You know that you care about your community, and you want to make a difference. A bachelor’s in public administration and policy is the perfect way to do it. Whether you’re interested in working at the local, state, or federal level, a public administration degree can be the perfect way to help ensure that people get the services to which they’re entitled, and that public policies are properly implemented.
Many people wonder, “what is public administration?” The public administration definition is fairly simple: it’s the process of implementing policies by civil servants, within the government’s framework. Basically, the public administration definition means that people who work in the public administration field work to ensure that government policies are implemented in the most effective way possible for the people they serve.
What Is Public Administration, And Is A Public Administration Degree Worth It?
There are many benefits of studying public administration. When you get a public administration degree, you’ll learn about the ins and outs of government work, and how to effectively implement government policies in a way that benefits the people the government serves. You’ll learn how to work around government red tape, finding ways to create positive change, save money, and help the government run more smoothly. One of the biggest benefits of studying public administration is that after you graduate, you’ll get to directly impact the community you choose to serve.
If you’ve always wanted to get into government work, but want to stay out of politics, working in public administration may be the perfect fit for you. For people wondering, “is a degree in public administration worth it?” the answer is often yes for people who want to take an active role in creating positive change.
Where Can A Public Administrator Work?
One of the important considerations when you’re working to answer the question, “is a degree in public administration worth it?” is to understand the various settings in which you’re likely to work after you graduate. Most people who have their degree in public administration work for local, state, or federal government.
In the federal government, the answer to, “where can a public administrator work?” can vary. Governmental agencies where public administrators are likely to work include the US Postal Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and more.
While most people who get their public administration degree work for the government, some work for educational institutions, businesses in the private sector, non-government organizations, and non-profit organizations. Some people who work in public administration work abroad, and may travel frequently to learn how governments around the world implement programs to help their citizens.
Public Policy Vs Public Administration
As you research, “is a degree in public administration worth it?” you’re likely to encounter information on public policy. It’s key to understand the difference between public administration and public policy in order to decide which option makes the most sense for your career goals.
The difference between public policy and public administration is simple: public policy is the research and development of policies that the organizations and governments want to implement, and public administration is the actual implementation of the policies. While you’re searching to understand public administration vs public policy, remember, public policy creates the policies, public administration actually puts the policies to use.
After understanding the difference between public administration and public policy, it’s important to decide which path makes the most sense for you. You may want to talk to local government officials about their experiences working with public administration vs public policy to get a firsthand account that may help you decide which option is a better fit for you. While the difference between public policy and public administration may seem subtle, there’s a fairly stark difference: public policy is about ideas and development, while public administration is about implementation.
Now that you understand the difference between public policy vs public administration, let’s take a look at some of the different factors you’ll want to consider as you work to answer the question, “is a public administration degree worth it?”
Accreditation for Public Administration and Policy Programs
When you’re searching for the best public policy schools in the world, you want to be sure that you choose a school that has regional accreditation. The top schools for public administration will hold a regional accreditation, as this is considered the gold standard when it comes to college accreditation. When you’re searching for the top schools for public administration, there’s no need to search for schools that have been specifically accredited for a public administration program. There are no governing bodies that accredit programs at the bachelor’s level.
When you’re searching for the best public policy schools in the world, be sure that the schools you’re considering have been accredited by one of the following regional accreditation agencies:
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
When you’re researching public administration program accreditation, you’ll find that schools that have been accredited by one of the above agencies are highly respected. Public administration program accreditation means that the school has been reviewed and meets the high standards of the accreditation agency. You’ll be able to rest assured that your degree program is fully preparing you for a career in public administration.
You’re not the only one who is concerned about accreditation – your future employer will be looking to be sure you’ve completed an accredited program as well. When you have a degree from an accredited program, you’re proving that you’ve gone through rigorous training, and you’re fully prepared to take on the challenges of a career in public administration.
Types of Public Administration Degrees
When you’re getting ready to start earning your bachelor’s degree in public administration, you’ll have many choices to make, including what type of education you’d like to pursue (whether you’d like to get your traditional or online public administration degree), as well as whether you’d like to pursue a concentration in a specialized area of public administration.
Online, Hybrid, And Traditional Options For Your Bachelor Of Public Administration Degree
There are several options for earning your degree. Deciding whether traditional, hybrid, or online degrees in public administration are the best fit for you can take some special consideration and research. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each different type of learning experience.
Online Degrees In Public Administration
When you’re looking at programs that offer online degrees in public administration, you’re likely searching for a program that is convenient and able to be completed on your own time. Public administration degrees online are just as respected as traditional, in-classroom degrees. There are many benefits to online learning, including the ability to learn at your own pace and on your own time. You’re also able to do your classwork anywhere, which can save money when it comes to transportation and housing. As you search for public administration online degrees, Some people who earn an online public administration degree miss the face-to-face interaction of a traditional classroom setting, and may find that a hybrid option is a better fit.
Hybrid Public Administration Online Degrees
Earning a hybrid degree can be a great option if you want the convenience of online learning but also enjoy the face-to-face interaction provided in the traditional classroom setting. In a hybrid program, you’ll complete some of your coursework online, while also going to campus for some face-to-face sessions. Many students find that a hybrid program offers the best of both worlds, allowing for both learning on their own time and enjoying face-to-face conversation with professors and other students. One con of hybrid programs is that they tend to cost more than fully online programs, as you’re paying for some of the classroom time that goes with a traditional program.
Traditional Bachelor Of Public Administration Degrees
In a traditional program, you fully attend class on campus, engaging in discussions with your classmates and professors face to face. This type of learning also tends to be the most expensive, as you need to account for travel to and from campus and/ or living on campus, in addition to books and tuition.
Bachelor Of Public Administration Degree Specialties
When learning more about public administration online degrees, you’ll find that many degrees offer specialties that can allow you to become an expert in a certain area of public administration. Some of the specialties you’re most likely to see offered within online bachelors in public administration programs include:
- Public finance problem solving
- Program development
- Human resource and labor relations
- Management strategies
- Critical thinking
- Public policy formulation
When you earn your online bachelors in public administration, you can also choose to take a general course of study, without a specialty. This type of online bachelor’s degree in public administration will still allow you to become well suited to a job within the government, or the public or private sector. You may choose to start your online bachelor’s in public administration with a general course of study, and then choose a specialty as you learn more about the field. Regardless of whether you choose a specialty, earning your online bachelor’s degree in public administration will prepare you for a job that will positively affect your community, state, or country for years to come.
Certifications for Public Administration Professionals
When pursuing your degree in public administration, you want to be sure that you’re doing all you can to prove to future employers that you’re ready to take on the tasks at hand.
Earing a certificate of public administration as you work through your undergraduate coursework can provide you with a leg up when it comes to applying for jobs after graduation. If you’re a nontraditional student who is working while also earning your degree, earning a certificate of public administration in conjunction with your degree can open up new career opportunities before you graduate. A public administration certificate can also open up immediate opportunities at your current job, allowing you to progress forward in your career as you go through your education.
A public administration certificate at the undergraduate level is a great fit for people who are working in the government or for non-profit organizations. It’s a good idea to talk to your employer to find out if they’ll pay for part or all of your public administration certification. Many employers are happy to pay for public administration certification, as it provides you with the skills you need to become a more effective employee.
Earning A Public Administration Certificate Online
When you’re thinking about earning your public administration certificate, note that there are many options to get your public administration certification online. An online certificate in public administration is just as valuable as a traditional certification in public administration. Getting your public administration certification online can make it easier for you to work while also getting your education, especially if you’re pursuing your bachelor’s degree at the same time. Earning your online public administration certificate can also provide your employer with assurance that you’ll be able to do your work on your own time while keeping up with the responsibilities of your job.
Earning your certification in public administration is a smart move for furthering your career goals. As you earn your online certificate in public administration, you’ll achieve a solid base of knowledge in public administration and public policy, and you’ll learn more about what it takes to properly implement government programs. Earning your online public administration certificate will allow you to speak with authority on policy implementation matters that affect the community you serve.
Now that you understand the importance of earning your public administration certificate online, let’s take a look at the careers that will open up for you after you finish your certification and/ or your degree.
Careers in Public Administration and Public Policy
When you’re completing your degree in public administration, it’s important that you think carefully about the type of public administration jobs you’d like to pursue. There are many options for public administration careers. When you’re searching for jobs with a degree in public administration, you’ll want to consider whether you’d like to work in the government, in the public/ private business sector, or for a non-profit organization. All of these options have public administration jobs that work well for someone who has completed their degree. Let’s take a look at some public administration job examples so you can get a better idea of the public administration careers that might be a good fit for you.
Public Administration Job Examples
Understanding potential future job titles is a key part of knowing the answer to the question, “what can I do with a bachelor’s in public administration?” Know that this is by no means an exhaustive list of public administration degree jobs. You’ll find that public administration job titles vary widely, and public administration careers and salaries can differ greatly from region to region, or from company to company. When you earn your public administration degree, you’ll have a well-rounded education that leaves you well prepared for many public administration degree jobs.
What Can I Do With A Degree In Public Administration?
- Federal government worker
- Local government worker
- City manager
- Public administration consultant
- Budget director
- Education administrator
- Research associate
- Nonprofit director
- City mayor
- Human resources director
What Jobs Can You Get With A Public Policy Degree?
It’s important to remember that the answers to the questions, “what can I do with a degree in public administration?” and “what jobs can you get with a public policy degree?” are different, as public policy involves the development of policies, while administration involves the implementation of said policies.
What Can I Do With A Bachelors In Public Administration? What To Expect From Public Administration Work
When you’re researching, “what can I do with a public administration degree?” you’ll find that most jobs in the sector work to serve others. Jobs with a public administration degree typically focus on public service. As you’re searching for the perfect public administration job description for your career interests, know that jobs with a public policy degree can vary greatly in terms of what they require from day to day. You may also find that your public administration job description changes when new elected officials take office. It’s important to be flexible in jobs with a public administration degree and jobs with a public policy degree. While procedures and goals within your office may change, the bottom line is the same: working hard to ensure that programs and initiatives are implemented in a way that benefit the community you serve.
Now that you know the answer to the question, “what can I do with a public administration degree?” let’s take a look at the salary range you can expect from the above public administration job titles. When you work jobs with a degree in public administration, you’re clearly concerned about working for the betterment of your community – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a comfortable salary. Public administration careers and salaries can be lucrative. Let’s learn more.
Public Administration Salary
Understanding the public administration degree salary and the public policy degree salary ranges can be an important part of deciding whether this type of work is a good fit for you. Your degree in public administration salary will depend on many factors, such as where you work, your education, and your prior experience. Remember that public administration degree jobs salaries may be negotiable, and it’s always a good idea to leverage your education and experience to try to increase your initial public administration bachelor degree salary offer. Let’s take a look at what you can expect for your public administration degree salary and public policy degree salary range.
Public Administration Degree Jobs Salaries
Remember, the numbers below for degree in public administration salary are subject to change with time, and are heavily dependent on the cost of living in your area. Each public administration bachelor degree salary listed here is an average salary, and it’s unlikely that this number will be your exact salary. With hard work and experience, your salary can rise far beyond where you start when you accept your first job offer.
- Federal government worker – $45,000 per year
- Local government worker – $41,000 per year
- City manager – $86,000 per year
- Public administration consultant – $72,000 per year
- Budget director – $89,000 per year
- Education administrator – $61,000 per year
- Research associate – $51,000 per year
- Nonprofit director – $63,000 per year
- City mayor – $61,000 per year
- Human resources director – $84,000 per year
This is a shortlist of the titles that are possible for you after you earn your public administration degree. Since a public administration degree offers a well-rounded education that will leave you well suited for many career fields, your options for employment after graduation are likely to be numerous.
Joining professional organizations during and after completing your education can be a fun way to get to know other people in the field, stay connected, learn about networking opportunities, find exciting continuing education opportunities, and learn about job openings. If you’re ready to get a job in the public administration field, it’s a good idea to join several professional organizations in order to stay on top of the latest research and development in public administration, as well as to stay connected to your colleagues.
Professional organizations for public administration professionals that you may want to consider joining include:
- American Society for Public Administration
- National Academy of Public Administration
- American Public Works Association
- American Public Human Services Association
Be sure to talk with your professors and professionals in your field about which professional organizations they recommend to suit your specific interests and career goals.