Public Management Degree and Certificate Program Information

Public management degrees are offered at undergraduate and graduate level. Public policy, urban planning, healthcare policies and human resources administration courses are common at both program levels.

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Essential Information

Public management degree and certificate programs are designed for students who wish to serve as managers and administrators in the public sector of governmental organizations, non-profit agencies, healthcare administrations and criminal justice institutions. The most common educational options in public management are bachelor's and master's degree programs and graduate certificate programs. Coursework may revolve around public policy, urban planning, healthcare policies and human resources administration.


Bachelor's Degree in Public Management

A bachelor's degree in public management provides students with a foundation in public management, public policy and urban planning. Students are introduced to the tools needed to work effectively in public management. These tools include research, economics, statistics, analysis and problem solving. Public management degree programs often offer students tracks, such as health policy and management, urban planning and development, managing public entities, and public policy processes. Programs may result in either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree.

Prior to enrolling in this program, applicants must have earned either a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED). Many colleges also require potential students to have completed courses in math, economics and computer language. Those interested should check with a school advisor to see what specific requirements are necessary to enroll in the public management degree program.

A bachelor's degree program for public management typically includes classes such as:

  • Public management
  • Urban planning and development
  • Citizenship and ethics in public management
  • Public policy, planning and management
  • Human resource management for the public sector
  • Statistics and analysis in public management

Master of Public Management

A Master of Public Management program trains students for leadership positions within public sectors. Students can pick specializations in public administration, criminal justice administration and health systems administration. Master of Public Management programs emphasize a strong commitment to public service.

Those interested in pursuing a Master of Public Management must hold at least a bachelor's degree in any subject. A strong GPA and participation in some business courses are likely to improve admissions chances. Master of Public Management programs build upon foundational business courses and intensively cover financial management, policy development and ethics. They feature classes in the following areas:

  • Budgeting and financial administration
  • Administrative ethics for executive leaders
  • Statistics in public management
  • Public program and policy evaluation
  • Practices in operating a non-profit organization
  • Overseeing criminal justice administrations

Public Management Graduate Certificate

Public management graduate certificate programs are designed for individuals who wish to transition from a professional or technical position to a managerial position. They help students hone administrative abilities, develop analytical skills and strengthen communication. Graduate-level certificate programs are often available online to accommodate individuals who are already in the workforce.

Prior to enrolling in a public management graduate certificate program, one must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college. Most graduate schools also require students to submit letters of recommendation and submit GRE scores.

Students can expect to take the following classes in a public management certificate program:

  • Strategic marketing
  • Human resource administration
  • Analyzing cost-benefit ratios
  • Public managing processes
  • Public sector negotiations
  • Public management budgeting and finance

Popular Career Options

Undergraduate public management degrees qualify holders to go on to graduate school; law school is often a popular choice. Those who decide to enter the workforce may pursue entry-level roles in urban planning and development, public management or non-profit organization management.

Students who successfully complete a public management certificate program often choose the following careers:

  • Government agency administrator
  • Healthcare administrator
  • Human resource manager
  • Non-profit budget analyst

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Master's degree holders are qualified to work as operations managers for public organizations. The job outlook for operations managers was projected to grow by 7% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean annual wage for operations and general managers working in local government was $96,570 in May 2015.

Students in public management degree programs can expect to take courses covering topics such as public policy and urban planning. While some students who graduate from bachelor's programs decide to pursue graduate degrees, many also choose to enter certificate programs.

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