There are those that lead and those that follow. For those that wish to lead public institutions and make a difference in local communities a degree in public administration can make it happen. This degree is a great starting point to a career in public policy and local, regional and even national government service. Public administration degrees allow graduates to find work as city and county leaders in locations across the United States. From the smallest town to the biggest city leaders are needed to establish and implement policies that will influence that area not only in the present but in future years to come. Online Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are available in this field with most employers preferring those with the Master’s degree.
Public Administration Bachelor’s Degree
A Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration teaches students fundamental concepts of the organization and management of public institutions while learning critical thinking and analyzing skills used in formulating public policy on local, state and federal levels. Collaboration and consensus-building are also stressed in this program. Most schools require a high school diploma or GED and some several years of full-time employment beyond high school.
These degrees can be completed entirely online through a college’s website and all lessons have fixed deadlines. A computer with internet access, word processing and spreadsheet software is needed as is e-mail for interaction with other students and professors. Message boards are utilized to keep students informed about assignments and some programs include phone calls between students and instructors when questions arise. The online degree can be completed in four years or less if an accelerated format is in place.
Public Administration Bachelor’s Degree Courses
Public Administration degrees are liberal arts in nature with courses in arts, humanities and sciences. Other courses taken include:
- Applied Statistics
- Public Finance Administration
- Personnel Management
These courses deal with statistical analysis, budget planning, grant writing, workplace organizational structure and labor-management relations.
Public Administration Bachelor’s Degree Careers
Graduates with this degree find work mostly in government and non-profit organizations as entry-level administrative support personnel. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employment will grow between 4.4%-11.3% through 2018 with salaries averaging almost $50,000 yearly.
Public Administration Master’s Degree
This program is for those seeking positions as local, state and federal leaders. Courses in economics, law, political science and sociology are emphasized. Policy planning within political legislatures, policy research and ethics are also discussed. Applicants need a Bachelor’s degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
As with a Bachelor’s degree all course requirements can be finished online. The degree can usually be done in two years and includes assigned readings, lectures, special assignments and tests completed through the college’s website. Personal computers, webcams, word processing and productivity software are also needed.
Public Administration Master’s Degree Courses
These programs have 5-10 core courses and several electives that can include criminal justice and environmental policy. Other courses include:
- Administrative Theory
- Administrative Law
- Non-Profit Leadership
Students learn how to analyze organizations, the impact constitutional law has on government levels and management of non-profit organizations.
Public Administration Master’s Degree Careers
Graduates are prepared to enter management and executive positions in government agencies and non-profit organizations, though some also work for non-governmental agencies. Careers as city managers, operations directors or policy analysts are possible. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports city manager employment will grow by 8% and policy analysts by 21% through 2018. Salaries of city managers average $95,000 yearly and policy analysts almost $70,000. Many great jobs await those who wish to make a lasting impact on both community and country.