What You Should Know About Earning a Public Administration Degree

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A public administration degree can prepare graduates to pursue careers in local, state and federal government among other organizations. Public administration professionals are typically management-level employees who handle policy implementation and direct the activities of the organization. This field shows robust job growth during the coming years, and it lead to a rewarding career in service.

What Is a Public Administration Degree?

Students may decide to enroll in a Bachelor of Arts in Government degree program to gain a solid framework of core competencies in this field. At GCU, this degree program emphasizes the role of ethical servant leadership, judgment and decision-making in public policy. Students also explore political theories, legislation implementation, state and local governments, public policy analysis and American government. A Master of Public Administration degree takes an in-depth look at these topics. Students acquire a deeper knowledge of key areas, including:

  • Public governance
  • Public budgeting and fiscal management
  • Leadership and politics in public organizations
  • Acquisition and development of human capital

Some master’s degree programs may also offer specializations. For example, you may choose to focus your education and career on the administration of public health care or nonprofit organizations rather than government agencies.

What Jobs Are Available for Graduates With a Public Administration Degree?

Students who hold a BA in Government may pursue entry-level jobs in this field. These may include the following:

  • Campaign worker
  • Regulatory affairs specialist
  • Research analyst
  • Legislative aide

Some smaller organizations may also hire graduates with a BA for the role of public administrator. Other organizations require that public administrators hold a master’s degree. With a master’s degree, graduates might pursue the following types of jobs:

  • County or city manager
  • Government administrator
  • Policy analyst
  • Public administration consultant
  • Regulatory affairs manager
  • Director of public programs

In addition, public administration degree programs empower students to acquire valuable skills that are transferrable across other professions. Skills such as communication, ethical servant leadership and critical thinking are valued in many fields. Furthermore, professionals with a strong background in public administration may also be qualified to pursue administrative roles in private companies.

What Exactly Do Public Administrators Do?

Public administrators coordinate certain activities in a public organization. Public organizations include local, state and federal governmental agencies, as well as public health organizations. In addition, many public administrators work at nonprofit entities.

The specific job duties vary depending on the mission and needs of the organization. Within a local, state or federal government agency, an administrator will likely have a role in implementing legislation. As an example, consider seat belt laws. The first state to pass a law mandating the use of seat belts in vehicles was New York. The law went into effect in 1984. When that law went into effect, it was the duty of a public administrator to create the framework necessary for implementing the law and enforcing it. This likely required significant coordination with local and state law enforcement entities.

Similarly, public administrators at public health organizations and nonprofits are responsible for implementing and coordinating the organization’s programs. They may work to ensure the delivery of services or resources to target populations, maintain organization’s budget, develop human capital and other responsibilities. The life of a public administrator typically involves many meetings, and it requires a keen eye for detail while sorting through paperwork.

What Is the Job Outlook for Graduates With a Public Admin Degree?

The rate of job growth looks promising in this field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth rate for administrative services managers from 2018 through 2028 is expected to be seven percent.This is faster than average. For the same period, the job growth rate for social and community service managers is projected at 13 percent, which is much faster than average.2 For medical and health services managers, the anticipated job growth rate is 18 percent, with more than 71,000 related jobs expected to be added to the economy.3

You can prepare a career in public administration from Grand Canyon University. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to offer its BA in Government with an Emphasis in State and Local Public Policy and BA in Government with an Emphasis in Legal Studies administration degree programs to students who are interested in studying public policy administration. Additionally, offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with an Emphasis in Government and Policy, Health Care Management and Nonprofit Management for graduate students. To learn more about the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, visit our website or click on the Request Info button at the top of this page.


1 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm

2 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm

3 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm#tab-1


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.

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