With thousands of California state government jobs located in Sacramento, the state’s capital, Aggies have less than a 20-minute drive to many career options. Working for the state can open the door to a huge range of professional opportunities in the fields of public education, health science, finance and environmental management, to name just a few.
You can prepare for many of these positions by taking courses from UC Davis Extension, the continuing and professional education division of UC Davis. Designed to teach you specialized skills and help you start or advance your career, UC Davis Extension offers career-oriented courses and professional certificates. Most of these programs do not have an admission process, so you can enroll at any time. Also, many Extension courses are offered online, so you can take them whenever you want.
State jobs come with advantages, including job security. And state employees often have much better benefits packages and more time off than their private-sector equivalents. According to research by Urban Policy analyst Wendell Cox, state and local government employees have an average of 29 percent more nonwage-paid benefits (such as health care and retirement) and 62 percent more paid days off than private-sector employees.
If the perks of job stability and a generous benefits package appeal to you, consider these five great careers with the state, and learn how you can prepare for them:
1. IT Systems Analyst
Tech experts are needed everywhere tech is used, and that includes the government sector. Information systems analysts enjoy an annual salary range of $66,000-$86,400, making it one of the highest-paying jobs on this list. UC Davis Extension can prepare you with its Web Development Certificate Program, which covers web design, coding, scripting and programming. This program comprises five online courses and can be completed in nine months. If you have an interest in the IT field, but don’t have college-level IT training, don’t be discouraged. UC Davis Extension can help train you.
2. HR Supervisor
Human resources departments are found in almost every organization, public or private. Government agencies in California, from the Department of Food and Agriculture to the California Highway Patrol, require trained HR professionals to manage their workplaces. Recent job postings offer an annual salary range for a state HR supervisor of $54,000-$68,400. UC Davis Extension’s Human Resource Management Certificate Program can help you enhance your degree training to make you more valuable to potential state employers. This program requires nine to 10 courses and can be completed in one year. It will leave you well-versed in principles of management, training, employment law, ethics, hiring and compensation. This highly regarded program offers real-world focus and applicability to get you ready for a career in human resources.
3. Business Analyst
The field of business analytics is a broad term that can encompass very different industries and job duties. However, the basic principles of business analysis can be applied to a variety of positions with the state. Business analysts look at data and trends, and develop new strategies to ensure the state is minding its bottom line and providing services accurately and efficiently. Business analytics is a hot, well-paying field with annual salaries averaging more than $80,000 per year.
No matter what agency or business you wish to work for as a business analyst, UC Davis Extension’s Business Analysis Certificate Program can help you get there. This four-course, six-to-nine-month online program explores the fundamental theories of business analysis and teaches you how to identify and optimize business opportunities as well as the company’s resources to develop strategies. You might also consider UC Davis Extension’s online series Data Visualization with Tableau, which teaches the latest techniques in the presentation of data, including data dashboards and interactive infographics. Tableau is widely used by professional analysts, so why not add this to your résumé?
4. Accounting Specialist
Government agencies depend on accountants to properly allocate funds to fit the often-tight budgeting that can come with government activity. Accounting specialists prepare financial statements for government agencies, which are often publicly released. They are employed in nearly every government agency and enjoy an annual salary range in the state of California of $57,600-$72,000 per year.
UC Davis Extension offers two certificate programs in accounting, the six-course Accounting Essentials Certificate Program and the nine course Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate Program. Offering a mix of online and in-class options, these programs are designed to be completed and get your career going in 12 months. Whichever track you choose, Extension offers the option of the Accounting for Governmental and Nonprofit Organizations course as an elective. This course will provide you with the specific skills and knowledge of the intricacies in fundraising for nonprofits and in the public sector. If you are a managerial economics major, your degree will fulfill the required business classes necessary to sit for the CPA exam, so all you’ll need are the accounting courses from the Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate.
5. Water Resource Engineer
The California Department of Water Resources is responsible for the management and regulation of water use in the state of California. In addition, it directs the State Water Project, which is responsible for developing and maintaining the systems that provide water to millions of Californians. Engineers are some of the most well-paid employees in the country, and government engineers are no different, with an average annual salary of more than $90,000 per year.
UC Davis Extension’s Water Resources courses teach highly specialized knowledge of water resources policy and principles of planning and urban growth. These courses are designed for professionals in the land use and planning field who want to gain specialized knowledge of water resources, management, ecology and planning. If you’re majoring in environmental policy analysis and planning, environmental science and management, or civil engineering, these specialized courses will help you transition into a career in water resources.
Tyler McLaughlin is a sophomore at UC Davis, studying managerial economics. He works as an editorial student assistant at UC Davis Extension.