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Public Policy Management Jobs: Options and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to enter the public policy management field. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and experience to find out if this is the career for you.

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Public policy management is a broad career field with multiple job opportunities in different sectors. Many positions are available in both federal and state governments, and some focus on the environment and sustainability. While bachelor's degrees are accepted for employment, those who wish to apply for higher level jobs should consider pursuing a graduate degree in public policy management.

Essential Information

There are various educational pathways to take to achieve a career in public policy management. Most positions require a bachelor's or master's degree in public policy management and analysis. Some positions in public policy management, such as research positions and faculty positions require a doctorate in public policy or related field. Some employers will also accept degrees in economics and political science.

Career Legislators Management Analyst
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -1%* 14%*
Average Annual Salary (2015) $42,530* $87,750*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Options in Public Policy Management

Public policy management and analysis is a broad career field with many opportunities for individuals. Many careers in public policy management revolve around issues regarding the environment, sustainability, and the impact of humanity around the world. Individuals wishing to work in public policy management may have careers as managers at federal or state agencies, directors of nonprofit agencies, elected government officials or attorneys.

The projected employment growth for management analysts is 14% during 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. Efforts to reduce spending and increase efficiency will maintain the need for analysts in the public sector, the BLS says. Management analysts at the federal executive level earned a mean annual salary of $87,750, according to reports from the BLS in May 2015.

Employment for legislators or elected government officials will see a 1% decline for the 2014-2024 decade, the BLS says. In 2015, the BLS reported that the average annual salary for those at the state level was $45,390, while legislators in local government earned $42,310.

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Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in public policy management focus on teaching students the specific topics that are prominent in the arena of public policy. While these programs offer students a foundational education in public policy, they do not focus on building more advanced skills such as management techniques. Individuals who want to pursue promotional opportunities often need to complete a graduate degree in the field.

Graduate Degree Programs

In order for students to gain more advanced knowledge and skills, they may need to seek a master's degree or a PhD in the field of public policy management. These programs will delve more into the management aspects of a career in public policy. According to the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), the two most common master's degrees for public service careers are the Master of Public Policy (MPP) and the Master of Public Administration. These degrees often require four semesters of full-time coursework and an internship in the field.

The PhD program is intended for individuals wishing to conduct research. Individuals may work in consulting firms or universities. Most public policy PhD programs do not require candidates to have completed a master's degree program in the field.

Graduates with degrees in public policy management may find work as legislators or management analysts at the federal level. Even though there will be little to no change in job opportunities for legislators, management analyst jobs in general are projected to grow much faster than the average.

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