Public Administration Programs and Careers
Find the information you’ll need to get a degree and start a public administration career.
Public administrators ensure that government—the executive branches of national, state and local governments as well as committees and departments formed by these governments—are well-run and of effective service to society, thereby ensuring the public good.
Those completing public administration programs work in all levels of governmental departments, organizations and agencies, as well as in a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. In its most idealistic essence, public administrators help make government work for all factions of society.
The field of public administration pulls its core concepts from several other areas of study, including:
- Political science
- Business and administrative law
- Business management
- Behavioral sciences and psychology
Although public administration draws on many of the same principles as business administration, the fundamental focus of business administration concerns business organization and profit, while public administration is primarily concerned with public service and policy.
After Public Administration Programs – What Next?
After completing public administration programs, students will be qualified to work in government, non-government and non-profit careers. A public administration or public policy degree opens doors in local, state or federal government in areas such as finance, administration and organizational governance, or in public services such as health care. Career options may include social work, city planning and administration direction.
Public administration programs will teach not only public policy, but business basics such as marketing, public relations and human resources. Those pursuing a degree in public administration would be wise to takes classes in information technology as well, as computers play an ever-increasing role in administrative life.
Public Administration Degrees
- Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree is a necessary first step for those who are interested in public administration. In bachelor’s public administration programs, you’ll learn the rudimentary basics of leadership and management, media relations, strategic planning and grants and fundraising.
- Master of Public Administration (MPA): If you’re interested in management or executive careers, either governmental, nongovernmental or in the nonprofit sector, a Master of Public Administration, or MPA, is a must. In these public administration programs, you’ll learn everything from organizational and financial management to professional ethics as they apply to the public sector. Popular careers with an MPA include City Manager, Human Resources Manager and Executive Director of a nonprofit organization.
- Master of Public Policy (MPP): The Master of Public Policy is a professional degree that focuses on the analysis of issues relating to public policy. With this degree, you’ll learn statistics, cost-benefit analysis and microeconomics in relation to public policy issues.
- Doctor of Public Administration (DPA): The Doctor of Public Administration is primarily an applied research degree and intends to provide senior-level management with a thorough knowledge of legal, ethical and political environments of public administrators.
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