Public Works Commissioner

Create and implement public works plans for a city or town.
picture of Public Works Commissioner

Quick Stats


Salary Range
~ $165,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Public Works Commissioners do?

If you want to understand the job of a Public Works Commissioner, the first thing you need to know is what a public works department does. In a city or town, this is the department that handles all projects intended for public use. The department plans and builds things like parks, bridges, dams, and drainage systems — basically anything built by the local government to help out their citizens. As the Commissioner of this department, you oversee its work, making sure projects are done on time and citizens stay happy.

Part Accountant, part Engineer, and part Project Manager, you have a combination of responsibilities. The reason for these multiple roles is that the Public Works Commissioner reviews and approves all the projects your department takes on. In the beginning stages, you check the budget, read over the plans to see if they make sense, and listen to any concerned citizens. You then present the plan to a city council, and advocate for the funds or permission to get the job started.

When the project begins, you’re involved in the scheduling of the work. This usually entails coordinating with other departments like parks or transportation, so you should brush up on your collaboration and communication skills. You also work with construction companies, be they private or public, to write up and negotiate building contracts. As the work progresses, you ensure that it’s being done on time and within budget.

Though the Public Works Commissioner is the one in charge of making sure things get done, for the most part, you’re not the one actually doing the work. This means there’s a huge human resources component to the job. You find and hire quality employees, arrange for their training, and then oversee the work they do.

Should I be a Public Works Commissioner?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Commissioner, Public Works, Public Works Director

    How to Become a
    Public Works Commissioner

    Most Public Works Commissioners have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aca9yh&chl=|certificate+%283%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2864%25%29|master%27s+%2825%25%29|doctorate+%288%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,64
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