25 Jobs in Public Utilities and Public Service That You Should Know About
Interested in jobs in public utilities and public service? You’ve come to the right place. In today’s ever-changing, fast-paced labor market, many workers worry about their job security.
Be it a technological advancement such as AI or a radical shift in the market and consumer behavior, it’s hard to predict what jobs may be in demand in the future and what jobs may not. These concerns are one of the reasons some job seekers are looking at the public sector for a potential career.
Public utilities are an integral and vital part of the organization of a developed society. Jobs in the public utilities or public service sectors generally offer more job security as well as benefits that are often lacking in the private sector.
Below we’ll look at 25 jobs in public utilities and public service, the type of responsibilities and skills needed, the typical salary range, and the minimum level of education required for each position.
1. City Attorney
A city attorney represents the city in case of civil lawsuits. They are also tasked with the prosecution of misdemeanors and handling violations of city property.
A city attorney has earned their bachelor’s degree, completed at least three years of law school, and passed their state’s bar exam. A city attorney is either elected to the position or appointed by a local official.
The workload for a city attorney can be quite high and often entails late nights and tight deadlines. But the job often comes with greater stability and job security, as might the private sector.
The salary range for a city attorney is quite broad and depends on the municipality involved as well as the level of experience of the attorney. A city attorney can expect to make anywhere from $20,000 – $550,000, but over 57% of city attorneys make between $100,000 and $250,000 annually.
2. Natural Gas Distribution Manager
While the natural gas sector is more prone to fluctuations than water resources, it remains a steady sector that can provide workers with job security and opportunities for growth. The salaries in this sector are generally higher than in other public service sectors. For this reason, competition for entering the sector of natural gas is quite strong.
Natural gas distribution managers are organized, detail-oriented, and have excellent motivational and interpersonal skills. They often work within strict deadlines and tight budgets, which means a natural gas distribution manager needs to know how to effectively handle stress and communicate effectively.
Natural gas distribution managers have education or training in the field of management and at least a bachelor’s degree (though they often have a master’s or higher).
The salary for a natural gas distribution manager ranges from $165,000 – $2400,000, and the average salary falls around $197,000 annually.
3. Water Resource Specialist
Water is a basic human need. And this means that the water resources sector is one of the most stable and secure sectors on the planet. A water resource specialist is tasked with designing, implementing, maintaining, and updating a community’s water resource programs and facilities. This includes handling issues that pertain to supply, quality, distribution, and regulatory compliance.
The job of a water resource specialist generally requires a bachelor’s degree (and often a master’s as well) and a background in engineering, math, or government.
Water resource specialists are creative problem-solvers. Their job can often give them a sense of pride in working with the environment and providing a valuable service to the community.
On the downside, the water resources sector can be difficult to access. It requires a solid knowledge base in a variety of subjects: engineering, math, communication, and humanities. It also requires many talents: interpersonal skills, creative problem-solving, engineering skills, etc.
The salary for a water resources specialist ranges from $75,000 – $200,000, and the average salary falls around $137,000 annually.
4. Air Traffic Controller
An air traffic controller works in an airfield’s control tower or approach control facility. The job requires extreme focus and concentration, which makes it, according to many air traffic controllers, a high-stress position. They are responsible for the safety of literally thousands of air passengers as they coordinate the distancing and landing of aircraft onto various landing strips.
To be an air traffic controller in the US, you must be a US citizen, pass a criminal background check, and have completed at least four years of college.
Despite the position of air traffic controllers showing little to no growth in the labor market over the past ten years, approximately 2,400 air traffic controllers are hired each year, and projections seem to indicate that number should remain steady.
5. Gas Plant Manager
A gas plant manager oversees the day-to-day operations that include the plant, pipeline, and well production. They are responsible for ensuring that daily operations, maintenance and repair adhere to a predefined budget and schedule.
Gas plant managers are highly organized individuals, they have knowledge of safety, quality, and efficiency processes, and they are able to successfully communicate with and motivate workers at a gas plant. The position usually comes with the additional responsibility of training technicians on safety, efficiency, and maintenance procedures.
A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a similar field is often required as well as significant experience in the field. The experience level sought can often exceed ten years.
The salary for a gas plant manager ranges from $78,000 – $118,000, and the average salary falls around $94,000 annually. Current companies that are hiring gas plant managers are Ameresco, and DTE Energy.
6. Power Plant manager
A power plant manager is tasked with the smooth running of the plant, from interpersonal relations among the workers and between suppliers to safety and compliance protocols, efficiency optimization, maintenance, and everything in between and around.
While a college degree is not mandatory for becoming a power plant manager, nearly 60% of power plant managers have a bachelor’s degree (of which nearly 16% have a master’s or higher).
Power plant managers are often promoted from within a given power plant after years (on average, 11) of experience in the facility.
The salary for a power plant manager ranges from $100,000 – $140,000, and the average salary falls around $114,000 annually.
7. Power Systems Engineer
Workers on a community’s power grid play a vital role in the success and well-being of the community. A position in the power systems sector offers great job security as well as technical and organizational challenges.
A power systems engineer has a background in electrical engineering. In most instances, he or she will hold a Bachelor of Science degree. And since most jobs in public utilities, specifically power fields, require some practical experience in electrical engineering, a power systems engineer will more than likely start off with an internship or as part of a cooperative engineering program.
The salary for a power systems engineer ranges from $86,000 – $1300,000, and the average salary falls around $102,000 annually.
8. Transmission Engineer
A transmission engineer (also known as a line engineer or transmission line engineer) designs and implements various types of transmission lines related to power distribution and telecommunications. This technical engineering field requires a certain proficiency in computer-aided design software (CAD) as well as testing for sag tension, clearance, and other parameters.
A transmission engineer holds at least a bachelor’s degree in civil or electrical engineering, and all states require the transmission engineer to pass their state’s licensing exam and complete at least four years of field experience.
According to recent US Department of Labor Statistics, the career prospects for transmission engineers and similar positions have risen slightly in recent years, though this rise remains under the national average when compared to other rising careers.
The salary for a transmission engineer is generally over $100,000.
9. Radiation Engineer
The position of radiation engineer is a subset of the larger field of nuclear engineering. The job requires an analytical mind, attention to detail, and a keen understanding of testing protocols. A radiation engineer is in charge of designing and carrying out tests and experiments to predict the potential effects of radiation in a variety of circumstances.
The radiation engineer oversees the activities of workers in a nuclear power plant and implements measures and procedures to ensure their safety. To effectively carry out their duties, a radiation engineer needs strong interpersonal and communication skills as a part of their job requires them to train workers on safety protocols and procedures.
Though technically, the minimum level of education required to become a radiation engineer is a high school diploma, the majority of radiation engineers hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The typical salary for a radiation engineer is slightly above $100,00.
10. Wind Farm Manager
Here’s a cool one under jobs in public utilities. A wind farm manager (also known as a wind energy operations manager, turbine site manager, or wind facilities manager) trains and supervises workers of wind energy facilities, notably on environmental and worker safety issues. They are also in charge of maintenance and repair initiatives for on-site equipment.
The field of renewable energy, more specifically wind energy, has been on the rise in recent years. And so has the salary of wind farm engineers, which currently averages around $100,000 per year.
Wind farms often promote from within, which explains how 17% of wind farm managers have no higher than a high school diploma and only 22% have a degree higher than a bachelor’s.
Wind farm managers have excellent people and communication skills, and they possess at least four years of experience working on a wind farm.
11. Journeyman Lineman
A journeyman lineman is an electrician who works on power lines that extend from a power plant to reach the homes of individual consumers. They install and repair both overhead and underground electrical cables. The job can often be physical, as journeymen linemen can also be tasked with digging trenches, clearing away tree branches, and climbing poles.
Most journeymen linemen start their careers in a paid apprenticeship program that lasts, on average four years. Many already possess an associate’s degree or have completed at least two years at a technical school.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for journeymen linemen have increased by over 11% in recent years, and projections suggest this trend will not slow down any time soon.
The salary for a journeyman lineman ranges from $36,000 – $96,000, and the average salary falls around $67,000 annually. Current companies that are hiring journeyman linemans are Q3 Contracting, NV Energy, and Xcel Energy.
12. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator
While this form of public utilities is far more region-specific than water resources (not all towns have their own nuclear reactor), the educational requirements are less strict. A nuclear power reactor operator has a high school diploma or equivalent. He or she must pass a background check and study to pass a licensing exam then they are provided with extensive on-the-job training.
On the one hand, working at a nuclear power plant can be an exciting opportunity to provide a very useful service to the community. On the other hand, public pressure and changes in the political landscape make this already small field rather volatile when considering long-term projections.
The salary for a water resources specialist ranges from $90,000 – $118,000, and the average salary falls around $95,000 annually.
13. Energy Efficiency Engineer
An energy efficiency engineer works especially in the design and construction phase to evaluate and improve the overall energy efficiency of a building or facility. They use computer-aided design and testing software to create models and evaluate potential results. An energy efficiency engineer is good at designing experiments, analyzing data, and communicating their findings with interested parties.
The job prospects for an energy efficiency engineer have been increasing steadily over the last ten years. And the experience and qualifications needed for this position mean that an energy efficiency engineer has great prospects for career development and growth.
Energy efficiency engineers hold at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, environmental science, applied science, or a similar field. They have excellent math and data analytics skills and are able to work well on a team. They also generally have knowledge about HVAC systems, renewable energy, green initiatives, and energy procurement.
The salary for an energy efficiency engineer ranges from $47,000 – $151,000, and the average salary falls around $95,000 annually. Current companies that are hiring energy efficiency engineers are Consolidated Edison, Exelon, and The Cadmus Group.
14. Substation Engineer
A job as a substation engineer falls under the broader umbrella of electrical engineering. A substation is defined as the collective equipment aimed at reducing the high voltage of electrical power transmissions and thus rendering it suitable for consumers. A substation engineer is in charge of designing and making improvements to this equipment. The job thus requires proficiency in making sketches, schematics, and renderings of layouts.
The job prospects for substation engineers have nearly doubled in the past ten years, though the growth has leveled off in recent years. The average annual salary ranges around $94,000. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum level of education required for a substation engineer, and roughly 18% of substation engineers in the US have a master’s.
The salary for a substation engineer ranges from $79,000 – $126,000, and the average salary falls around $94,000 annually. Current companies that are hiring subtraction engineers are Burns & McDonnell, WSP, and AECOM.
15. Electrical Engineer Manager
Don’t miss this one under jobs in public utilities. This is an upper-level position. Though it is possible to study management with an accredited institution and then access a lower-management position and work your way up, many electrical engineer managers start off as technicians. They may possess prior managerial qualifications from their educational background or they complete some form of managerial training thereafter.
Electrical engineer managers are in high demand, the job offers prestige within the company, and provides opportunities for growth and/or advancement.
On the downside, a job as an electrical engineer manager comes with more responsibility than a job as a technician, and with more responsibility comes more stress.
The salary for an electrical engineer manager ranges from $64,000 – $1340,000, and the average salary falls around $93,000 annually.
16. Power Distribution Engineer
This is a fantastic one under jobs in public utilities. A power distribution engineer is responsible for ensuring his or her company’s power network is in compliance with local and national regulations. They design and develop energy solutions to improve and expand a power network and maximize the facility’s cost-effective operations.
A power distribution engineer needs to be able to effectively prioritize tasks and projects as they are likely to be working simultaneously on several projects at any given time. They typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and have over five years of experience to be qualified for the position.
The job of a power distribution engineer is typically fast-paced with multiple projects being carried out in adherence to important schedules. Some amount of physical activity, such as lifting up to 30 pounds of equipment, is generally associated with the position.
The salary for a power distribution engineer ranges from $71,000 – $106,000, and the average salary falls around $92,000 annually. Current companies that are hiring power distribution engineers are Sargent & Lundy, Burns & McDonnell, and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.
17. Gas Controller
A gas controller works essentially with compressors to monitor and regulate the pressure of pipelines. They frequently conduct tests and reviews, monitor and maintain equipment, and oversee the transportation and storage of potentially dangerous products.
Gas controllers are analytical thinkers. They are able to calculate and process test data and effectively communicate their findings with peers, subordinates, and supervisors.
Generally, no more than a high school diploma is needed to become a gas controller, but prior industry experience is often a requirement. Frequently, candidates for a position of gas controller must undergo drug testing both prior to employment and periodically over the course of their time on the job.
The salary for a gas controller ranges from $57,000 – $187,000, and the average salary falls around $91,000 annually. Current companies that are hiring gas controllers are Energy Transfer, NW Natural, and Northern Natural Gas.
18. Coast Guard
A job in the Coast Guard is a military position. Candidates must be between the ages of 17 and 35. They must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, have no more than three dependents, and pass a military medical entrance examen as well as the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test).
Working in the Coast Guard means carrying out a number of security and safety operations on the water and ports. These can include: search and rescue operations, monitoring radio and satellite communications, communicating navigation advice, transmitting weather reports, and documenting and following through on reports of wreckage, pollution, and/or debris.
19. Nuclear Licensing Engineer
A nuclear licensing engineer works closely with design engineers and regulatory agencies to make sure a nuclear power facility (or facilities) is compliant with any changes to the licensing requirements.
A nuclear licensing engineer is detail oriented and possesses strong communication and problem-solving skills. Nearly 25% of nuclear licensing engineers hold a master’s degree, while the rest have a bachelor’s.
They generally possess 3 to 5 years of experience working either in a power plant or with a regulatory agency.
The salary for a nuclear licensing engineer ranges from $78,000 – $98,000, and the average salary falls around $87,000 annually.
20. Hydroelectric Plant Technician
Jobs in public utilities are important work. When a community’s power supply is generated from a water source (such as a damn or river), hydroelectric plant technicians are needed to monitor and maintain the safe and effective functioning of the facility. A hydroelectric plant technician generally has a background in mechanical engineering as they are tasked with working with pumps, valves, gates, battery banks, electric control boards, fans, and other such equipment.
Hydroelectric plant technicians are detail-oriented analytical thinkers who take a hands-on approach to problem-solving.
Though there is no nationwide formal educational requirement, a hydraulic plant technician must pass the state’s regulatory examination and have generally three or more years of experience in public service.
The salary for a hydroelectric plant technician ranges from $49,000 – $110,000, and the average salary falls around $81,000 annually.
Current company that is hiring hydroelectric plant technicians is General Electric.
21. Renewable Energy Manager
The responsibilities of a renewable energy manager are quite broad and far-reaching. They are tasked with identifying and implementing strategies to improve an organization’s energy source, looking for feasible and advantageous ways to exploit renewable energy (such as wind, solar, and water).
A renewable energy manager has at least a bachelor’s degree in the field of sustainability, corporate responsibility, or related field. They are creative problem solvers with good interpersonal and communication skills, and they possess a working knowledge of grid management systems.
The renewable energy sector is in expansion and the demand for a renewable energy manager is currently high.
The salary for a renewable energy manager ranges from $38,000 – $128,000, and the average salary falls around $75,000 annually.
22. City Manager
Jobs in public utilities deal with everyday life. A city manager is tasked with developing and overseeing a city’s infrastructure plans, balancing a budget composed of public funds, and providing leadership to the heads of departments involved in public services.
City managers typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree in public administration, political science, or business. They have prior experience in administration (in a policy and/or budget capacity), and nearly 25% of city managers have held the position of assistant manager before becoming city managers.
A city manager is highly organized, possesses keen interpersonal and communication skills, and is a creative problem-solver with experience adhering to strict budgets.
City managers can earn up to $300,000 in the US. However, the typical salary for a city manager ranges around $60,000. City managers start their career in their respective state/district city council.
23. Tribal Affairs Program Manager
A tribal affairs program manager is tasked with liaising between various agencies to ensure compliance regarding state and national policies (Wisconsin’s Governor’s Executive Order 39 and the FHWA/WisDOT Tribal Partnership Agreement, to cite but a few). A tribal affairs program manager also oversees the staff responsible for implementing measures to improve tribal program management.
A tribal affairs program manager needs to have excellent people skills as well as knowledge and experience of a state’s tribal affairs laws and related programs. He or she works within a larger structure such as the EPA or the Department of Transportation and is in charge of designing, evaluating, and implementing strategies that consider their respective agency’s interests as well as those of local tribes.
Depending on the size and the score of the agency, the salary for a tribal affairs program manager can range anywhere from $35,000 to $104,000, though more often than not a tribal affairs manager earns between $54,000 and $83,000 annually.
24. Immigration and Customs Inspector
Immigration and customs inspectors investigate and examine both persons and cargo as well as visas and passports at various ports of entry to the nation, such as airports, ports, and borders.
Immigration and customs inspectors need to possess at least a high school diploma or equivalent. However, having a bachelor’s degree would make you eligible for advancement within the broader field of federal law enforcement. Immigration and customs inspectors possess good verbal skills, have good attention to detail, and are able to exercise self-control and keep their cool in stressful situations.
The average salary for an immigration and customs inspector is around $54,000 annually. Current company hiring Imigration Inspectors is ICE.
25. Water Superintendent
A water superintendent oversees the safe and efficient running of a community or nation’s water supply, recovery, and distribution, as well as waste management of the sewer systems. He or she manages a team of civil servants and is responsible for preparing reports on water services destined for the general public.
There are no formal higher-education requirements to be a water superintendent, though he or she must have prior experience working within a municipality’s water system and pass the state’s accreditation exams.
A water superintendent possesses good communication skills and is good at respecting a tight budget. The average annual salary of a water superintendent is around $41,000.
Wrapping Up: Jobs in Public Utilities and Public Service
Jobs in public utilities and public service offer great benefits and are available if you know where to look (which, let’s face it, now you do). There are plenty of opportunities to consider.
Lensa is here for you! Let us help you make your next career move in the public utilities and public service sector today.