Career Information for a Degree in Public Administration

A degree in public administration prepares students for leadership positions in fields such as state and local government, health care administration, non-profit management and human resources management. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for public administration graduations.

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Essential Information

Public administration students learn how to set public policy, communicate effectively, create budgets and understand financial reports. Organizing people and assets, mediating conflicts and designing programs are also covered in bachelor's and master's degree programs. Health care administrators, urban planners and city managers are all examples of public administration positions. Other possible careers include non-profit management, court administration and community organization.

Health Care AdministratorUrban and Regional PlannerCity Manager
Education RequirementsBachelor's Degree Master's degreeBachelor's Degree
Job Growth (between 2012 and 2022) 23%11%10%
Median Salary $88,580$65,230$86,247

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Health Care Administrator

Health care administrators manage organizations such as hospitals and clinics. Duties can vary widely, depending on specialization and level within the organization. Clinical health care administrators might oversee trauma care or surgery departments, while general administrators manage the overall functioning of an entire practice or organization. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of health care administrators, also called medical and health services managers, is expected to increase by 23% from 2012-2022, reflecting the overall growth of the health care industry (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that, as of May 2012, median earnings for this field were $88,580 per year. A master's degree in public administration is often necessary for these positions.

Urban and Regional Planner

Urban and regional planners help local governments determine how land will be used in order to solve various public problems. In addition to planning the building of parks, roads and other infrastructure, they also help write environmental and social legislation. In 2012, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $65,230 for urban and regional planners and predicted 10% growth in employment between 2012 and 2022. Some urban planners have earned a master's degree in public administration.

City Manager

City managers fill the role of chief executive for cities that operate under a council-manager governmental system. Their job responsibilities are largely similar to other government executives. They oversee city departments, hire and fire administrative personnel and departmental heads, create and adhere to a yearly budget each and communicate with citizens. Unlike mayors, city managers are usually appointed by the city council and do not represent a political party.

Competition for this position is strong because of the large number of qualified applicants who aspire to the office. Salaries vary from city to city, but median annual earnings as of February 2014 were $86,247, according to PayScale.com. While not always required, many city managers have a master's degree in public administration or a similar area. A bachelor's degree is often the minimum education required.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • California (17 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BA - Liberal Studies (Integrated California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential)

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Human and Social Services
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics