Government & Defence

Public Service Officer

Public service officers service work in departments and agencies that implement government policies and deliver services to the public.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Public Service Officer do?

Public service officers service work in a wide range of departments and agencies that implement government policies and deliver services to the public.


Work activities

As a public service officer, you might:

  • handle enquiries from the public in person, by telephone or email
  • provide information to deal with customer queries
  • research information for policy documents
  • help formulate and implement policies
  • interpret and apply complex written information relating to policies and procedures
  • update computerised records
  • undertake basic administrative tasks.

The main areas of employment for public service officers are in administrative, para-professional and professional roles. These types of roles exist across all federal and state departments and agencies, and include positions from entry to executive level.


Key skills and interests

To become a public service officer, you would need:

  • good spoken and written communication skills
  • the ability to work well as part of a team
  • to work quickly under pressure, often according to complex rules and procedures
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • good customer service skills
  • respect for confidential information
  • Australian citizenship, permanent residency or an appropriate work visa.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Most government departments work standard office hours, although some may use a flexible system. In some departments you may be required to work on a shift basis which would include evenings, weekends and public holidays. Part-time work and job sharing are common.


You would be based in an office environment, which may be open plan, or open to the public.

Public servants work in every federal, state and territory government in Australia. Many positions are in capital cities or larger cities and towns. There are limited opportunities for overseas postings. Many graduate-entry positions in the federal public service are based in Canberra.

For Indigenous Australians, opportunities for employment while studying are available under the Indigenous Cadetship Support initiative. This program aims to assist Indigenous jobseekers to gain professional positions in both the private and public sectors.


How to become an Public Service Officer?

Entry Level Education

You can join the Australian Public Service (APS) either as a Trainee Administrative Service Officer, or Graduate Administrative Assistant. You do not need formal qualifications to become a Trainee Administrative Service Officer, although departments and agencies generally require junior or senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. For all other roles, you will need at least a bachelor's degree.

To become a public servant in State government, you usually have to complete at least either your junior or senior secondary school certificate, depending on the entry position. Graduate positions require completion of a relevant degree. Training is also given on the job, and assistance for work-related study may be available once you are employed.

Competition for graduate positions is very strong.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Overall employment of public service officers is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Employment of public service officers is driven by the changing structure of Federal or State Government departments and expansion of existing ones. Both Federal and State governments have, in recent years, been decreasing the number of public services officer jobs available through a number of cost cutting measures.

However, the public service at both State and Federal levels is a large employer, so opportunities will continue to exist for qualified employees.


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