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Best Degrees for Government Employees

If you want to work for the government, the right bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate can help.

The United States federal government employs 2.8 million Americans, while state and local governments employ another 19.8 million.* That’s a lot of jobs. Which means, if you want to work for the government, there’s a lot of opportunity. But not all government jobs are created equal. If you want one of the government’s best jobs, you’re likely to need a bachelor’s, master’s, or even a doctorate. Here are the best fields of study if you want one of the best government jobs.

Business Administration and Management

While government agencies do not exist to make a profit, they share many similarities with business. In both fields, leaders must be able to manage complex organizations and find ways to use resources efficiently, effectively, and affordably. If you want to work in a managerial role in a government agency, a degree in business administration or business management can be invaluable. Depending on your current education level and/or your career goals, there are a number of business degrees that can help you advance or start a government career.

Best Degrees for Government Employees

The best business administration degrees include:

The best business management degrees include:

Public Policy

From legislative teams to local health departments, experts in public policy help research, develop, and/or implement the government policies that keep our system working. A degree in public policy can give you a broad base of policy knowledge and help you acquire the analytical and quantitative skills you’ll need to formulate, implement, and evaluate public policy in fields ranging from public health to the environment to the economy to social welfare.

The best public policy degrees include:

Public Administration

Government agencies often work with nonprofits and private sector organizations to better serve the public good. From private/public partnerships in urban revitalization to partnerships with grocers and local food banks to fight hunger, government agencies need employees who can develop, initiate, and manage opportunities in cross-sectoral governance. A public administration degree can put you in position to do just that. When you earn a degree in public administration, you can learn how to deliver services to citizens through plans that are transparent, efficient, and ethical. Depending on the degree, you can also learn effective ways to balance budgets, write and negotiate contracts, manage conflict, and build partnerships.

The best public administration degrees include:

Social Work

At any given time, the U.S. federal government has 8,000 social worker positions open in such agencies as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Justice, the Veterans Administration, and Health and Human Services.† These social workers play a vital role in helping American citizens get through tough times. Quite simply, they are the backbone of our social services programs. But you can’t be a government social worker without at least a bachelor’s degree. If you want to be part of this challenging but vital and rewarding field, you’ll need the right education.

The best social work degrees include:

What’s the Best Way to Earn Your Degree?

No matter which field you want to enter—or whether you’re looking to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate—one of the best ways to advance your education is to enroll at an online university. Through online learning, you can earn a degree in a convenient and flexible format that allows you to complete your coursework on a schedule that works for you. This level of convenience can even help you finish your degree faster, saving you time and money.

When you enroll in an online bachelor’s degree program or an online graduate degree program, you can acquire the skills and knowledge you need for the government job you want. It’s a great choice for anyone looking to get ahead.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online degree programs through our College of Management and Human Potential and our College of Social and Behavioral Health. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, Data Retrieval: Employment, Hours, and Earnings (CES), May, 2017, on the internet at

NASW Center for Workforce Studies & Social Work Practice, Social Workers in Government Agencies, available as a PDF on the internet at