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Federal Public Affairs Careers

Federal Public Affairs Careers

Jonathan Zuk / GovCentral Contributor

Federal public affairs professionals are responsible for administering, supervising, or performing work involved in establishing and maintaining mutual communication between Federal agencies and the general public and various other pertinent publics including internal or external, foreign or domestic audiences. These professionals advise agency management on policy formulation and the potential public reaction to proposed policy, and identify and carry out the public communication requirements inherent in disseminating policy decisions.

The work involves identifying communication needs and developing informational materials that inform appropriate publics of the agency’s policies, programs, services and activities, and plan, execute, and evaluate the effectiveness of information and communications programs in furthering agency goals.

Qualifications and Salaries

Beginning public affairs professionals usually start out at GS-7 grade at an annual salary of around $40,000. Applicants for these positions should either have the necessary work experience for a GS-7 position or have a Master’s degree in a field related to public affairs. Depending on each applicant’s level of experience, their beginning annual salary could increase to as much as $80,000.

Applicants should have extensive knowledge of the principles and methods of print media and have experiences using a personal computer to review and edit a home page containing a wide variety of sensitive information before it is released on the World-Wide Web (Internet). They also should be familiar with a variety of automation principles, concepts and practices to perform all normal functions of digital imagery (cameras, scanners and photo processing software), desktop publishing, electronic transmission, personal computer operation and trouble-shooting, and hardware installation, including component upgrades and replacement. Some managerial and/or coordinating skills may also be required.

Top Hiring Agencies

The Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs are witnessing the strongest growth in the public affairs sector. Specific sub-agencies hiring the most public affairs professionals are the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Health Administration, American Forces Information Service, and the Army Training and Doctrine Command.

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