Public Administration Schools Colleges & Universities

Students pursuing degrees in public administration acquire the skills necessary to apply their good ideas to actual public policy.

Public Administration Schools Teach Responsible Community Activism: Society by nature is imperfect. With so many different needs and limited government resources, not everyone can get exactly what they want. This much is basic knowledge, and forms the founding principle of public administrators' work. These individuals, however, don't admit this fact as a resignation, but rather view it as a challenge. Using their creativity and sharp analytical powers, public administrators stretch a community's or organization's allotted means in order to do the most good possible. If you're a strong communicator who likes working with diverse groups of people and is capable of seeing all sides of an issue, you may want to give some thought to what public administration colleges can offer you.

Public Administration Schools Augment Vision with Practical Know-How: Whether mediating between clashing interest groups or developing better educational programs for urban youth, public administrators possess a deep commitment to civic duty. In public administration schools, you learn how to apply this passion to public policy. Individuals pursuing degrees in public administration study first and foremost how to organize. Many people have great ideas that can better a community, but public administration students master the art of conducting both human resources and budgets to serve these aims. Typical courses in the public administration curriculum include:

  • • Public policy
  • • Organization theory
  • • Voluntarism and the nonprofit sector
  • • Local administration
  • • Economic development
  • • Public budgeting and financial administration

Certain public administration schools focus exclusively on preparing students for careers in government, while others offer training to serve the nonprofit sector as well. Furthermore, some colleges offer classes that cover a range of topics, while others may be heavily focused on a few key issues, such as the environment or education. Make sure your prospective school can help you attain specific career goals before committing to enrollment. You should also be prepared to complete an internship during your upper division years.

Rewarding Careers in Public Administration: Because of their strong capacity for organization among diverse groups of people, graduates of public administration schools are well-suited to several great careers.

Employment of government officials, as one might expect, is not expected to grow much in the coming decade. Because these jobs boast high prestige and low turnover, competition should remain keen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes, however, that top executives often transfer to other executive positions, making room for new, qualified candidates. These professionals earn a mean annual wage of $167,280.

The BLS predicts faster-than-average job growth for urban and regional planners, with the greatest increases expected in the private sector (such as architecture and engineering firms). Those with bachelor's degrees qualify for entry level work, but masters degrees open more doors in this field. As of May 2009, urban and regional planners made a mean annual wage of $64,680.

Due to increasing demand for public policy research, employment of political scientists is expected to grow faster than average in the 2008-2018 decade. The BLS remarks that those with graduate degrees enjoy the best job prospects. Political scientists earn a mean annual wage of $101,050.

The writer Karin Hansen holds a degree in English from San Francisco State University.

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