5 High Paying Careers in Public Administration

  • CEO
  • City Manager
  • Financial Manager
  • Executive Director
  • Hospital Administrator

Individuals who spend years on education in public administration usually want to find the highest-paying career in their field of interest. There are many specializations, and salaries depends upon the size of the organization employing the administrator, the scope of his or her responsibilities and whether the organization is a non-profit. Here are five top paying careers in public administration.

1. CEO

A CEO is usually an administrator who works for a corporation as its highest-level manager. His or her duties and salary depends upon the size of the business. The CEO, or Chief Executive Officer, is hired by the board of directors, who are directly responsible to the shareholders. That means the CEO must be accountable for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization and reporting to the board.

The level of oversight is delegated to lower-level management hinges upon the size of the corporation. In a large company, the CEO may have little knowledge of the “nuts-and-bolts” daily operation of the corporation but is still ultimately responsible for its success. They must have considerable business acumen as well as communication and public-relations skills.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for a CEO is $183,270. A CEO in a small corporation will earn less, while one in a multi-million company could make a nine-figure income and have a generous benefits package.

2. City Manager

A City Manager is appointed by the City Council in a municipality that has a council-manager government. Depending upon the size of the city where he or she works, the city manager may appoint department heads that are under his supervision. The city manager is responsible for the internal and external operations of the city government. Internal issues are things like policies and procedures and employee relations. External issues include community relations.

City managers rely on community insight to identify city needs and desires. They then research those areas and report to the city council on possible methods to meet community expectations. The salary of a city manager depends upon the geographical location and size of the city, but the BLS reports the median salary is $175,000.

3. Financial Manager

A financial manager is a public administrator who works for a corporation, an investment business or a non-profit organization to oversee its profit and loss, report on financial activity and to predict financial trends so that the organization may respond proactively. They must understand the legalities of the business and ensure that the company remains in compliance with financial laws and standards. They also supervise employees who are responsible for budgets and financial department reports. Financial managers review annual financial reports to identify cost-saving strategies and makes recommendations to the board of directors. The BLS reports the median salary for a financial manager is $125,000.

4. Executive Director

An executive director is similar to a CEO, but they generally are employed by a non-profit organization. They are appointed by the board of directors and charged with creating the culture of the organization. An executive director oversees the budgetary profile of the non-profit, motivates and supervises both employees and volunteers and is adept at public relations.

As in the case of the CEO, he or she is the highest-level manager in the organization, responsible directly to the board. The CEO, however, usually works for a business and is paid a higher salary than the executive director whose employer depends upon donations to meet the budgetary demands. The executive director can expect to earn a median salary of $113,000.

5. Hospital Administrator

This public administrator also has a background in healthcare. He or she plans and oversees the healthcare policies and procedures of the employing hospital. Although they usually have many department heads, they carry the responsibility for the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of everything from housekeeping to medical staff. They oversee scheduling, hire physicians, keep abreast of technology and acquire new equipment, communicate with the public, government and other groups and oversee facility marketing.

According to BLS figures, a hospital administrator earns a median salary of $98,350. Depending upon the size of the facility, however, the may earn considerably more.

Related Resource: Top 50 Great College Deals: Master of Public Administration Online

There are many specializations in the public administration field. The careers highlighted in this list may apply to many different areas of employment. Generally, these occupations are the top paying careers in public administration.