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Online Masters Degree in Public Administration

If you are looking for a role in public administration, a master's degree is considered the industry standard. Whether you're interested in local, state or federal government or domestic or international nonprofits, education is vital in this field.

Master's degrees in public administration cover topics like understanding the relationship between politics and government, promoting ethnic diversity in hiring, setting ethical standards for public service, tracking cost analysis and assessing risk. Using information technology to share information and promote public participation is also gaining importance.

Earning master's degrees in public administration

Because of the broad scope of public administration, bachelor's degrees in many disciplines can prepare you for graduate studies. Strong writing and research skills are essential, as well as interpersonal and quantitative abilities. Core courses usually cover public policy, organizational dynamics, budget analysis techniques and HR management.

Some topics can be useful across specializations, such as strategic planning, conflict resolution and project management. Additional coursework varies according to your emphasis. Options could include contemporary labor issues, economic development, ethics in leadership, grant writing, public speaking or political advocacy. Internships or volunteer work can be a valuable addition to your resume.

Public administration career options, outlook and salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists these likely areas of employment:

  1. Environmental quality, housing, urban planning, community development and economic programs
  2. Executive and legislative government support
  3. Justice, public order and public safety
  4. National security and international affairs
  5. Space research and technology

Here are some potential occupations with median annual salaries for 2010 and projected 2010-2020 growth rates, as reported by the BLS:

  1. Budget analyst: $68,200; 10 percent
  2. Operations research analyst: $70,960; 15 percent
  3. Political scientist: $107,420; 8 percent
  4. Statistician: $72,830; 14 percent

The BLS expects an average increase in employment for these professionals, except for political scientists, who could see slower than average growth.

Education for public administration

If you're interested in high level administration or university teaching, the Doctor of Public Administration is geared toward bridging practice and scholarship while the Ph.D. is more focused on research.

Some entry level positions in the field require only bachelor's degrees, but most employers prefer master's degrees in public administration. Online degrees offer a convenient way to blend work and studies while you transition to a position with more responsibility or move from another field into public administration.

Featured Online Public Administration Degree Programs

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