Government Program Manager

Oversee staff and funds for government programs.
picture of Government Program Manager

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$34,000 – $97,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Government Program Managers do?

County, state, and federal programs are often run like tiny businesses. They have a budget, a staff, a set of goals, and a group of outsiders who monitor the progress. Government Program Managers work like the Chief Executive Officers of these small businesses, making important decisions that help the project succeed.

When you begin your work as a Government Program Manager, you’re given a set of goals to meet. Perhaps you must figure out how to distribute money to needy students, or perhaps you must determine the best way to increase immunization rates among older people in your community. While your goals as a Government Program Manager might be lofty, however, your budgets might be small. The plans you develop must be innovative, but they must also be cost-effective.

Since you can’t run a program alone, you manage a staff of workers who can assist. Accountants, Administrative Assistants, Computer Programmers, and other professionals might make up your team. As the Government Program Manager, you hire, evaluate, and replace these workers as needed.

A board of Directors, members of the government, and taxpayers all watch over your work with interest. Periodically, you provide written reports about how your program is working toward the goals, and you sometimes go to meetings to answer questions about your project.

Attending trainings help you learn how to manage big programs more effectively, and you might be required to attend some classes in order to manage federal programs. While you might love to attend training on topics such as “Finding the Perfect Pencil” or “How to Brew a Perfect Cup of Coffee for Your Boss,” it’s more likely that you’ll take courses in riveting topics such as risk management and cost-cutting measures.

Should I be a Government Program Manager?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.

  • How to Become a
    Government Program Manager

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