Public Administration: State of the Field

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The ever-changing world is becoming increasingly connected through the implementation of new policies and technological advancements. These changes are providing new areas of growth within the field of public administration. With these new directions underway, emerging public administration careers are set to be secure and exciting to watch.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Ohio University’s Online Master of Public Administration program.

Public Administration: State of the Field infographic

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What is Public Administration?

The key focus of this field is to manage existing nonprofit agencies or public sector programs and create solutions. The goal is to provide public resources so that all needs are met. This includes describing each resource to the public to improve accountability and transparency. It also involves providing a thorough analysis and effective solutions.

The professional impact involved makes it clear that this particular career is of the utmost importance. At the moment, 6.9 million people are employed in public administration. It should be noted that the average public administrator is 44 years of age, which means the field is ready for fresh blood, especially with the emergence of younger populations such as Gen X and Millennials.

Changes That Need to be Addressed

The world is a rapidly changing place. This can be seen in recent demographic trends. The United States is going through a tumultuous transition and becoming more of what it was meant to be: a diverse melting pot of people.

The year 2043 should be one to remember. This is when the US population is expected to grow to approximately 400 million people, but what makes this year truly special are the demographic changes that should take place. It is estimated that by 2043 no particular ethnicity will represent more than 50 percent of the country’s population.

These changes need to be reflected in all sectors of public administration, and they come with a new set of challenges and opportunities.

Many sectors of the population are experiencing changes, like the Hispanic population, which is expected to grow to almost 120 million by the year 2060. This particular group will represent one-third of the entire US population. Asian Americans are also expected to make a jump from 16 million to almost 34 million people.

Demographic shifts and population growth are creating different local and state policies that are representative of this changing dynamic. The culture in many states throughout the US is rapidly reshaping the values within their communities. All of these changes need to be incorporated, which is why the public administration industry is undergoing a much-needed shakeup.

A Closer Look at the Largest Employer

As some might have guessed, one of the largest employers of public administrators is the government. Many sectors of the government are hungry for qualified employees who specialize in public administration and are properly educated.

One of the most common government jobs available is a managerial position. These positions come in various forms, which may interest different people. For one, there is a general operations manager. This person takes an active role in the direction of a public program. The administrator works with an organization to help improve or modernize ideas.

Another high-demand position is that of a financial manager. Many programs are funded by grants or other financial tools. These funds need to be allocated and administered properly to ensure that each part of the program is funded. This will make sure that the public receives the best service possible.

A human resource manager is another position that is needed and could be filled by a person who loves to work with people. The position requires people management skills, as the administrator will make certain that every employee is treated well and is in the right position for optimal results.

Logistician is another field that public administrators can consider. This administrator’s job is to make sure that an organization using government funds never runs out of supplies. Logisticians also ensure that no supplies are wasted. This career is all about the details, which should satisfy people who are diligent and highly focused.

Those who love finances will be happy to know that many jobs in public administration require knowledge and passion for finances. For example, there are opportunities for budget analysts, accountants, and tax examiners, just to name a few jobs.

These are the most popular federal jobs, but employment can be found in local governments as well.

Local Positions

Many individuals are becoming interested in public administration, but they do not want to work outside of their communities. Some people feel a certain obligation to their community and want to take an active role in revitalizing it. These individuals will be interested in positions that are available locally.

One position that is sought after by many cities is the role of the city manager. These managers handle different aspects of city programs and make sure they run smoothly.

The parks and recreation superintendent is another position that many are interested in. In fact, it is one of the most exciting areas in the public administration field due to some of the changes that are happening at the moment. For example, a growing number of cities are looking to make eco-friendly improvements. A public administrator will help implement the changes that residents are demanding.

Some residents are hoping to reconstruct their cities and make them more bike-friendly or walkable. This will decrease the dependence on cars and give people more natural, earth-friendly travel options. Other cities want their parks to have more trees, especially in big cities where CO2 emissions can be a problem. Trees help stabilize the atmosphere, making their presence important and beneficial. Becoming a parks and recreation superintendent means being at the forefront of these types of changes and helping the local community.

Of course, these are just some of the careers available to those who are interested in public administration. The growing changes in the US population make this field ripe and hungry for new ideas that could change the public’s future, be it on a small or large scale.

There is certainly an exciting time to explore the opportunities offered in public administration.

Learn More

Our online Master of Public Administration at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs can help you build the skills to address public needs in effective, efficient, and imaginative ways. We want you to take the big ideas in your head and put them into action by helping you develop as a project manager, communicator, policy analyst, and financial mind. When you have an expert understanding of public administration and the professional tools to back it up, you can lead a career of consequence for your constituents.