Most government jobs are found at the state and local levels. Altogether, nearly 17 million individuals work for nearly 87,500 state and local government units.

This includes 3,000 counties, 19,500 municipal governments, 16,500 townships, 13,500 school districts, and 35,100 special districts.

The state of Illinois has the largest number of government units - 6,900 - an extreme example of overlapping jurisdictions. Hawaii has the least number of government units - 20.

The largest state and local government employers are found in education (universities and school districts) and criminal justice (police departments and court systems).

You may be interested in exploring these two military transition programs, which are primarily aimed at employment at the state and local levels:

Troops to Teachers -
Troops to Cops -

The best approach to finding employment with state and local government agencies is to target particular units of government. Each has their own hiring requirements, which usually involve submitting applications and/or resumes and taking any required tests.

If, for example, you are interested in public safety work, make direct contact with police and fire departments (these departments usually include EMT workers) at the town, city, or county levels. Many of these local governmental units are very military-friendly (disproportionately staffed with military veterans) and most will have a website with information on their application procedures.

Also, consider attending military-friendly job fairs, which include representatives from police departments that are eager to hire transitioning military personnel. For example, the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida ( and Prince William County, Virginia ( police departments frequently attend the Corporate Gray ( job fairs.

If you are interested in law enforcement careers, be sure to consult these key books and websites:


Many of the above books are available through your base or community library, or they can be ordered through Impact Publications (



SOURCE: Adapted from Carl S. Savino, Major, USAR (Ret.), and Ronald L. Krannich, Ph.D., Military-to-Civilian Transition Guide (Manassas Park: Impact Publications). Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.