What Can You Do With a Public Administration Degree

Business meeting in a large board room with tall windows

When new and public policies and regulations go into effect, public administrators are tasked with implementing them. To do this, these individuals coordinate resources, communicate with other agencies and develop a framework for new programs. However, public administration jobs are not limited to local, state and federal governmental agencies. With a public administration degree, you may also be qualified to pursue opportunities in public health organizations, nonprofit entities and private companies. The curriculum for a public administration degree helps students acquire valuable skills that are transferrable to other fields, making graduates of these degree programs highly employable.

Legislative Aide

With a bachelor’s degree, you could pursue a job as a legislative aide. Legislative aides work in the offices of elected officials at the state or federal level, such as U.S. Senators. Their job duties can vary widely depending on the office they work for. A legislative aide might do anything from answering the phones and managing the official’s schedule to carrying out legal research and draft legislation. If you would like to pursue this career, consider looking for internship opportunities working on the campaigns of incumbent elected officials or aspiring candidates.

City Manager

In smaller cities, a city manager may only need a bachelor’s degree. In mid-size to large cities, managers typically need a master’s degree. City managers work behind the scenes to manage major administrative functions in the city, including community programs and the city’s budget. They are also tasked with implementing policies established by the city’s council.

In larger cities, city managers may oversee their own staff. In smaller cities, these professionals tend to wear many hats and handle the heavy responsibility with limited or no staff. Effective city managers anticipate community needs and proactively develop programs or policies to address them.

Public Health Administrator

Some public administrators specialize in public health administration. Examples of public health organizations include local and state health departments, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Within a public health organization, these professionals handle the following:

  • Identifying community health issues
  • Designing and implementing public health education and outreach programs
  • Balancing a budget and allocating funds to programs
  • Directing and supervising staff members
  • Writing grand proposals
  • Organizing fundraising initiatives

Public Policy Analyst

Public policy analysts often work at government agencies at the state or federal level, consulting firms, think tanks and research organizations. While it is possible to find an entry-level public policy analysis job with a bachelor’s degree, many openings at consulting firms and government agencies require a master’s degree.

These professionals collect statistical data, investigating issues and recommending solutions. Analysts may analyze the potential outcomes of proposed or existing legislation and identify workable alternatives. The work of policy analysts can significantly influence political decisions and social developments. If you are considering a career in policy analysis, it may be helpful to examine some concrete examples of what these professionals have accomplished:

  • Policy analysts at the Council on Foreign Relations evaluated the social causes of the riots in Paris in 2005 and provided recommendations to the French government on avoiding future riots.1
  • A think tank policy analyst evaluated whether the Earned Income Tax Credit truly benefited parents.1
  • Think tank analysts seeking to evaluate the spread of disease among inadequately vaccinated immigrants in detention camps determined the lack of sufficient shower facilities and soap also plays a role in disease transmission at those locations.2

At some organizations, policy analysts are assigned issues to investigate. Others find gaps in research in critical areas and then write proposals for their own policy analysis projects. At smaller think tank groups, analysts are also responsible for writing grant applications and securing funding for their research. After completing a research project, policy analysts disseminate their findings to key stakeholders, including policymakers and the public.

Charity Development Manager

Graduates who wish to devote their careers to nonprofit work may pursue an opportunity as a charity development manager. For these organizations, fundraising is a significant and ongoing task. Some charity development managers write grant proposals, design fundraising campaigns and host fundraising galas. Another important aspect of this job is to coordinate the charity’s activities, ensuring that its programs align with the charity’s mission and values.

Some charities may hire development managers who have a bachelor’s degree. However, large organizations may require their managers to hold a master’s degree. To gain a foothold in this sector, students should consider pursuing volunteer opportunities while they work toward their degree.




You can earn your Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in State and Local Public Policy at Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Online and on-campus classes are available for public administration students. GCU also offers graduate classes for working professionals interested in enhancing their career qualifications. Apply to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) with an Emphasis in Government and Policy degree program, or consider earning your MPA in Health Care Management or Nonprofit Management.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.