25 Exciting Career Paths in Public Administration

If looking for a degree in public administration, there can be more to it than just program rankings and salary questions. What to do after graduation can be as daunting a task as getting an education. Because there is no one path to a career in public administration as there is with doctors or lawyers, what to do with your degree can be confusing.

To help clarify, we have gathered 25 exciting career paths in public administration. They can help you make the most of your education and your work days with choices on everything from an after school job to what can happen when public administration goes right.

Exciting Well Known Career Paths in Public Administration

  1. Fed Career
    When one thinks of public administration, they often think of a government distributor or manager. And the most likely employer can be the federal government, which has their official site here. Their database allows for job searches by federal agency, state, and even field.
  2. Civil Service
    Also known as government jobs, civil service tends to be more people oriented. This can mean working with citizens and residents on behalf of the federal government or local agency. Check out this guide from About.com with more on the job.
  3. Education Administrators
    One of the largest parts of service is education. So it is no surprise that the need for qualified education administrators is on the rise. They provide instructional leadership and day to day management of educational institutions.
  4. Administrative Services Managers
    A generic sort of sounding career, they plan, coordinate, and direct a broad range of services in everything from education to healthcare. State and local governments, as well as finance and insurance, are also potential employers.
  5. Public Administration Consultant
    Being an expert in administration, many public administration professionals can go into consulting. They make policy and procedural recommendations for meeting budgets, deadlines, etc. Visit here for the profile page of a firm who specializes in that.
  6. Executive Director
    This public administration career is the sort of CEO of a non-profit group. They head up the advocacy, fund raising, and other civic duties associated with the role. Usually chosen by the board of the non-profit, they are charged with running the entire organization.
  7. Director of Development
    Want to stick to just the fundraising aspects of a non-profit? Then check out a career on the development side, with the director being the one in charge of funds raised. Tony Poderis of Raise Funds discusses what a good director of development is worth.
  8. Program Analyst
    A good stepping stone for public administrators, this job focuses on improving a single program within an institution. They can be responsible for planning, analyzing, and evaluating the effectiveness of a program. This section of the NIH has more on what they are specifically looking for.
  9. Program Director
    Once you have mastered the above, a promotion to this public administration career may be in the works. The program director can be responsible for one, several, or all of a non-profit’s programs. This article from eHow Money has more on the role.
  10. City Manager
    City managers are public administrators who try to make city governments operate with the efficiency of successful businesses. They are chosen by elected officials and can work for small towns on a part time basis or for large cities. This entry from State University has more on what they do, education required, and salary.
  11. Mayor
    Public administration professionals who have found success in one or more of the above positions can often put their names on the ballot and run for mayor or even a position on the city council. A record of leadership and results can often be required. The Philanthropic Family even included what they would like to see in their next mayor.
  12. Public Service Employees Network
    If you still need to know more about the above, click here. The PSEN has loads of resources for those interested in public administration. They have job finding resources, ways to get hired, and much more. You can even learn more about civil service tests.

Exciting Little Known Career Paths in Public Administration

  1. Internship
    Just about every field has options for interns, including public administration. This site keeps a massive database of available internship positions across the country. A few of the current available options include with non-profits, government organizations, and even law.
  2. Internship Opportunities
    If you didn’t find what you were looking for above, click here. This database has many options available and branches out more for public administration. Current possible employers include publishers, marketing, and even an inventor’s company.
  3. Foreign Service Officer
    These representatives promote U.S. interests abroad and can live dangerous and exciting careers. Part of the U.S. Department of State, many interested in public administration choose this career path. There are five positions within foreign service, and you can learn more here.
  4. Iraq Transition Assistance Office
    The ITAO provides a programming and oversight role to executive departments and agencies in concluding the remaining large infrastructure projects in Iraq. Public administration professionals are often needed by the agency. You can read more on their official site here.
  5. PA in Afghanistan
    Just like the above, public administration is needed in Afghanistan. Working with the Civilian Technical Assistance Program, they help to build effective structures, processes, and skilled personnel. Check out this “help wanted” ad with more information on the job.
  6. Housing Specialist
    Want to get people into houses but don’t want to work for a bank? Then learn more about this public administration career. They are responsible for assisting families and youth with finding affordable housing.
  7. Case Manager
    Similar to the above, a case manager helps the disadvantaged with their particular situation. This can include financial and medical issues. The job requirements for this position preferred those who are bilingual.
  8. Research Associate
    Those just starting out on a public administration career may take work as research associates. They are charged with conducting research, interviews, materials, and reports. This job with the NAPA requires a bachelor’s degree but prefers an MPA.
  9. Budget Analyst
    If you enjoy numbers as much as you enjoy public administration, check out this career. This website is run by an actual budget analyst with the 30 years’ experience in the field. You can learn more about it, prepare for it, and even get relevant reading materials.
  10. Field Examiner
    Conduct field examinations to determine and appoint fiduciaries for the legally disabled in this career. Graduate education and experience are often required. This particular job listing is for those who want to work with veterans.
  11. Urban Planner
    Also known as a regional planner, they help a community decide how to best utilize its resources. They often work with or for a local government and make recommendations on schools, roads, and other infrastructure projects. There is even a certification that can be gained when striving for this career.
  12. Association Leader
    Think of your favorite non-profit or charity. They often need association leaders, aka public administration professionals, to help lead them to success. Visit the Center for Association Leadership to learn more about the careers, openings, and even get a Mentor Connector.
  13. U.S. Secretary
    What happens when you reach the top of the public administration ladder? You get appointed to a high profile position by the President of the United States. This is a list of those who got their degrees in public administration and went on to become secretaries of health, labor, and housing and urban development.

And the above 25 exciting careers paths in public administration is just the beginning. To learn more about the career, including what the job entails and educational requirements, click here.