Associate Degree in Public Administration: Program Summary

Oct 20, 2019

Essential Information

Earning an associate's degree in public administration can prepare graduates for entry-level careers in local, state or government agencies, as well as with nonprofit organizations. It is a suitable course of study for both high school graduates or mid-career professionals who are interested in moving into the public sector. Students enrolled in such a program may gain a foundational understanding of public sector institutions, community action agencies and human services organizations in the United States.

Associate's Degree in Public Administration

An associate's degree in public administration is targeted towards individuals who would like to gain a greater knowledge of how various domestic public institutions interact. It is most often pursued by individuals who wish to enter the public sector. An associate's degree in public administration provides students with the practical education and skills necessary to run an administrative staff or department. Students learn the basics of financial accounting, human resources, organizational management, problem-solving and budgeting. Common course topics include:

  • Introduction to American government
  • Principles of public administration
  • American state and local government
  • Business and public policy
  • Administrative law
  • Public program evaluation

Popular Career Options

An associate's degree in public administration typically only prepares graduates for entry-level positions in the field. Individuals interested in advancing can either work their way up the corporate ladder or earn a higher degree by transferring their associate's degree credits to a baccalaureate program. Entry-level positions may include:

  • Legislative staffer
  • Lobbyist
  • Information specialist
  • Grant writer
  • Occupational safety coordinator
  • Program administrator
  • Accounting or auditing clerk
  • City planning clerk
  • Human services assistant

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that occupational health and safety technicians could expect a job increase of 7% between 2018 and 2028. These workers earned a median salary of $50,780 per year in May 2018.

Continuing Education Options

Colleges and universities offer both bachelor's and master's degree programs in public administration for individuals who are interested in furthering their education. Individuals who are interested in pursuing research or teaching opportunities in the field of public administration might even consider enrolling in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in the field.

Public administration students pursuing an associate's degree will complete courses related to principles of public administration, government, and business and public policy. Graduates with this degree may seek employment in entry-level positions, but can continue their education for a bachelor's degree to advance in their careers.

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