Federal Government Job Requirements


The requirements for obtaining a federal job vary according to education level, interests, talents and other requirements. However, for all federal jobs, every applicant and person who is ultimately hired must meet a strict set of basic requirements.


  • You must be a U.S. citizen or national to be appointed into civil service. You must be either born in the United States, or you must have immigrated and followed the requirements to become a U.S. citizen. To apply for citizenship, you must have lived legally in United States for five years. You also must have the required work visas, no criminal record, and you must pass all written tests about the United States and U.S. history. With the Office of Personal Management's approval, the federal government hires non-U.S. citizens only in very specific situations. For instance, a non-U.S. citizen may be offered an excepted appointment when there are no qualified U.S. citizens available. Non-U.S. citizens are assigned subsequent jobs based on executive approval and on a case-by-case basis. Some agencies, such as the United States Postal Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), hire qualified non-U.S. citizens based on the annual appropriations act, immigration law and the agency's own policies.


  • Educational requirements vary and depend on the type of federal government job you want. While over 60 percent of those working for the federal government do not have college degrees, a high school diploma or a GED is required in order to work for many sectors of the federal government. Those without college degrees will not be hired in certain areas, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and in many higher political areas of the government. Federal jobs in research, scientific or professional work, such as engineering, accounting or psychology, require college degrees.


  • Since English is the native language of the United States, the ability to speak, read and understand English as a federal employee is a major deciding factor in the hiring process. Being fluent in another language is also encouraged. Bilingual federal employees often find more job opportunities than those who cannot speak more than one language. These jobs include working for the federal government along the U.S. and Mexico border, working as a customs official in major airports or ship ports in the U.S. or overseas and working on the staff of an international diplomat for the United States.

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