Careers In City Management


At various points in your life, you have probably pondered the potential of mainstream jobs like being a lawyer, doctor, teacher, service industry worker, or 100 different other types of income-producing activities. One kind of career that may never have crossed your mind is that of city management. And it’s a vocation that is in need!

If you’re pursuing a career in city management, there are many underlying and very fascinating topics that you have to understand. Three of the big ones are understanding water systems, necessary city infrastructure, and the importance of geography and history. With those in mind, it’s essential that you pursue the right type of education to get to your goal as well.

The Water System 

As a city manager, you have to coordinate contracts concerning the city’s water system. Understanding groundwater treatment or knowing someone who understands this topic is vital. The last thing you want is a city without clean water. Just look at the disaster in Flint right now, and you see the failure of the city managers in living color. As an administrator, you have to have a firm base and conceptual knowledge about how water works.

Understanding Infrastructure 

Beyond the plumbing and sewage systems, a city manager also has to know the infrastructure of a town. How does the electrical grid work? How do the telephone lines and cable lines run through the city? If you want a career in city management, you have to be able to talk to these contractors and major suppliers to ensure construction go smoothly. City and state taxes will flow into your budget so that you can pay the right people to make your city a better place to live. You are in charge of the standard of living of many people!

The Importance of Geography and History 

Cities, townships, and communities are often constructed based on geography and history. A lot of times, growth over the years makes it so that people don’t even remember why borders are the way they are. As a city manager, you have to appreciate the culture of the community that you are serving and make decisions based on the past, the present, and the future.

What Education Do You Need 

Not anyone can be a city manager. Because of the full range of topics that you have to understand, a fair amount of education is required. Beyond this, you probably won’t jump immediately into a management position. You may have to go through the administrative chain of command and do smaller jobs while you’re working your way up. It’s in these lower positions where you’ll get a lot of the information that you need when you ultimately do make it to a position of power and responsibility.

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