Public Service Careers:
How to Become a…

Not every student takes the same path to a career. Some begin in community college and transfer to a four-year program. Others jump straight into a university setting and push their way to a bachelor’s and beyond. Others still take smaller and more manageable steps to their chosen career, starting with on-the-job training and seeking higher education down the road.

Whether you’re interested in criminal justice, teaching, social work, or any other public service career, there are a number of ways to get from aspiring student to working professional. Read our step-by-step guides, see which options you need to consider, and, finally, learn more about yourself to chart the college and career path that’s right for you. Take your first step to a career in public service.

What Can You Do with a Degree in…

You know you want a degree in public service, but you have so many questions you need answered first. What kind of degree makes sense for me? Which schools have the best programs? Will I get a job when I graduate? What types of jobs will I qualify for? Can I even afford to go to college?

A degree in public service means making a difference, but you also need to make a living once you’re ready to go from public service student to public service professional. Explore degrees in public service online, and get answers to the questions you need to move your education forward.

Why a Career in Public Service?

The key to safer, healthier, and stronger communities? Helping others. It’s the social worker who spends extra time with a foster kid on Friday afternoon, the police officer who mentors an at-risk teen after school, and the teacher who practices fractions during his lunch break with the student who’s falling behind. Discover how you can make a difference…

40%

of U.S. children live in low-income or impoverished households

45%

of U.S. children living in poverty are overweight or obese

22%

of people globally don’t have adequate housing

65%

of incarcerated prisoners do not have a high school diploma

Find Online Degrees in Public Service

Many of today’s college students are multi-taskers. They balance work, family, and full-time or part-time degree programs. With commitments mounting and time management a challenge, flexibility is key.

Online learning has made it possible for students of all ages and abilities to earn a certificate or degree where and when it’s convenient. In 2017, nearly one-third of all college students took at least one online course, and more than 15% were enrolled exclusively online. Distance learning may have been called “non-traditional” for years, but it’s fast becoming the norm in higher education.

Explore online degrees in public service, and see if an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate in your chosen field could help you help those in need.

The Power of Volunteering

Volunteering is powerful and selfless. Whether packing food for the hungry or running a coat drive for the homeless, volunteers are a critical part of our communities. In addition to helping people and making our neighborhoods a better place, volunteering can also help you get a foot in the proverbial door.

If you’re interested in a career in social work but either don’t have experience or want to learn a little before committing to college, volunteer. If you’re looking to build your network in a new field and don’t know where to go, volunteer. Want to learn more?

AmeriCorps vs. Peace Corps

Learn how two of today’s most popular volunteering opportunities compare and contrast.

Volunteering with Kids

Where to volunteer and how to match your skills and interests to the right place.

Public Service Student Resources

Some college students breeze through their programs without a care in the world. But most don’t…

There’s admissions, financial aid, time management, exams, and a host of other things to worry about. When tackling these challenges, it all starts with the right information — in-depth guides from experts in the field who can walk you through what you need to nail the admissions essay, navigate financial aid and scholarships, prepare for finals, and land that all-important first job once you have your diploma in hand.

Explore resources from STEPS today.

Financial Aid

Learn how to find and apply for the funding you need for your public service degree. Explore federal aid, state aid, learn about the FAFSA, and discover other funding options just for you.

Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships & grants are the best way to pay for a college education. It’s money you never have to pay back, and thousands of private companies, non-profits, and schools offer them each year. Find the scholarship for you.