What is Public Administration?

The public administration definition is very broad, but an MPA program prepares professionals in many ways. In simple terms, public administration can be defined as “governing.” When a person works in the field of public administration, he or she is expected to plan and manage government policies. Public administrators have positions in local, state, and federal departments. Public administrators are expected to ensure their departments run efficiently and provide services that benefit the community as a whole. Job duties associated with public administration jobs include budget management, human resources, labor relations, and ethics codes. A public administration definition may state that as part of the job, workers are asked to ensure all regulations are followed. Public administrators are expected to serve the public’s best interests.

In a public administration job, a professional will research and implement policies while ensuring programs remain within budget. Public administrators are also responsible for the collection and analyses of data. They will look at records such as budget reports, surveys, and historical figures to determine if any policy adjustments are needed. Public administrators need to know what the government can and cannot do and follow best practices to avoid wasteful spending and reduced efficiency. Through public administration, community problems are solved. For instance, if a certain area in the community is prone to high crime, a public administrator would be responsible for coming up with fiscally responsible and effective solutions to reduce crime rates.

Where Can a Public Administrator Work?

Public administrators often secure government positions, but they can gain employment with private and non-profit organizations too. Federal government workers are typically paid higher salaries than public administrators at the local and state level. Job titles within the government for public administrators include researcher, budget manager, financial officer, human resources manager, labor relations director, and head of general operations.

Healthcare agencies typically hire public administrators to handle the facility’s operations, manage human resources, and oversee the budget. Independent businesses typically fill management positions with public administration degree holders. CFO, CEO, director, and human resources manager are job titles suitable for public administration degree graduates.

Another place where a public administrator can work is a non-profit organization. Non-profit directors, public relations managers, and program directors are all jobs responsible for improving the way an organization is run. Private practice is another option for public administrators. Consultants can be hired on an outsourced basis to resolve a company’s internal issues.

What are the Educational Requirements for Public Administration Jobs?

For consideration of top management jobs, a master’s in public administration is typically required. To prepare for public administration courses, many students graduate with some type of business degree. However, most public administration degree programs will accept students with any bachelor’s degree.

Job seekers will find a significant number of benefits of studying public administration. For one, the degree is ideal for those who wish to assume leadership roles in the future. Since public administration degrees focus on a variety of subjects, including finance, ethics, and law, graduates are prepared for careers in any sector.

Public administrators earn competitive salaries. According to salary data compiled by Indeed, the average salary for public administrators ranges between $37,000 and $90,000. Moreover, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that top executives make an average of $104,980 per year. In many cases, professionals will enroll in a master’s in administration at the mid-point of their careers for promotion consideration.

Along with earning a master’s degree in public administration, students can also work toward certifications. Certification examples include city management, non-profit management, homeland security, and public policy. Many of these certificate courses can be taken simultaneously with required public administration major classes.

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