See a list of Public Administration Programs by Clicking Here!
What is Public Administration?
Public administration is an area of study and occupation that deals with the management and oversight of public organizations and facilities. Individuals working in this field typically deal with day to day operational concerns, budget development and management, employee relations, project oversight and implementation, and any number of other tasks associated with public, (government operated) facilities and organizations. Individuals may also work with non-governmental, non-profit organizations, which typically function in a similar manner, also dealing with public policy issues and attempting to change public perception or to educate regarding a specific issues related to the organization or office. Issues affecting public policy and lawmaking often require input from public administrators, particularly if the organization is responsible for the gathering of resources and information relevant to the law at hand, and as a result individuals in this field must be educated and prepared, understanding both research methodology and information collection while maintaining standard office practice within budget.
A degree in public administration will prepare individuals to work in the public sector in administrative or managerial positions. Students studying public administration will learn how to operate services or agencies within a limited budget, planning for yearly expenditures and developing programs and tasks within available means. Students will study public policy, and learn how such policies can affect individuals at varying levels of government. Students will be exposed to various social sciences in order to better understand how government policies work, the processes by which decisions are made, and how to implement multiple disciplines in order to find working and reasonable solutions.
Degrees in public administration are available from the associate level onward, with higher level degrees offering more employment opportunities. Individuals seeking an education in public administration will typically pursue a master of public administration (MPA), which will open up employment opportunities at the managerial level.
A curriculum in public policy may include:
- Intergovernmental Relations
- Legislative Processes
- Administrative Law
- Project Management
- Public Sector Budgeting
Careers in public administration can be found at the local, state, and national level. Individuals in administrative positions will work to maintain seamless operation under a limited budget while working toward goals outlined by the government in the formation of a given agency. Individuals will be tasked with finding solutions to various issues that will present themselves as programs take effect, including managing public expectations and presenting factual reports. Some individuals will find their experience as public administrators beneficial in entering politics, where a background working on social issues and public projects can be demonstrative of their ability to represent citizens.
Individuals may also find work with non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations. These individuals will work toward utilizing limited budgets and resources to help realize programs and goals of the organization. Such administrators will have a high amount of responsibility and will often work alongside government agencies or representatives in order to present findings and offer opinions in regards to policy.
Job Growth, Salary, and Related Fields
Career opportunities for public administrators are expected to grow steadily over the next decade. Job openings tend to arise from retirement, promotion or movement into the private sector by individuals. The average salary of a public administrator can vary based on experience, position, location and employer, and can be as high as $120,000 per year to as low as $20,000 per year.