Careers for Public Administration Graduates
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the federal government employs more than four million Americans. State and local governments also provide jobs to millions of people all over the country. From postal carriers to park rangers, public service is a major component of the American workforce. Many different academic fields can lead to successful careers in public service, but the Public Administration discipline is especially well-suited for students who are seeking government employment. Take a look at a few of the career options that Public Administration graduates may be prepared to pursue:
In a very literal sense, Urban and Regional Planners build communities. They examine the needs of a community and then develop plans to meet those needs moving forward, taking into account such issues as projected population growth over time. As a community evolves, an Urban Planner will help the community keep pace with changing demographics. Working with community leaders, an Urban Planner must consider the financial, environmental, and social impact of changes.
Some Urban Planners in larger metropolitan regions may specialize in a specific planning area, such as transportation, natural resources, sports and recreation, logistics, or code enforcement. Since it covers such a wide range of topics, Urban Planning is a growing field.
In many cases, Policy Analysts are the minds behind major public policy decisions. They are not legislators, but they perform the research, provide the statistics, and plot out the potential outcomes for current and proposed policies. In many cases, Policy Analysts will use their research to offer suggested recommendations that may eventually become public policy.
In general, Policy Analysts will usually specialize in one of the four core competencies of the profession: research, analysis, forecasting, and communication. Researchers collect all pertinent information and statistics concerning a given topic. Analysts examine policy and offer feedback. Forecasters plot out the long-term impact of current policy. Communicators share information with governmental leaders and the public.
Social Service Administration
When people are at their most vulnerable, Social Services can often step in to help out. Providing assistance to children, the elderly, the homeless, veterans, and others in need, Social Service programs address problems as varied as domestic abuse, unemployment, mental health, and drug addiction. Social Service Administrators create and maintain these programs. Duties can run the gamut from securing grants for funding to hiring staff who will administer programs. Social Service Administration is another sector that is expected to see strong growth in the coming years.
An education in Public Administration has many applications outside of government work. For example, the skills acquired in Public Administration classes are a natural fit for the non-profit sector. Like Social Service Administrators, Non-Profit Managers and Directors oversee programs designed to help people in need. They create and implement policies, manage staff members, and are responsible for maintaining budgets. Oftentimes, the Non-Profit Manager will act as the public face for the organization, which might include attending events, speaking to the media, and actively raising funds with donors.
If you would like to pursue any of the careers mentioned in this blog, consider a degree in Public Administration. Ashford University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration degree and an online Master of Public Administration degree.
Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education