Why choose a career in local government?
Careers in Local Government are rewarding, diverse, and exciting. With an increasing number of public sector employees nearing retirement age, opportunities to work in – and lift up – your community are available. Communities from a vast array of locations and backgrounds need a new generation of engaged leaders.
Watch the ILCMA video on why local government is the career path for you:
ELGL presents the following podcasts on careers in local government:
- “Splash into Local Government” with ILCMA member, Jessica Chernich, Management Analyst, Beach Park, featured in “How I Ended Up Here.”
“Recruitment for Local Government Careers” with Hannah Lipman, Assistant Village Manager, Tinley Park and Moses Amidei, Village Administrator, Forest Park
Posted on October 21, 2022
Check out ILCMA’s possible career paths in local government to find a role that is right for you. Where available, a link to a professional association representing positions in that category is provided.
Public administrators analyze information, oversee expenditures, draft and implement governmental and public policy, and manage people and resources. Careers in local government administration include: City/Village/County Manager, Chief Administrative Officer, Management Analyst, Policy Analyst.
Visit the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) website for more information about local government careers in administration.
Finance personnel serve as the primary financial advisors for local government managers and elected officials on all strategic and tactical matters as they relate to financial management and reporting, tax administration, cost benefit analysis, financial forecasting, management of debt service, and the securing of new funding.
Visit the Illinois Government Finance Officers Association at www.igfoa.org or Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) website for more information about local government careers in finance.
Community and Economic Development
Professionals in community and economic development coordinate all matters related to land use and building, which includes ensuring compliance with zoning and building codes and marketing the community to potential developers. Career position opportunities include Building Official, Economic Development Specialist, City Planner, Sustainability Coordinator, Building Permit Clerk, Plan Review/ Zoning Officer, and Inspector (Building, Plumbing, Electrical and Property Maintenance).
Visit the American Planning Association (APA) website for more information about local government careers in community and economic development.
Engineers oversee the design, construction, and maintenance of a community’s infrastructure such as roads, buildings, sewer, and water facilities. Career position opportunities include Civil Engineer, Project Manager and Engineering Inspector.
Visit the American Society of Civil Engineers – Illinois Section (ISASCE) website for more information about local government careers in engineering.
Fire and Emergency Medical Service
Fire Departments and EMS professionals provide fire suppression and fire prevention activities, as well as emergency medical care. Career position opportunities include Firefighter, Paramedic, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Visit the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA) website for more information about local government careers in fire and emergency medical service.
Health and Human Services
Many communities directly offer health and human services to their residents. This may include social services, nursing services, and activities focused on youth and senior citizens. Career position opportunities include Public Health Director, Nurse, Health Inspector, and Social Worker.
HR professionals are needed to coordinate the recruitment of candidates, oversee compliance with HR laws, provide fair compensation and benefits to employees, and ensure a safe workplace. Career position opportunities include HR Generalist, Benefits Specialist, Risk Manager, and Payroll Administrator.
Visit the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NPELRA) website for more information about local government careers in human resources.
IT professionals- such as Technicians, cybersecurity experts, and Website Maintainers- are responsible for the development, protection, and maintenance of a community’s IT infrastructure.
Visit Government Management Information Systems (GMIS) website for more information about local government careers in information technology.
Police Departments provide for protection, safety, and security for persons and property by enforcing applicable laws. Typical career opportunity positions include Patrol Officer, Crime Prevention Officer, Community Service Officer (CSO), Detective, Forensics Specialist, and Telecommunications Operator.
Visit the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (IACPA) website for more information about local government careers in police.
While most local governments use a firm for their legal needs, many choose to employ their own in-house attorney. Lawyers are needed to draft and review ordinances (laws), represent the community in lawsuits, and guide officials in the decision-making process.
Visit the Illinois Local Government Lawyers Association (ILGL) website for more information about local government careers in legal needs.
Libraires are repositories of books, periodicals and other materials for people to read, borrow or refer to. Typical career opportunity positions include Librarian, Archivist and Clerks.
Visit the Illinois Library Association website for more information about local government careers in libraries.
Communications and Marketing
Communications professionals are needed to disperse important information on community events, activities, and other public programs. Many local governments operate their own community television operation. Typical career position titles include Public Information Officer, Events Coordinator, and Cable TV Director.
Visit the City-County Communications and Marketing Association website for more information about local government careers in communications.
Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation staff develop recreational programs designed to promote the health and welfare of community residents. Typical career position opportunities include Program and Recreations Manager, Golf Superintendent, Botanist, and Swim Instructor.
Visit the National Parks and Recreation Association website for more information about local government careers in parks and recreation.
Public works professionals are responsible for the operation and maintenance of roads, municipal buildings, parks, parkway trees, streetlights and sidewalks, traffic signals, vehicles, water, and sewer infrastructure. Career positions typically include Maintenance Worker, Mechanic, Urban Forester, Water Production and Wastewater Technicians, Chemist, Water Meter Reader, and Snowplow Operators.
Visit the American Public Works Association website for more information about local government careers in public works.