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What Can You Do With a Degree in Public Administration?

Apr 10, 2013 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Education.org Columnist | 0 Comments

A public administration degree is a management degree for public service. Many people who earn public administration degrees work for the government, although some work for nonprofit agencies as well. For many careers in public administration, you’ll need a Master’s degree—especially if you’re working for the federal government. Some, however, require only a Bachelor’s. Here’s an overview of some of the options you have with a degree in public administration.

Policy advisor


Policy advisors work with policy analysts to inform them about issues relevant to making good policy. For instance, a
policy advisor might deliver advice on a specific government
program—whether or not the program was effective, its
results, and its challenges. Policy analysts use this
information to make decisions and changes to
policies. Policy advisors also determine practical
ways to put policies approved by the government
into practice.

See Also: Online Public Administration Degree Program

Policy analyst

Policy analysts both formulate and evaluate government policies. They may work for the government or for nonprofit agencies, conducting research and consulting with people affected by the policy. Policy analysts may look at existing policies and determine where further needs and opportunities lie, in order to determine a better path for new policies. The work requires a familiarity with data analysis and statistics.

See Also: Online MPA Degree Programs

City manager

City managers work at the local government level, determining what social programs are most needed, manage their design, and direct their implementation. As a city manager, you may have a role in overseeing all departments in your area—from crime prevention to park maintenance—and you’ll be answerable to both elected officials and citizens

Lobbyist

Lobbyists work to advocate for or against specific positions and laws within Congress. As a lobbyist, the issue you specialize in may be economic, commercial, social, environmental, or fall within any one of dozens of other subject areas. Lobbyists prepare information, manage testimony at congressional hearings, and meet in person with members of Congress, agency officials, and staff members to have an effect on the governing process.

Politician

Politicians are the people who run government—at the state, local, and federal level. Politicians are elected and are answerable to their constituencies—the people who elected them. Politicians may be highly visible at the national level—such as the President, the Vice President, and members of Congress—or they may be closer to home, such as your town’s mayor, county council members, or elected school board members.

Political journalist

A degree in public administration could provide you with the knowledge of government affairs required to cover political issues for newspapers and online publications. A journalist identifies potential news stories, arranges interviews, and writes articles. Journalists specializing in political issues may work for publications focused mainly on political issues, or work for the politics section of a larger newspaper or magazine. Freelance journalists sell articles to many different magazines and newspapers. As a political journalist, you may work in Washington DC—or cover local politics in your hometown or state.

Teacher or professor

An advanced degree in public administration could also qualify you to teach at the college level—in areas such as government, civics, or history. Professors teach classes, research and write papers, conduct studies, and write grant proposals for specific projects. In addition to teaching students, you may serve an advisory role to individual students, manage extracurricular programs, or chair your department. Most professor positions require a Ph.D.

There are plenty of options out there for people with a degree in public administration. Whether your ambitions include government positions or you’d rather work as a nonprofit director, professor, or journalist, a degree in public administration from a traditional or accredited online college could help you get there.

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