How Do I Know if Public Administration is a Good Career Path for Me?

master of public administration

Key Takeaways:

  • Public administration involves the organization, management, and oversight of public sector institutions and resources to achieve government objectives and serve the public interest.
  • Public administration encompasses the processes, activities, and operations carried out by public officials and government agencies to implement laws, provide public services, and manage public resources.
  • The roles and responsibilities of public administration include city managers, policy analysts, public affairs specialists, and human resource managers.
  • Areas of specialization include urban planning, public finance, health administration, and environmental policy.

Public administration involves the implementation of governmental policy on the federal, state, and local levels. There exists a specific academic discipline and degree course of study that studies public administration and prepares men and women for careers in different areas of government services. You may wonder whether public administration is a good, advisable career path for you. There are a number of factors to contemplate in considering a career in public administration.

Wide Range of Different Job Opportunities Available

When considering whether a career in public administration makes sense for you, a prime point to ponder is job availability. The fact is that pursuing a career in public administration provides you with the ability to select from a considerable array of different types of jobs. As noted a moment ago, this includes positions of employment of the federal, state, and local levels of government.

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In addition, because of the importance of public administration, there are also positions of employment available in the private sector as well. A person with an academic background in public administration may also be able to find employment in the education, healthcare, and nonprofit sectors.


Work with and Manage People

As a general rule, a position in public administration by definition and design is a job that involves working closely with others and oftentimes managing people as well. As a consequence, a career in public administration is a better fit for you if you enjoy working with other people. Moreover, because there likely may be management attributes associated with such a position, you need to have appropriate leadership abilities as well. These include being at ease in leading others when involved in a particular matter of public policy or associated project.

Address a Variety of Issues and Projects

Even if you accept a position of employment with a governmental agency with a focused charge, a job in public administration nearly always mandates that a person be able to seamlessly take on different issues, projects, and policies. Consequently, you need to be adept at moving from one issue, project, and policy to another. While you might desire to specialize in a particular area of public administration, you need to have native flexibility that permits you the ability to take on different endeavors with relative ease.

Follow the Directives of Others

Since jobs in public administration are oftentimes part of governmental agencies of different types, if you seek employment in this arena you need to be capable and willing to closely follow the directives of others. Another reality of public administration is that a person employed by a governmental agency in such a position may not be involved in creating policy. A person employed in public administration will be charged with implementing and overseeing policies and programs initially created by others.

In many cases, a person is in a significantly better position to garner employment in public administration by pursuing an advanced degree. A good number of jobs in this area require a qualified applicant to have a master’s degree in public administration or MPA. A good number of universities in the United States offer MPA degree programs. The American Society for Public Administration provides abundant information not only for people with careers in public administration but for those seeking an MPA or another degree in the arena.