three years to complete extensive training and obtain system certifications that qualified me for positions back in my hometown. I eventually secured a position in Pittsburgh, and Uncle Sam paid for our move and relocation expenses.
It is much easier today to find jobs in your areas of interest. When I first applied, the Internet was nonexistent. The only way to locate job vacancies was to travel to a local federal building’s personnel office and look at job announcements physically posted on their office wall! So much easier today.
You don’t have to leave home to find jobs today. Visit USAJOBS.gov and search any occupation by desired location and expand it from there. You will be surprised at what you find. A federal job announcement lists the pay, location, qualifications, and so much more. Read it carefully and follow the application instructions provided.
When searching for a specific occupation, a number of job announcements will show up on your screen. There could be a few to hundreds or more vacancy announcements to review. Many announcements are for multiple positions.
If you desire to travel, the government offers abundant opportunities to relocate within the 50 states and overseas. Many federal agencies offer employment abroad for more than 45,000 workers. The Department of Defense Dependent Schools employs thousands of teachers for military dependent schools overseas.
BY THE NUMBERS
The state with the largest number of employees is California with 152,466 and Delaware has the least with 3,039, not counting postal workers. All of the 315 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the U.S. and Puerto Rico have federal civilian employment as listed in the Central Personnel Data File. Small towns and rural areas outside of MSAs have approximately 18% of total non-postal federal workers. The actual number of federal civilian employees is greater than the above figures. The Defense Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency do not release their data.
Know Your Federal Job Options
Like private sector employers, many federal agencies are finding it difficult locating applicants and in some cases are offer bonuses. Explore all options and don’t exclude the federal sector for fear of having to take a civil service entrance exam. Most have been waived over the years and many self-certify certain skills to meet the required qualifications.