Public administration is concerned with the organization and implementation of government policies and programs. If you wish to start or further your career in administration or management in the local, state, or federal government, you should consider getting a public administration degree. The education provided will prepare you to work in this field, and if you are already working in it, then a higher degree will enable you to progress further in your career.
On this page you can find out more about public administration programs, where the courses are, what jobs you can get and what you can earn. If you wish to find out more about studying at a traditional college or university go to the campus universities page.
What is studied in public administration programs?
Degree programs in this field are available at several levels. An associates degree can gain one an entry level job. But anyone interested in this field should at least consider a four year college degree, and bear in mind that those with more education will have increased job opportunities. Courses will probably include ones which cover: the foundations of public administration, public finance, human resource management, public-private collaboration, privatization, strategic planning, participative governance, contracting, and public policy formulation.
It is possible to take public administration as a major or a concentration in a business degree, designed to give graduates the knowledge, skills, and values to effectively apply various business principles and tools in the public administration setting.
Many may choose to complete their bachelors and go on to obtain a Masters or PhD degree later when they have gained experience in the field.
Career prospects for graduates of public administration
As a graduate of a public administration program you would have knowledge of public policies and good budget planning skills. In this way, you would be thoroughly prepared for a job where you can work for elected officials. While most graduates will obtain a government position, a few find jobs with schools and other private businesses or organizations. The private sector of this field can be quite interesting, and includes areas such as religious organizations, political groups, and other special interest groups. The responsibilities will be roughly the same in both sectors, private and public. Usually this job will require you to be responsible in a managerial type position for the people working under you, as well as making sure that goals are met. Typical jobs would include human resources manager, health care administrator, city manager, and municipal manager.
The expected salary and career outlook for those with a public administration degree will vary greatly depending upon ones degree, experience in the field, and job type. However, the median salary for those starting at entry level is around $45,000 in the first year. After ten years experience, this median salary grows to $74,000, and to $86,000 after twenty years of experience. This is definitely a job where skilled experience can be to your advantage. Keep in mind that salaries in government and education tend to be lower, with non profit organizations paying the least. While public administration is a broad field requiring a host of skills, those who get a good degree will have a competitive edge in the field.
List of schools and programs