- Career Development
Publications & Research
- Partner with ICMA
News & Events
Resources on understanding the looming talent crisis, hiring a manager, assisting first-time managers, building an internship program, planning for succession, and more.
ICMA University Online Programs --- webinars, e-courses, certificate programs, workshops, and more --- offer a variety of local government fundamentals, trends, and hot topics to help you and your staff thrive in the profession. Upcoming Webinars Our live webinars are designed to help give you what you need to stay ahead in the profession. On Demand Webinars Access our complete library of previously recorded webinars organized by category. Completion of most OnDemand webinars can be worth up to 1.50 continuing education hours. Virtual Conference Webcasts Experience sessions from ICMA’s Annual Conference and to partake in the learning even if you were not able to attend the on-site conference. Webinar Series: Effective Supervisory Practices This six-part webinar series is a must for any jurisdiction looking to lead change, improve customer service, or strengthen communication between supervisors and staff. Webinar Series: A Budgeting Guide for Local Government This three-part webinar series takes a forward-looking, strategic approach to budgeting while showing you how to improve the process and promote economic vitality in your community. Local Government 101 Online Certificate Program Local Government 101 goes back to the basics – grounding local government professionals in those key skills and practices that are the foundation of becoming an effective local government manager. Local Government 201 Online Certificate Program This interactive online certificate program is designed to help new and mid-career managers, assistant managers, and even career-changers new to local government, go beyond the basics and gain a deeper understanding of key focus areas in local government management. Ethics 101 E-course This self-paced program helps you train your staff in the fundamentals of ethical behavior. International Online Learning Expand your knowledge with certificate programs and training materials for individuals and educational programs around the world. Webinar Subscription Program Stay on top of emerging trends and issues facing local government with an annual subscription to ICMA University webinars.
ICMA's Voluntary Credentialing Program recognizes professional local government managers and promotes lifelong learning.
ICMA co-developed the assessment to help members and others assess their knowledge for the purpose of professional development planning.
Guidelines and resources for planning professional development activities and participating in the Voluntary Credentialing Program
Members have earned the ICMA-CM (ICMA Credentialed Manager) or the ICMA Credentialed Manager Candidate designation as part of the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program.
Special Invitation to Credentialed Managers You’ve devoted your career to local government management and improving the communities where you’ve served. ICMA invites you to become a “Legacy Leader” and help enrich the profession by mentoring the next generation, supporting their professional development, and encouraging them to belong to ICMA as the professional organization that meets their unique needs. Credentialed managers who fulfill the following commitments each year will belong to the Legacy Leaders in honor of the legacy you bring to the profession every time you advise a young professional from your community or another community about the rewards of life in the local government trenches. To join the Legacy Leaders, you need to fulfill one of the requirements below: Recruit an ICMA member, or Sponsor (financially support) or recruit at least one Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP), Mid-Career Management Institute (MCMI), or Leadership ICMA participant, or Sponsor a Local Government Management Fellow (LGMF) AND Coach a participant in the Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP), Mid-Career Manager's Institute (MCMI), or in a comparable state-sponsored program such as CAL-ICMA for two years. The coach's responsibilities include: Serving as a sounding board and career coach throughout the year Attending a state association meeting, regional meeting, or ICMA Annual Conference with the participant if possible During the second year of the ELDP or MCMI program, approve completion of the course and sign off on your emerging leader or mid-career manager's final project prior to graduation Recruit at least one new member each year ICMA celebrates the commitment of Legacy Leaders Mark Achen James Antonen Mike Baker Frank Benest Jim Bennett Barb Blumenfield Wally Bobkiewicz Susan Boyer Rob Braulik Richard Brown Patrick Cannon Ed Daley Daniel Fitzpatrick Mike Garvey Sam Gaston Wes Hare Gary Huff Mary Jacobs Steven C. Jones Roger Kemp Jon Lewis George Liyeos Tom Lundy Tom Markus Bob McEvoy Peggy Merriss Jim Mullen Tim O'Donnell Bob O’Neill Andy Pederson Douglas Schulze Cynthia Seelhammer Ted Staton Greg Sund Carl Swenson Nancy Watt Rod Wood Lee Worsley Making a difference in the life of a promising young professional does not need to take a lot of time from your busy schedule. Coaching can be done through phone calls and e-mails in just a few hours a month. Think back on the mentors who advised you in the early years of your career. This is your opportunity to do the same for others. Encouraging their interests, helping them build on their strengths, and giving them career advice not only helps them pursue this profession, it ensures that the next generation will be in the pipeline to provide the caliber of professionalism that enriches our communities. After one year of coaching and recruiting or sponsoring one member or emerging leaders program participant, you will earn the designation of Legacy Leader. To maintain the designation in the second year, you will continue coaching for another year and recruit one more member or emerging leaders program participant. After that, each year Legacy Leaders will select from a menu of different activities that enrich the profession in order to maintain Legacy Leaders status. In addition to the activities above, the list includes establishing an intern position in your community or with neighboring communities, hosting an Emerging Leaders Development Program or Leadership ICMA discussion group, and reaching out to students in your community to improve their knowledge of local government or to encourage young people to consider the profession. To find out more, e-mail and we’ll contact you with additional information.
Information about how to apply for and renew ICMA's voluntary credential
Coaching helps everyone benefit from sharing best practices and gaining perspectives from others with a fresh perspective.
Do you like to make things work more efficiently and cost effectively? Do you enjoy bringing out the best in the people you work with? Do you want to make a real difference in the city, town, or county where you live and work? If you answered yes to these questions, consider a career as a professional local government manager! Known by various titles—city manager, county administrator, town manager, chief administrative officer (CAO)—these dedicated leaders are at the core of better cities, towns, boroughs, villages, and counties everywhere. Hot? Yes! What makes a career as a local government manager so hot? According to ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, in 1971, 71 percent of professional city, town, and county managers were age 40 or younger; 26 percent were under age 30. In 2006, only about 13 percent of local government CAOs were under age 40, and only one percent were age 30 or younger! The 78-million-strong baby boom generation, which helped grow the local government management profession in the expanding U.S. suburbs during the 1960s and 1970s, will be retiring at an alarming rate, and not a lot of people are queued up to fill the void. Future generations of prospective managers are much smaller in number, and for many people under age 30, “public service” means working for a nonprofit or the state or federal government and not for the cities, towns, and counties where they live. In short, this relatively unknown field is wide open to talented young professionals or career changers who want to make a difference and contribute to the future success of their communities. What does a local government manager do? What exactly does a professional manager do? A typical day in the life of a local government manager can involve everything from overseeing a community’s law enforcement, fire, and emergency response operations to implementing a new recycling program to ensuring that the tap water you drink and shower with when you wake up every morning is safe and plentiful. City and county managers are responsible for making sure that basic services such as utilities, sanitation, and road maintenance are provided efficiently to citizens in their community. These highly trained, experienced women and men are committed to meeting these challenges each and every day, 24 hours a day. The job involves working with a range of individuals involved in public safety, public works, economic development, and dozens of other service areas to move their community toward a common goal and respond to problems efficiently and effectively. Until now, you may have thought that most of these basic functions were overseen directly by an elected mayor. Perhaps you personally know the person who serves as mayor, board chairman, or chief elected official in the city, town, or county where you live. In nearly 85 percent of U.S. cities with populations greater than 2,500, however, and in an additional 372 counties, there is also a professional manager in place who’s responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the community. Professional managers add considerable value to their communities, including: Freeing up members of the governing body to develop a community vision and related policies; Providing the expertise of a highly trained, nonpolitical, experienced professional who has the experience, administrative qualifications, and education to produce results; Providing accountability to citizens through the elected governing body, the people who hire the manager as an “at-will” employee and who can fire that person at any time through a majority vote. Professional managers who are members of ICMA also subscribe to a stringently enforced Code of Ethics that governs not only their professional but their personal actions as well. I want in! What do I do next? So what does it take to get started in this dynamic career? In 2006, nearly two-thirds of city, town, and county managers surveyed possessed a master’s degree in public administration (MPA), public policy, business administration, or some other type of advanced degree. A good first step after graduate school is to complete an internship or fellowship with a city, town, or county government. These types of experiences can give a candidate the advantage of a “boots-on-the-ground” understanding of the field prior to applying for a specific management position. In addition to an advanced educational degree, other knowledge, skills, and abilities are also critical to individuals considering a career as a professional local government manager. These include: human resource management, communication, financial analysis, staff facilitation, and strategic planning. Technology literacy is also an important skill set. Just imagine being the person overseeing the upgrade of an IT system for an entire community! Many city, town, and county managers begin their careers in local government as a management or budget analyst. This experience allows them to become familiar with the inner workings of local government and prepares them for a smooth transition into a top-level management position. So, what's the catch? No catch. On average, city, town, and county managers can earn between $90,000 and $110,000. Managers also enjoy excellent benefits, including deferred compensation, and employment contract, and sometimes even a car or automobile expenses. Combine all this with the ability to make a difference and the dynamic, ever-changing nature of the work, and you’ve got a job that lets you make a difference without making a financial sacrifice. Now that you know what a professional manager does and what it takes to become one, is it the career for you? Young people entering the workforce and career changers interested in improving their communities should be attracted to this career, as it offers a practically unlimited opportunity to make a real difference. Ex-military personnel may also be attracted to the leadership and public service aspects of the job, and they are likely to be very well suited for it! Hard working, driven, and results oriented individuals will also enjoy a career as a professional local government manager. Explore more... Don’t miss out on what one of the hottest careers you’ve probably never heard of. If, after reading this article, a career as a professional city, town, or county manager sounds exciting to you, and you think you have what it takes to succeed in this field, visit Job Center and explore additional resources, discussion groups, and job opportunities. For more information about MPA/MPP programs throughout the U.S., visit naspaa.org.
Increasing opportunities for those who will be the local government leaders of tomorrow.
Professional local government management must attract and cultivate a diverse and talented group of individuals dedicated to the highest ideals of public service.
This section holds resources and links for academics, adjunct professors, civics teachers, and explorers of professional local government management.