The government sector is typically one of the biggest employers in any given region, suggesting a positive career outlook for those who qualify for civil service jobs. However, for those with advanced credentials, such as a Master’s in Public Administration or MPA, this may be a lifetime career that is fulfilling on a professional and personal level. Public administration is a field that focuses on the structures, processes, policies, resource allocation strategies and all facets of how governments are run. It is a broad field, and careers in public administration exist at all levels and in different sectors. Working on a master’s degree in public administration allows candidates to focus and strengthen their expertise to a more specific field.
Scope of Public Sector Designation
Local, state and federal government organizations and agencies are not the only public sector settings that provide career opportunities for public administration majors. Nonprofit agencies focused on community service and non-governmental organizations working for the public good may also count as public sector entities. Publicly funded schools at all levels are considered part of the public sector whether they are fully subsidized by public funds or jointly funded with government grants and private sector donations. Other potential employers include international organizations providing consultancy and advisory services to foreign governments and private corporations that may require public administration expertise.
Career Pathways in Public Administration
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, administrative services in public sector organizations spans the whole spectrum from entry-level clerical positions to the chief administrator of multi-agency systems. MPA candidates can choose their specialization by reviewing function-based options or mission-based opportunities.
Public administration specialists may have the training and credentials as accountants and auditors, tax examiners and revenue agents, compliance officers in different fields or social service and community health providers. An advanced degree in public administration may enhance career strategizing in terms of specializing in missions and issues rather than function. As such, one can become a policy maker, an advocate for specific issues or the head of a think tank or research group. Some of the hot button issues in public administration today include climate change, food safety, water supply and safety and national security in light of the prevalence of terrorism incidents. Diplomatic strategy, community health, education, sanitation and socio-economic programs to support and empower underprivileged groups are among the most pervasive traditional challenges facing public sector leaders.
While anyone can run for elective positions after meeting age and residency requirements, public administration graduate degree holders are uniquely qualified in terms of expertise and networking abilities. Do not discount positions on the municipal or city level as these are the best training grounds for future leaders. With an MPA, one can become a career politician or public sector expert in elective positions or by climbing the leadership ladder through progressive advancement through the bureaucracy.
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Multiple Credentials in the Public Sector
The career outlook for those with a Master’s in Public Administration is immediately enhanced when one has also earned other qualifications. It is not uncommon to find lawyers, physicians, nurse practitioners, auditors and educators with advanced degrees working in the public sector. An MPA will provide the administrative and analytical skills needed to thrive in the rigid structure of government agencies.
Working in the public sector provides many opportunities for advancement and career diversification. For many, civil service is a way to give back to the community while pursuing issues that are close to one’s heart. A Master’s in Public Administration will help bring these goals into focus while ensuring a stable career outlook for a lifetime.