As any modern-day student can attest, there are too many areas of study to count. For many new and returning students, the sheer volume of prospective degrees can prove overwhelming. While many majors relate to highly specific fields and career types, others are considerably broader, making them more attractive to people with varied interests.
This is where public administration enters the picture. Covering an extensive range of specialties and careers, public administration is the field of maintaining an orderly society and providing for the needs of the public. Additionally, public administrators can take on a number of roles, including city managers, policymakers and public counselors. In determining whether a public administration degree is right for you, take care to ask yourself the following questions.
Is Helping Others Important to You?
While few people actively relish the suffering of others, not everyone is passionate about helping people who are less fortunate than themselves. Sure, many of us occasionally donate to charity and pay lip service to the plight of the poor, but few people will truly put their money where their mouth is.
If you’re interested in turning to help others into your fulltime occupation, a degree in public administration is sure to serve you well. People who want to get involved in altruistic endeavors are often hindered by schedule constraints, but as someone who works in public administration, you’ll get to spend every workday contributing to the greater good. Many members of the workforce have no passion for what they do and feel that their respective jobs have no impact on the rest of the world. However, even with job satisfaction at all-time lows, you’d be hard-pressed to find a public administration professional who doesn’t love their work.
Do You Want to Be a Change-Maker?
Although there are exceptions to the rule, many people who pursue degrees in public administration are driven by the desire for change. In many cases, this change relates to healthcare, income inequality, child safety and other matters pertaining to public health. While it’s certainly possible to treat a public administration career as a day job, such an approach can be highly detrimental to the quality of your work. On the flipside, if you’re fully committed to change and willing to play an active role in bringing it about, a master’s in public administration can be the key to making your aspirations a reality.
Do You Wear Many Hats?
As previously stated, public administration is a broad area of study that covers an extensive range of subjects. That being the case, anyone pursuing a degree in this field will need to wear many hats when it comes to academics. When working to earn a public administration degree, students are required to take courses in communications, law, finance, economics, and health — to name a few. This means being able to juggle a sizable number of classes and understand a wide assortment of subject matter.
Of course, this isn’t to say that you should throw in the towel if one or two of the required subjects don’t appeal to you. Most schools, both online and brick-and-mortar, provide academic assistance for students who are struggling in certain subjects, and there’s no reason aspiring change-makers should allow themselves to be derailed by a couple of hard classes.
Do You Like Having Options?
In today’s increasingly competitive, gig-oriented job market, career options are becoming a dwindling commodity. Job seekers often spend years training for specific careers, many of which don’t offer viable backup plans.
Conversely, a degree in public administration can open many different doors and provide you with an enviable abundance of options. For example, while many public administration majors become counselors and city managers, others seek elected office or find jobs in the media. Whether you’re interested in working in the public or private sector, a public administration degree can help you write your own ticket.
If a career that’s both financially rewarding and professionally fulfilling is what you’re after, pursuing a degree in public administration is a solid first step. Specializing in this field can widen your career path, ramp up your earning power and set the stage for lasting success. While public administration may not be a good fit for everyone, this area of study has a much broader appeal than many people realize.