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Public Administration Certificates and Degrees

Public Administration Certificates and Degrees

Certificates, Degrees and Job Opportunities in Public Administration

A degree in public administration can open doors to an exciting career with excellent pay. Public administration is an increasingly popular field of study that appeals to people interested in the wide reaching field of public service. This can include services provided at the local and state level, public health and safety, education, and local government. An education in public administration is available as a postsecondary certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s, master’s, and as a doctorate. Keep in mind that the GI Bill can be used for non-degree seeking certificate programs, through approved institutions.

Public Administration Degree Job Opportunities

There are a wide range of job opportunities from government jobs to those in the private sector, including non-profits. There are also opportunities for self-employment by starting your own business or working as a consultant. Job opportunities with a certificate or degree in public administration include:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Auditor
  • Program Analyst
  • Benefits Administrator
  • College Administrator
  • Human Resources Administrator
  • Public Administrator
  • Administrative Services Manager
  • City Manager
  • City Planner
  • Education Administrator
  • Director Of Education
  • Non-Profit Manager
  • Government Office

Postsecondary Certificate in Public Administration

A Postsecondary Certificate in Public Administration is a great starting point for those interested in starting down this career path. Certifications can offer students an opportunity to fast track their education and gain on-the-job knowledge through internships to complement their academics. Public administration jobs require a strong professional skill set to navigate and manage the complexities of local government and related positions.

Associate Degree in Public Administration

Students can earn an Associate Degree in Public Administration and learn the skills necessary to run an administrative staff or department. An associate degree in public administration will typically introduce students to the basics of financial accounting, human resources, organizational management, problem-solving, ethics, and budgeting.

Jobs you can obtain with an Associate Degree in Public Administration include:

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks– produce financial and other records for organizations and check financial records for accuracy. Median annual salary: $41,000.

Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration

Students can earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration for career advancement, including supervisory positions as well as a significant pay increase. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees with a bachelor’s degree earn twice as much than their counterparts without a postsecondary education. This equates to over $1.5 million more in earnings over the course of an average American’s lifetime!

Although programs vary, students typically learn about:

  • Local government operations
  • Public budgeting
  • Fostering a positive working environment
  • Maintaining a work culture of efficiency
  • Public policy formulation, interactions, implications, and impacts
  • Ethical leadership
  • Management skills
  • Principles of finance for profit and nonprofit operations
  • Research-based public administration practices
  • Identifying, analyzing, evaluating, and implementing effective administration
  • Formulating new and expanded government and nonprofit programs
  • Reevaluating and eliminating underperforming or obsolete programs

>> Search VA-approved schools offering a Bachelor degree in Public Administration.  Go here.

Jobs with a Bachelor’s in Public Administration

Medical and Health Services Managers– plan, direct, and coordinate the business activities of healthcare providers. Median annual salary: $101,000.

Human Resources Managers– make sure the administrative functions of the company or organization is running smoothly. They also help bridge the challenges and differences between management and employees. Median annual salary: $117,000.

Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA)

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees with a graduate degree earn approximately 40% more than their counterparts with an associate degree. Those with a graduate degree will earn more than twice as much as those without a postsecondary education. This translates to an additional $2 million more in lifetime earnings for an average American.

Earning an MPA will help a student refine their leadership skills and communication skills. A graduate program in public administration can help students advance their administrative, managerial, or supervisory careers. Careers can span an array of opportunities in state, federal, and local government, as well as private and nonprofit organizations.

Earning an MPA is also an excellent option for undergraduate degree holders to advance their careers and salary in related fields such as legal studies, human services, emergency management, homeland security, and criminal justice.

>> Search VA-approved schools offering a Master’s in Public Administration.  Go here.

Jobs with a Master’s in Public Administration

Urban and Regional Planners– develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize facilities. Median annual salary: $74,000.

Postsecondary Education Administrators– oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Median annual salary: $122,000.

Doctorate in Public Administration

Earning a doctoral degree in public administration takes approximately three additional years of schooling. This degree can be earned as a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or as a DPA (Doctor of Public Administration). Both pathways are similar, and provide students with a strong foundation for teaching and research positions. Careers with a doctorate degree in public administration include college professors, research and publication, and senior leadership positions.

Jobs with a Doctorate in Public Administration

Postsecondary Teachers– public administration teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research. Median annual salary: $102,000.

Political Scientists– study the origin, development, and operation of political systems. Median annual salary: $122,000.

Chief Executives– formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations. Plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management. Median annual salary: $194,000.


>> Ready to earn your degree in public administration? Check out these great programs available at our partner schools:

Eastern Oregon University

Offers an online Bachelor in Public Administration.  Eastern Oregon University is a Yellow Ribbon school.

American University

Offers an online Master in Public Administration and Policy. Post University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

Post University

Offers an online Master in Public Administration (MPA). Post University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

University of Central Florida

Offers an online Certificate in Public Administration and an online Master’s in Public Administration (MPA). The University of Central Florida participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

*All statistics and calculations from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information click here.





About the author

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Born in SoCal yet raised Tampa, Florida - Leah earned her undergraduate BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Leah earned her MA in the MALAS at San Diego State University, while also completing a graduate teaching certificate in English for Secondary Education. An avid traveler, she has visited more than 60 countries. With the birth of her son Spencer in 2012, Leah embarked on her biggest adventure (yet) as parent and Coast Guard wife.