If you're interested in entering politics, the civil service, or acting as a key policymaker in the private or nonprofit career sectors, public policy and administration may be an excellent career choice for you. As a broad career sector, public policy and administration encompasses a number of widely divergent career paths, from economist and sociologist roles to government executive, elected official, and government appointee positions. Public policymakers can establish careers in international governmental organizations; federal, state, and local government; global businesses; and nongovernmental or nonprofit sectors.
Career Training and College Degrees in Public Policy and Administration
Because public policy and administration is such a broad career field, your ideal college degree will depend on the specific career you choose and the level of education you'll be required to attain. If you want to establish a broad educational base, a bachelor's of science (BS) in public policy or global business can get you ready for entry-level jobs in public policy and administration. If you want to increase your marketability, earnings potential, and potential for career advancement, you may want to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus in public policy, or a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree.
Career training program in social science in public policy and administration can provide you with the skills to evaluate, develop, and implement public policies and governmental actions--anything from public works projects like transit networks to starting a career center or after-school program. You will be required to hone your analytical skills and understand complex social, economic, and cultural factors that affect policy outcomes. Career training may include general concepts like political elements of decision-making, legal analysis, and program evaluation, or more complex and specialized fields like microeconomic theory, statistical modeling, bureaucratic structure analysis, and even civil and administrative law.
Public Policy Careers: A Look Ahead
Because of the widely varied job descriptions for professionals in public policy and administration, job outlook varies by occupation. For example, overall employment of economists is expected to increase 7 to 13 percent by 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment of economists in government is expected to decrease, however, while economists working for large global corporations can expect a dramatic increase in career opportunities. Other public policy and administration careers should see a modest growth in job prospects.
While those in high-level executive public policy and administration careers should experience keen competition, the compensation in public office can sometimes rival private salaries. According to BLS data, city managers and chief administrative officers in local government pulled in median annual earnings of $92,799 in 2006. Treasurers made $54,803.