The Road Less Travelled – A career in Public Administration

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It can be said that public administration is the single most important aspect of bureaucracies across the world and if you have obtained or are thinking of obtaining a degree of MBA in public administration, you are probably wondering how exactly this degree can be applied within the workplace. A career in public administration is definitely not well known and – is a career path, less taken. The name, public administration, itself can have some broad interpretations, which can be confusing for new degree-seekers or individuals that do not currently have experience working in the public domain.

Here is a list of frequently asked questions regarding public administration careers:

Firstly, what is Public Administration?

As defined by Marx administration as an action taken in pursuit of a conscious purpose. It is the systematic ordering of affairs and the calculated use of resources aimed at making things happen. However, a complete definition for public administration is difficult to define due to the sheer number of tasks that fall under it. Some academics argue that all the government related work falls into this category while others argue that only the executive aspect of government functioning comprises of public administration.

Various authors have defined public administration, and according to L D White, Public administration consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfillment or enforcement of public policy. Woodrow Wilson defines public administration is a detailed and systematic application of law.

Public administration is the policies, practices, rules and regulation etc, in action and overall, public administration is a field in which leaders serve communities to advance the common good and effect positive change. Public administration professionals are equipped with skills to manage at all levels of government (local and nationally) as well as nonprofit organizations.

What does it mean for the private sector and business?

The business side of public administration, graduates and individuals have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in management positions or specific sectors within an organization, such as marketing, human resources, training, or overseeing company functions for regulation adherence. In addition, the skills employed across the field of public administration such as project management and program management are also transferrable to the private sector.

How to start your career in public administration?

The best method for getting involved in the field of public administration is through obtaining a degree or MBA in public administration. You will learn more about finance, human services, policy and maintenance of organizations that serve the public. 

What are the career options?

There are several options and fields, and you could pursue a career in government or nonprofit work in areas related to the following interests or departments:

  • Transportation
  • Community and economic development
  • Public health/social services
  • Education/higher education
  • Parks and recreation
  • Housing
  • Law enforcement and public safety
  • Emergency management
  • Disaster response
  • Public works

Finally, if you are interested in the field of public administration may benefit from learning more about the actual people within the field and then establish benefits of pursuing it as a career focus. However, Public administration is an increasingly popular field that calls upon people that are interested in being a part of the widespread public service field. This can include services provided at the local and national level, those involved particularly in public health and safety, local government and education.


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