What You Need for a Career in the Public Administration Industry

Public administration is an academic discipline which involves studying the implementation and operations of government policy. Students undergoing a post-secondary education program in public administration are educated and trained in working in a private or public sector at the local, regional, or national level. Public administration professionals are educated and trained specialists who understand the systems and operations of a particular branch of government and ensure that the public service is fair, effective, and well-run. A few responsibilities of public administration professionals include considering the welfare and interests of the municipality as a whole and addressing any issues that affect or hinder the public’s well-being; developing, adhering, and advocating policies, programs, and regulations; attending council meetings; keeping matters discussed at council meetings confidential; and performing any duties imposed by councillors.

There are a variety of professions to choose from in this field however, a majority of them require a post-secondary education. This includes a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business, politics, finance, economics, healthcare, social work, or public administration. During the undergraduate degree program, students are introduced to this discipline’s concepts, practices, applications, and principles. Subject areas taught in the undergraduate degree program include psychology, sociology, history of public policy, family violence, child and adolescent development, government and judicial systems, budgeting and finance, and project management. Upon completion of this four-year program, students may gain hands-on work experience by obtaining an entry-level position in the public administration industry. These positions include policy analyst, mental health counselor, or customs inspector. In order to become employed in a higher-level position, students must complete a master’s degree in public administration. This program lasts two years and students are educated in more specialized or focused areas within the public administration field. Students complete a thesis on original research which they have conducted and are prepared for more advanced positions in this industry such as human resources manager, budgeting director, or public administration officer.

In addition to the educational requirements, there are certain skills and personality traits one must encompass in order to be successful in this career field. Public administration professionals interact with different types of individuals therefore exceptional interpersonal and communication skills are essential. They must be able to actively listen to other’s needs (especially if they are working with abused victims or people addicted to alcohol or drugs) and be able to offer their advice and assistance. Public administration professionals must have positive leadership skills especially if they are in a management-type position. They must be able to encourage and motivate others and lead by example. Good organization skills are important since public administration professionals work with a number of different clients or cases. They must have the ability to keep all documents and files in order. Being empathetic and compassionate is also vital in this field. Public administration professionals must feel some concern for the people they work with and have a need to assist them in any way they can.

Those who encompass these skills and qualities mentioned above, excel in the bachelor’s or master’s degree program specializing in public administration, and have a passion to work with those in need will no doubt be successful in this challenging but important industry.

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Helen Immelstadt

About Helen Immelstadt

About The Author: Helen Immelstadt has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She has worked in the psychology and medical field for over 27 years and has an extensive background in writing. She is currently working as a freelance writer while also writing her book about online psychology programs.

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