Public administration is a vast and interesting industry. Public administration professionals attempt to explain how decisions in government are made as well as administering projects to carry out those decisions. There are many different areas of public administration and, likewise, tons of different types of careers that you can pursue with a degree in public administration. Whether you’re interested in a career in government, nonprofit, or the public sector, a degree in public administration can help you pursue that career. Here are 15 interesting career paths you can pursue with a degree in public administration.
1. News Analyst
Media outlets are always looking for individuals educated on public policy and programs, especially in our current political climate in which so many changes are constantly taking place. Media outlets need educated individuals to provide insight on these political situations and explain how each policy might affect us politically.
Urban planners are experts in helping communities decide how to best utilize available resources. They often work for or with local governments and make recommendations on schools, roads, and other infrastructure projects to ensure that governments are making smart decisions for the community and using their resources wisely.
3. City Manager
City managers are public administrators who are responsible for city government operations. City managers are generally selected by elected officials and can work for small towns or large cities. City managers prepare budgets, hire administrative officers, oversee record keeping, and supervise departments including law enforcement, fire protection, and sanitation. City managers are also often involved in labor relations and contract negotiations.
Policy analyst are generally employed by government agencies and nonprofit organizations in order to assess existing policies, reevaluate policies, suggest new policies, and evaluate how new policies would affect existing policies. Understanding policies and how they affect the overall operations of organizations is a crucial skill for a policy analyst.
Nonprofit managers can work on a variety of different causes, but often serve the same role regardless of the nonprofit’s mission. Nonprofit managers are responsible for advocacy, fundraising, management of resources, and overseeing the entire organization to make sure that resources are being used appropriately, the organization is following its mission, and running smoothly overall.
Budget analysts enjoy numbers as much as they enjoy public administration and policy. Budget analysts are important in both government and nonprofit organizations for similar reasons. Often funds are limited in these types of organizations so it’s important that someone skilled and knowledgeable is monitoring the budget and ensuring that the funds are spent and allocated carefully. They are also often relied on to make recommendations on how to make cuts in order to save money. Not only should you have a strong understanding of public administration, but also a love of budgets and numbers to succeed in this type of career.
Public affairs directors are responsible for the development and implementation of a company or organization’s communications strategy and objectives. Some responsibilities of public affairs directors include writing press releases, conducting outreach, fundraising, speechwriting and interviews, managing the development of marketing materials, and planning and managing events.
Administrative services managers can work for a variety of different industries including government, nonprofit, financial, etc. They often are in charge of planning, directing, and coordinating the supportive services of an organization.
Program analysts are generally focused on improving a single program within a larger institution. They are often responsible for planning, analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of the program as well as making recommendations for making the program more effective.
The human resources field is always looking for public administration professionals. You could work for federal, state, or local government, a nonprofit, or even a private company. Human resources directors specialize in recruitment, interviewing, hiring, administering benefits and compensation, and resolving issues in employment.
A research associate is responsible for doing research on an assigned topic and providing analysis and reporting. Research associates in public administration are often experts in public policy and work with government or nonprofit organizations researching existing policies, new ideas for policies, how policies are affecting the organization, and the effectiveness of certain policies. Therefore, an expertise in policies is crucial. Successful research associates typically have a keen attention to detail, are analytical, and can easily recommend actions based on the data.
One of the largest public service organizations is the education industry. The need for qualified education administrators is on the rise. They provide direction and day-to-day management of educational organizations. They also oversee educational programs for other institutions including museums, businesses, and job-training organizations. Common tasks typically include setting and enforcing budgets, maintaining academic records, assisting students and faculty, and managing staff.
Public housing managers are responsible for assisting families and youth in finding affordable housing. They typically serve the disabled, homeless, senior citizens, veterans, and low to moderate income individuals. Public housing professionals work with community organizations, government agencies, and property owners to secure living arrangements, negotiate rents, deposits and move-in terms on behalf of their clients. Public housing managers must understand federal, state, and local laws so that they can negotiate the best deal for their client and still follow all the laws.
Environmental protection specialists conduct studies to evaluate environmental health and often specialize in a particular area of the field such as climate change or water pollution. They may run tests in the field or lab and prepare reports and presentations for policy makers, industry leaders and the general public based on their findings. An environmental protection specialist might focus on air and water quality, hazardous waste management, and different pollutants.
Foreign service officers are often also referred to as diplomats. Foreign service officers must choose between one of five career tracks: consular, economic, management, political, or public diplomacy. Each of these areas focuses on a specific need of the state department and require different skills and knowledge. However, there are many job responsibilities in common including interacting with foreign citizens and leaders and writing reports and briefing managers and leaders.