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Career Information for a Degree in General Public Administration

General public administration programs generally cover areas of organizational theory, public policy, management and political science. Continue reading for an overview of the potential degrees as well as career and salary info related to some career options for graduates.

Social and human service assistants, public relations or fundraising managers, and budget analysts are some of the professionals that can prepare for their career with a degree in public administration. Social and human service assistants are required to have a certificate or associate's degree in public administration, while public relations or fundraising managers and budget analysts need a bachelor's or master's degree.

Essential Information

In a public administration program, students learn to set public policy, plan budgets and work with elected officials. Graduates of a degree program in general public administration might find work in nonprofit administration, administrative services management or budget analysis. Opportunities often depend on the degree level attained. Related undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in human services, social sciences, business, behavioral science and public relations.

Career Titles Social and Human Service Assistant Public Relations or Fundraising Manager Budget Analyst
Education Requirements Certificate or associate's degree in public administration or a related field Bachelor's or master's degree in public administration or a related field Bachelor's or master's degree in public administration or a related field
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% 7% 3%
Median Annual Salary (May, 2015)* $30,830 $104,140 $71,590

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Graduates of a public administration degree program can find work in the public sector, either with local, state or federal governmental agencies, but others might seek employment with charitable or nonprofit organizations, universities or even private businesses. Doctorate programs, like the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration, can also prepare graduates for research and academic careers in public policy, public administration, politics and other fields.

Read on to find out about three careers - social and human service assistant, public relations or fundraising manager, and budget analyst - for which public administration graduates might qualify.

Social and Human Service Assistant

Graduates of an associate's degree programs in public administration might meet the general requirement for this entry-level position; however, some employers also require on-the-job training. Typical job duties include referring clients for community assistance, leading group activities and monitoring case reports. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's or master's degree is required for advancement to a managerial position in social and human service (www.bls.gov).

In 2015, the BLS reported that the median salary for social and human service assistants was $30,830. Employment growth of 11% was predicted during the 2014 to 2024 decade.

Public Relations or Fundraising Manager

As recently as 2015, O*Net Online reported that 78% of public relations and fundraising managers held a bachelor's degree (www.onetonline.org), and an additional 8% had a master's degree. Fundraising managers might work with nonprofit organizations to oversee budgets, fundraising efforts and long-term plans related to public relations. Obtaining a bachelor's degree in public administration can provide the detailed knowledge of public policy and lawmaking processes utilized in nonprofit management.

The BLS reported that the median salary for public relations and fundraising managers was $104,140 in 2015. Jobs were expected to expand by 7% between 2014 and 2024.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysts help manage financial plans for corporations and government entities, as well as offer financial advice to management. They collect information and study account records to analyze how funds should be spent in the future. The BLS notes that some employers require or prefer candidates with a master's degree from a relevant area, such as public administration.

The median salary for budget analyst was $71,590 in 2015, per the BLS. Employment growth of 3% was expected between 2014 and 2024.

Budget analysts manage finances for governments and corporations, while public relations or fundraising managers typically oversee budgets and fundraising for non-profit organizations. Social and human service assistants perform a variety of tasks, including helping individuals locate community programs that can provide them with necessary assistance. All of these professionals are required to have postsecondary education in public administration to enter these career fields.


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