Public Admin.

Public administrators plan and implement programs for the federal, state or local government, as well as some nonprofit organizations. Keep reading to learn about academic requirements, employment options and earnings for aspiring public administrators.

Is Public Administration for Me?

Career Overview

Professionals who work in public administration, also known as public affairs or public policy, provide leadership and management services for local and state governments, the federal government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Entry-level requirements include a Bachelor of Public Administration (BPA); advanced positions may require a Master of Public Administration (MPA). Some public administrators also earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Public Administration, through which they learn how to create policies, coordinate social activities or handle a company's public relations. Advanced professionals may earn a Doctor of Public Administration (DPA), either on campus or online. Completion of a graduate program may prepare you for a management position in a nonprofit organization or for a higher-level position with the federal or a state government. Some government positions may also require experience in the field.

Career Options

As an aspiring public administrator, you may pursue a variety of career options, such as those in urban and regional planning or social and community services. You may also be employed as an industrial or labor relations specialist, city manager, consumer safety inspector or grant writer. Some public administrators oversee economic, environmental and housing programs. Additional government work may be found in justice, international affairs or national security.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of human resources managers, as well as urban and regional planners, was expected to increase by an average rate nationwide from 2012-2022. An average rate of growth was also projected for top executives during the same 10-year period, including city planners, county administrators and mayors. By comparison, social and community service managers can expect a faster-than-average increase in job openings from 2012-2022.

Salaries for public administrators can vary. For example, as reported by the BLS in May 2013, the median annual salary for a chief executive was $171,610, while human resources manager earned $100,800. As of the same month, urban and regional planners had median annual incomes of $65,650, while social and community service managers earned $61,160 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Find a Job In Public Admin?

Education

Through a certificate or degree program in public administration, you'll acquire the key skills you'll need to hire employees, manage programs or organize events. As a public administration major, your coursework may include the study of administrative principles, business operations, government structure and public finance. You'll learn how to assess the needs of your staff, allocate funds to meet those needs and work as a member of a team. You'll also find out how to evaluate existing policies or develop new ones, create budgets and generate funds for projects.

In a graduate program, such as an MBA, you'll explore administrative theories and have the opportunity to apply them in a real-world business or government setting. On-campus or online doctoral programs can show you how to plan government programs; you'll also examine the roles played by different government agencies. In an MPA or a DPA program, you might also acquire advanced skills in grant and policy writing or urban planning.

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