Hot Career Options in Public Administration
Your four years of study, erudition, lost sleep and long weekends has finally paid off because you now hold a Bachelor’s in Public Administration. Your degree program has prepared you for several vocations in the non-profit sector, local and state government and even as a healthcare administrator or human resources manager. With all the possibilities that lie ahead, how do you narrow down the field to a single profession? Here are a few of the hottest career opportunities in public administration, and why obtaining your master’s degree is a wise investment.
As a city manager, your role will be something akin to a mayor, as many cities are choosing to appoint a politically-neutral administrator to work within the scope of the mayor’s office. The city planner is often responsible for hiring, firing and retaining personnel, creating and adhering to the town’s yearly budget and works closely with citizens to create a more productive community. This is a potentially stressful position, as you’ll be expected to work with the all the city’s departments, from housing and crime prevention to sanitation, and answer to the disgruntled workers and belligerent citizens if things aren’t running smoothly.
If you’re a natural problem solver that isn’t afraid to get your hands dirty, and enjoys working with others for the common good, than consider becoming an urban planner. In this position, you’ll be involved in every stage of development, from planning to completion, of a town’s infrastructure. One day, you might be expected to plan a city park, and the next create a new design for city hall. As an urban planner, you’ll also hold the distinct opportunity to compose environmental legislation while earning a highly competitive salary.
Your function as a healthcare administrator will be to ensure various healthcare organizations, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and even school districts, are running smoothly and most importantly, the patients are receiving the care they require. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this field is expected to grow at a rate of 22 percent over the next ten years, which is much faster than the majority of other professions. This stellar growth rate is attributed to America’s aging baby-boomer population, and their increased vitality and activity late in life. Be a part of making sure America’s seniors are able to live a healthier lifestyle than ever before by entering the world of healthcare administration.
As a recent, or not-so recent, university graduate, you’re probably somewhat acquainted with the work performed by a college administrator. However, what you see only scratches the surface of a college administrator’s duties, which often involve overseeing student admissions, the day-to-day operations of the campus and the university’s budget and finance. Many college administrators hold a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, but find it necessary to obtain a second degree to remain competitive. For instance, obtaining your online computer science degree as you continue to work fulltime can help you specialize in certain facets of the field, including the tracking and upkeep of student records. Many are finding earning a degree in finance allows them to work exclusively with the college’s financial aid department.
Earning Your Master’s Degree
Your Bachelor’s in Public Administration will definitely allow you to break into this increasingly competitive field, but don’t expect to land a high-profile, highly lucrative position without continuing your education. It’s becoming increasingly common that many fields and employers, including the ones previously discussed, require their candidates possess a Master’s in Public Administration, or a related field. Beyond this, there are several other benefits to continuing your education, including:
- Marketability-Many entry-level positions in Public Administration won’t require a Master’s degree, but it will get your name and resume noticed. Several positions in the field are being inundated by applicants, but earning your Master’s degree will help ensure your resume is one of the most impressive.
- Advancement Opportunities-Once again, it’s possible to achieve an entry-level position with your Bachelor’s degree, but be prepared to remain at your present level for several years. Earning your Master’s degree will show your employer you’re serious and dedicated to the profession, which becomes increasingly crucial when a promotion becomes available.
- Experience and Connections-Your Master’s program is often as much about networking with professors, faculty and your fellow students as it is about the academic challenge. The connections you’ll make in graduate school can become extremely valuable once you enter the job market.
The field of public administration is constantly evolving, and becoming more competitive. It’s also extremely rewarding, so prepare yourself to work hard, start out at the bottom, but love every minute of working with college students, elected officials and your community.