Interested in a dynamic career in public administration? If so, then a bachelor’s degree in public services administration can be an excellent stepping stone to a rewarding career path. With this versatile degree, you can go on to work any number of positions within the public services industry—ranging from director and planner positions to management roles.
Meanwhile, the demand for public administration professionals is high and will continue to increase. According to projections from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is expected to grow another 9% by the 2030.
Read on to learn more about what a public administration degree entails, what kinds of public administration jobs are out there, and how to choose a degree program that best suits your needs.
What Is a Public Administration Degree?
The most common public administration degree is a bachelor’s degree, which consists of 120 credit hours and typically takes between two and four years to complete. Master’s degrees in public administration are also available, but these tend to be more specialized programs. For most people looking to enter the workforce in the field of public administration, a bachelor’s degree will be the most common education requirement.
Those who graduate with public administration degrees have obtained the experience and knowledge needed to work within government agencies (local, state, or federal) and nonprofit organizations. These are the professionals who keep these agencies and organizations running smoothly, handling everything from finance and policy to politics and planning.
What Kind of Job Can I Get with a Public Administration Degree?
Having a public administration degree creates opportunities for a number of potential jobs in the field. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of employment possibilities, you can explore some of the most common public administration jobs below.
1. Administrative Services Manager
Both government agencies and nonprofits rely on administrative services managers to help things run smoothly. Specifically, these professionals tend to take on a lot of the administrative roles within a government agency or organization, ranging from basic recordkeeping and clerical work to financial reporting and document security.
2. City Manager
Another possible career opportunity with a degree in public administration is that of city manager. While not all cities employ city managers, many do so as a means of better handling their budgets and other resources. The exact roles and duties of a city manager can vary from one city to the next; however, these professionals are typically responsible for managing budgets, city programs, and other internal affairs.
3. Budget Analyst
Many people with public administration degrees may also go on to become budget analysts. The role of a budget analyst is to help a government agency or organization make better use of their money. Budget analysts do this by analyzing an agency’s current budget and making specific recommendations to optimize funding and control spending. These professionals play a vital role in keeping agencies and organizations running as smoothly as possible from a financial standpoint.
4. Urban Planner
Another exciting job opportunity that may present itself to those with degrees in public administration is that of urban or regional planner. These experts are faced with the important task of developing land use plans and other programs to accommodate a community’s current and future needs. As part of their work, urban planners must take into account the community’s population growth, budget, zoning, and other factors to create a better place for residents to live.
5. Human Resource Manager
Government agencies and even nonprofit organizations must hire, onboard, and train a number of employees on a fairly regular basis. These agencies will often turn to public administration professionals to take on roles in human resources. Specifically, these human resource managers handle everything from overseeing new hiring processes to conducting interviews, hiring new employees, and creating training programs.
6. Emergency Management Director
Many public administration professionals may also go on to become emergency management directors. These experts play an extremely important role in ensuring cities are prepared for all kinds of emergencies and disasters. They may assist in developing emergency operations plans, overseeing emergency response drills and training, and even assessing the likelihood of different types of disasters occurring.
Does Public Administration Pay Well?
In short, yes. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a public administrative services or facility manager is more than $98,000 for full-time (40+ hour per week) positions.
Of course, exact pay for somebody with a public administration degree will vary based on the exact position as well as other factors, such as location and experience. For example, the average annual pay for an urban planner is around $76,000, whereas a political scientist (another career option) may make $125,000 or more annually.
What Skills Will You Learn in a Public Administration Degree Program?
There are many important skills that you can expect to take away from a quality public administration degree program. Among the most vital skills you’ll learn are those of data analysis and decision making. Public administrators in a variety of roles are expected to be able to assess and analyze many different types of data to make recommendations and decisions for their respective organizations and agencies.
Because fundraising is often an important job duty of public administrators, many programs also teach fundraising skills to students. These skills will be especially important for those who go on to work for nonprofit organizations, as these organizations tend to rely heavily on donations and fundraising campaigns.
Leadership skills are another key takeaway from an excellent public administration program. This is because many public administration jobs are in leadership positions within an agency or organization. These professionals need to be able to oversee other workers, motivate employees, and oversee all kinds of different projects.
Some other skills you can expect to learn in a public administration degree program may include:
- problem solving
All these skills will serve you well not only when it comes to finding a job in the field, but in performing your job with confidence.
What Areas of Specialization Are There for This Degree?
While most bachelor’s degree programs don’t offer specializations in public administration, there are areas of focus that students may choose. Likewise, many master’s degrees in public administration offer areas of concentration for those who wish to focus on a specialization. Some common specializations within the field of public administration include:
- planning and urban development
- nonprofit management
- transportation systems
- health systems
- criminal justice
- public policy
Can You Earn a Public Administration Degree Online?
Siena Heights University is proud to offer an online, blended bachelor’s degree in public services administration. Specifically, this program consists of 120 credit hours and is designed for public service workers and government employees who seek administrative or managerial advancement. Through immersive classes, administrative internships, and senior field projects, students can gain the upper-level experience they need to be successful in this ever-changing field.
Meanwhile, our online blended program offers the ideal balance between classroom instruction and online convenience. The ability to complete courses online makes it easier for students with busy and demanding schedules to learn and study on their own time.
In fact, many students find that they’re able to complete this program in as little as two years. However, it’s all about finding a timeframe that works for your needs, goals, and lifestyle.
When seeking an online degree program in public administration (or in any field, for that matter), it’s important to find a school that is fully accredited. This will ensure that any credits you complete will be more likely to transfer if you decide to pursue a master’s degree down the road. Likewise, having a degree from an accredited program will make you more competitive in the job market, as employers generally prefer to hire candidates with degrees from accredited programs and schools.
The Bottom Line on a Degree in Public Administration
As you can see, the possibilities with a bachelor’s degree in public administration are nearly endless. Whether you aspire to become a city manager, fundraising director, or anything in between—the right degree can help make it happen. To find out more about bachelor’s degrees in public administration from Siena Heights University, including costs and financial aid options, reach out to our team today. We’d be happy to provide you with additional information, help you get started with your admission application, or even schedule a visit for you!