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What is Public Policy?
Public policy is the area of study and practice that deals with the implementation of social science theory into practice through the formation of laws. Individuals in this field will utilize research and information to identify issues and find ways to counter or curb problems within a given system. Objectives may be met through changes in funding, various courses of action, public measures and changes on law.
People who study public policy typically pursue at least a master's degree. Some undergraduate programs do exist, but a majority of individuals will have earned a degree in a social science or liberal arts when beginning their graduate public policy curriculum. Individuals studying this field will have exposure to multiple social sciences, as well as the various data collection and analyses methods used by such fields in order to better understand and assist the public good.
A curriculum in public policy may include:
- Political Science
- Public Planning
Individuals with an education in public policy typically seek out employment within the government, either as staff for a political candidate, a researcher, or any number of other fields that rely on the education and experience of public policy specialist. Individuals with enough education and experience may in turn pursue teaching opportunities. A number of individuals may choose to seek office, relying on one's own education and experience as well as those working with him in order to affect change. Jobs in this area are highly competitive, and as such some individuals may turn to other fields through additional education, such as becoming lawyers, in order to maintain a career.
Job Growth, Salary and Related Fields
Job growth is expected remain limited in this field due to the high education requirement and limited number of positions available. As a result the field is highly competitive, be it for practical, political or research positions. Individuals attempting to gain employment in this field should work early to establish important connections in order to be able to track down or secure employment. The average salary for individuals with working within the field of public policy is over $100,000 dollars annually, but these numbers can be greatly influenced based on experience, education, type of employment, position, and location.