Several online graduate options are available in public administration, and many of these remote master's degree programs can be completed fully online. Some schools, however, may require students to take exams at a proctored location near their home.
A background in public administration is beneficial, and admission to an online program requires at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. Graduates are prepared to serve as managers at nonprofit organizations, as well as local, state and federal governments.
Master of Management of Public Administration
A master's degree program in public administration prepares students to manage an organization that focuses on public service. Public administrators are needed to manage all aspects of public service at the federal, state and local levels. These degree programs provide students with the same skill sets as traditional programs, such as those in problem-solving and decision-making. In addition, students are expected to be proficient in areas such as public human resources management, intergovernmental relations and organizational management upon graduation.
Program Information and Requirements
This advanced degree program can take at least 24 months to complete. The online component of the program educates students through online lectures available at any time. Assignments must be submitted electronically, and classmate interaction takes place through e-mail, discussion forums and Web applications.
Programs may offer management concentrations in government, nonprofit or public health, with curricula that combine theory and practice for a comprehensive public administration education with solid leadership development. Other possible concentrations in a public administration degree program may include criminal justice, public policy, homeland security policy and coordination and public safety management. Here are a few examples for coursework.
Nonprofits play a major role in public administration management. Courses in nonprofit management typically deal with leadership skills, public policy and financial management for these organizations.
Courses in public management prepare students for careers that require sharp problem-solving skills dealing with the vast array of organization in the public sector. Students study strategic planning, urban planning and social policy.
Courses in local government may include an analysis of methods used to deliver innovative and effective public services to citizens. Students are educated in urban planning, the public and nonprofit sectors and human resources management.
Students study budgeting and analyze government revenues and expenditures through analytical tools. Typically, this type of course will educate students on forecasting techniques, ratio analysis, growth rates and inflation in relation to managing the finances of government programs and organizations.
Policy and Program Evaluation
The study of social policy deals with the development and implementation of multidisciplinary policies related to public administration. Students become aware of the political, social and economic implications of social policies for both nonprofits and organizations in the private sector.
An online program allows students to apply newly obtained knowledge to a current job right away. In addition, the demand for well-educated management professionals who can excel in public service continues to grow. Most degree programs in public administration management prepare graduates for employment in an increasingly complex, politicized, intergovernmental environment. Salaries vary depending on the area of specialization.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2015, child, family and school social workers earned a mean annual wage of $46,610 (www.bls.gov). That same year, healthcare social workers earned a mean annual wage of $54,020.
Continuing Education Information
Students who are interested in teaching at the university level may want to pursue a Doctor of Public Administration degree. This degree can also qualify graduates for consulting work. Concentrations may include public policy, urban management and public administration theory.
For students who are particularly interested in holding high-level positions in the public sector, an online Master of Management program with a focus on public administration can provide relevant procedural and organizational leadership training.