Public administration is government in action: the voice of a community heard. Government entities enact policies and programs in the interest of the public, including the less fortunate. These actions are administered through public and nonprofit organizations that are expected to be efficient and effective. Fortunately, there are professionals who specialize in this area: public administrators.

Individuals who would like to take a step further in their career as a public administrator may earn a Master of Public Administration (MPA). The versatility of this degree enables graduates to choose from a wide range of career paths, and here we’ll be exploring a few of the many roles a public administrator can fill.

The Role of a Public Administrator

Public administration involves the design, organization, and execution of public affairs and policies. However, this definition does little to convey the importance of public administrators. These far-reaching leaders in government and nonprofit organizations plan, analyze, and coordinate activities and manage the achievement of public goals. Public administrators can wield tremendous influence and many of them play pivotal roles in local, state, and federal governments and in a variety of nonprofit organizations, in essential areas including healthcare, human services, education, parks and recreation, transportation, economic development, fine arts, and public safety.

Public Administrators in Action 

Public administration is devoted to the noble cause of public service. This makes public administrators a source of stability within government agencies, especially during transitions of power. To carry out this responsibility effectively, public administrators must have excellent leadership, communication, analytical, and organizational skills, all of which can  help them rise through the ranks and see their aspirations brought to fruition.

The duties of a public administrator tend to vary based on the organization they are working for. For example, one public administrator may work to develop laws and policies at the state level, while another may manage a city department working on specific issues impacting the community at the local level.

Possible Career Fields

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of public administrators is expected to grow by 6% by 2029, greater than the national average for all occupations. Well over 20,000 public administrator positions will need to be filled throughout this period, including many in the following areas:

Governmental Management

Public administrators play a variety of roles in local, state, and federal government, developing, researching, enforcing, and managing policies to improve communities. Positions in governmental management include elected officials, program managers, planning directors, and department heads.

Nonprofit Management

Nonprofit management will be of particular interest to public administrators hoping to tackle a specific issue in their community, such as a humanitarian crisis. Positions in nonprofit management include program directors, grant administrators, and fundraising managers.

Educational Management

Postsecondary education administrators can create lasting change at colleges and universities. Alternatively, public administrators in education can pursue careers at government entities, where they will be able to advocate for causes deemed most beneficial for students, faculty, and staff. Positions in educational management include education administrators, program directors, and research associates.

Healthcare Administration

Public administrators in local and state hospitals work closely with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers to improve the quality of healthcare delivered to patients. As an added bonus, employment in healthcare is expected to grow 15% by 2029, much faster than the average for any other occupational group. Positions in healthcare administration include hospital administrators, directors, health systems administrators, and program specialists.

Pursue a Career in Public Administration at UT Permian Basin

Devotion is a quality shared by many public administrators. For the aspiring public administrator with a desire to serve their community, we offer a convenient, affordable online MPA program. 

The University of Texas Permian Basin’s online MPA program provides the tools needed to become an effective leader and changemaker for your community. You’ll discover practical, competent, ethical, and legal ways to address organizational issues and policy questions with the goal of upholding public interest. Designed with working professionals in mind, our program is delivered entirely online and can be completed at your convenience. Our course offerings place control of your education in your hands, allowing you to tailor your degree to your interests with electives such as:

  • Issues in Health and Human Services Policy and Management
  • Health Care Marketing
  • Innovation in Public & Nonprofit Organizations
  • Cultural Diversity in Education and the Social Sciences
  • Financial Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations
  • School Human Resources Management
  • Civil Liability in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Marketing Management

Public administration is a rewarding career unlike any other, where a single administrative decision can mean profound and positive changes for a community. Whether championing a cause or driven by a general desire to make a difference, you can make a genuine impact in your community by earning an MPA and pursuing a career in public administration.

Apply to our online MPA program if you’re interested in finding out exactly what you can do with an MPA. As a graduate, you may find that you’ll be able to enact positive change in your personal and professional life as well as the world around you.