Top 5 Careers that Promote Civic Engagement

Civic engagement careers range from hands-on community engagement efforts to matters of the law. Professionals in these broad interdisciplinary fields are involved with developing, enacting, interpreting, or applying laws and policies at the local, state/regional, national or international levels. They may work for governmental agencies, departments, or elected officials; in not-for-profit or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); or within business and industry, from small firms to major international corporations.

Those working towards community engagement efforts influence the fabric of their community through civic engagement, community organizing, or providing vital social services to those in need. This includes careers in public and private education, experiential learning, social work, mentoring/counseling, and youth development, as well as the administration of organizations that provide these types of services.

  1. Paralegal 
    1. Average salary: $43,444
    2. Salary range: $30,000-$100,000
      1. Paralegals help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and other important meetings by gathering facts and evidence, preparing legal documents, and conducting research on any relevant laws to a case. Paralegals can specialize in a particular area of the law, such as corporate, criminal, bankruptcy, immigration, family, or real estate law. Senior paralegals can take on more complex legal work on behalf of attorneys and even supervise their own team of paralegals. It’s also a good stepping stone for someone considering going to law school.
      2. For more information on becoming a paralegal, lawyer, or other legal professions, visit
  2. Development & Communications Coordinator
    1. Average salary: $46,000
    2. Salary range: $38,000-$56,000
      1. Primarily in charge of facilitating programs and communication strategies in an organization, ensuring efficiency and smooth workflow. Although their duties may vary on their place or industry of employment, it usually entails conducting extensive research and analyses, setting goals and guidelines, coordinating different teams, establishing protocols and systems, and performing various assessments to ensure operations adhere to standards. They are also in charge of liaising with internal and external parties and building positive relationships with clients and business partners.
      2. For more information on potential organizations and corporations that offer this position or others similar, visit Zippia
  3. Program Manager
    1. Average salary: $66,350
    2. Salary range: $65,000-$146,000
      1. A program manager is the strategic project planner of an organization. They define and supervise different projects at the same time, which are all part of a program designed to add value to the company. They assess the impact of these projects, decide on priorities, set milestones, and ensure completion within time and costs limit. They oversee the project manager. A program manager is responsible for monitoring the project’s progress, improving and developing new strategies, and coordinating various projects across the organization to ensure the success of the business objective. Program managers also manage the program’s expenses, ensuring that the projects adhere to the budget goals without compromising the quality and accuracy of the result. A program manager should regularly connect with the different teams of every project under the program to keep track of the processes and procedures for the timely delivery of the product.
      2. For more information on potential organizations and corporations that offer this position or others similar, visit Indeed.
  4. Outreach and Community Engagement Coordinator
    1. Average salary: $47,500
    2. Salary range: $40,000-$68,425
      1. Community outreach coordinators oversee the planning and implementation of outreach strategies. They are primarily responsible for connecting people in the broader community by creating sponsorship agreements and cultivating relationships with businesses, individuals, and other relevant organizations. Outreach Coordinators typically work for various establishments, including hospitals, non-profits, educational institutions, or corporations, to perform community outreach responsibilities on behalf of their company. They work closely with upper management and marketing professionals to strategize different ways to spread awareness about their company while also helping their community. Their job is to maintain relationships with local business owners and local officials to coordinate fundraisers or community programs. They may also be responsible for maintaining a budget and overseeing the creation of marketing materials.
      2. For more information on potential organizations and corporations that offer this position or others similar, visit Glassdoor
  5. Government Employees
    1. Average salary: $62,106
    2. Salary range: $18,500-128,500
      1. Government jobs can provide a sense of financial and job security as well as honor in serving the public. Understanding the different kinds of jobs you can achieve in each sector can help you decide on what government industry (local, state, or federal) you want to pursue. In this article, we discuss the benefits of working for the government, the different types of government jobs, and a list of top government jobs in the local, state, and federal sectors. Government employees are regularly trained in their duties and responsibilities. While the approach may vary by agency or government level, general requirements tend to be common among all departments regardless of the program’s mission. These duties and responsibilities are critical elements of organization consistency expected from every employee.
      2. To learn more about the varying government jobs available please visit GovtJobs

How to Prepare for a Career in Civic Engagement

Majors: While there is no one direct path to pursuing a career in civic engagement, some common majors for those who have obtained careers in civic engagement are Political Science, LJST, and Psychology. 

Internships: Gaining experience in civic engagement internships will allow you to have insider knowledge of the nature of a possible civic engagement career. Some civic engagement internships you can partake in are the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, The National Coalition on School Diversity, and Transformative Justice Law Project. 

Contact alumni: Using the Amherst College alumni directory, you can search for alumni whose past or present work involves civic engagement initiatives. Reaching out to them for advice or inquiring about their knowledge in the field may provide much-needed perspective and insight into your one possible career path. 

Resources at Amherst: The Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning provides foundational career planning resources as well as post-Amherst career or college planning. With resources ranging from crafting cover letters and resumes to specialized opportunities to explore various careers in their industry, the option to explore and plan your next steps is possible.  

To discuss more careers affiliated with civic engagement, schedule an appointment with the Government & Nonprofits Program Director, Micah Owino. He, along with all other members of the Loeb Center, works with students to help them find internships and career opportunities and reach their academic and professional goals.

If you wish to meet with an advisor, schedule an appointment through Handshake. If you have technical difficulties, please call the Loeb Center at 413-542-2265.

By Brianne LaBare
Brianne LaBare Peer Career Advisor