Public Administration Overview
Public administrators work throughout our government system. A public administrator’s ultimate goal is the implementation of policies and regulations that further the public’s interests.
Many public administrators have management and policy making positions at government agencies. These individuals also interact with large corporations and members of the community, creating efficient policies that benefit the public and private sectors. Some of the responsibilities associated with this profession include:
- Advising public officials while evaluating the practicality of a proposed policy or program
- Creating government protocols for newly formed government systems
- Helping local and state government officials update current policies
- Forecasting the long and short-term effects of current and future government programs
- Setting budgets that support policy and program plans
- Researching ways to gain the public’s support for government initiatives
- Determining if programs will have any unintended effects
- Designing programs in a manner that creates minimal tax impact
- Staying attuned to the needs of a changing and aging population
- Utilizing current technology and developing new technological approaches to connect the government with private citizens
- Evaluating the need for new government agencies
- Helping with agency employee recruitment
While most public administrators work for the government, others find employment in the private sector. Private sector administrators help ensure corporate regulatory compliance. Many of these private sector employees have previous public sector work experience.
A Typical Day
The typical day for a public administrator is dictated by his or her area of employment. Government public administrators are bureaucrats who work behind the scenes implementing and vetting the policy decisions of more visible elected officials. Though the impact of their work is wide-ranging, these public administrators do not get much notoriety.
Both government and non-government administrators have office-based jobs that often include overtime hours. Some government administrators work at foreign consulates or embassies. These employees must relocate to their international posts, where they will implement diplomatic policies.
A public administrator’s work varies based on the current administration’s goals. When a public administrator’s tenure spans across administrations, their job responsibilities can change dramatically.
In addition to private businesses, non-government public administration employees also work at schools, non-government organizations, non-profit organizations, think tanks and consulting firms.
Important Things to Know
Becoming a Public Administrator
Public administration jobs are not typically entry level positions. Most applicants have previous business, government or public service experience. People who work in this profession are highly educated and most typically have a master’s degree.
While pursuing a public administration degree, students should apply to relevant government agency internship programs. The practical experience gained will be advantageous when attempting to enter this competitive field.
A public administrator’s salary varies based on his or her area of government focus. Those who work in the private sector will likely earn a higher income.
Education and Skill Requirements
Education: An undergraduate education that covers matters related to public policy, political science and management forms a great foundation for a public administration career. Classes in accounting, economics and organizational planning are also helpful. Public administration and public policy undergraduate programs are growing in popularity. As demand increases, more programs are becoming available.
A master’s degree is often required when applying for these management level positions. A Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the most common degree for those seeking to enter this profession. MPA students take courses in management, public affairs, human relations, economic analysis, statistical analysis and public policy formation and enactment. They are also taught advanced problem-solving techniques and gain effective leadership and communication skills.
Skills: First and foremost, a public administrator must want to help others. This innate desire to make the world a better place will be reflected in the administrator’s policy decisions.
Leadership skills are also crucial. If a public administrator does not have the respect and trust of his or her team, none of his or her proposed policy decisions will come to fruition.
This job also requires political neutrality. These administrators cannot allow their own viewpoint to affect the work they are hired to complete. This neutrality is tested when a new administration comes into office.
Career Options and Outlook
Increased demand for health services and social services has led to the creation of new public administration jobs. This demand has also contributed to the growth of public administration consulting firms.
Highly regulated industries rely on the governmental expertise of public administration professionals. Companies hire consultants to manage the impact of current and future regulations and to ensure corporate compliance with government standards.
A public administration professional’s ability to move between the public and private sector contributes to this profession’s popularity. Many of the skills these individuals acquire while working for the government bolster their chances of obtaining executive level private sector jobs.
Public administrators perform myriad functions in their quest to guide the public policy decisions that help create a prosperous society.
To learn more about Public Administration check out the resources from PublicAdminCareers.com!