How To Start A Career in Public Administration

How To Start A Career in Public Administration


Having a career in mind that you want to enter is excellent; however, it can sometimes be tricky working out how to get to where you want to be. Do you need to go back into education? Do you need to get some experience? Do you need to work your way up? These are some of the things that you need to research and find out so that you can find the right route for joining the career path that you want to be a part of. Below are some tips that will help you get started as a Public Administrator:

What does a career in Public Administration entail?

A job in public administration can take you on many varied paths. Generally, you will be working in the public domain and around public policy in a range of different areas. This could be in the civil service at a local or national level, or it could also prepare you for other positions in fields such as human resources, non-profit management and health care administration. All of these positions are varied, but they all require the same type of skills. It can be challenging to choose which public administration path to go down, but it does give you a lot of options when you are first trying to find a job which you can begin to narrow down in the future.

A career in public administration is excellent if you want to help people. There are career paths that include working in the government where you can be influential and non-profits where you can provide help for various communities or groups of people in need. It is an excellent career if you care deeply about an issue and want to work with other like-minded people.

It is also a great career for people who like to lead. There will be many opportunities in your career to lead and broaden your skill set.

It is a very competitive field of work so you need to ensure you are as equipped as you can be so that you are in the best position to get yourself a job in the sector.

Do you need to gain any qualifications?

Although there are a variety of different jobs in the public administration sector that will need different sets of qualifications, the qualification that will allow to progress the furthest would be a bachelors degree in public administration. 

A degree will give you a broad knowledge of everything that you will need to know for a career in any form of public administration. You may also be able to specialize when you get further into your degree, so you are better equipped for the route that most interests you.

Some of the things you will learn during your degree include public policy, how to create budgets and understand financial reports, and how to communicate effectively. 

If you already have a degree in a subject other than public administration, you may be able to take a masters degree to gain all the knowledge that you need to know. Many masters degrees offer you the chance to further specialize in the sector that you want to pursue, making the knowledge you gain more suitable for the type of job you specifically want. 

Once you have finished with your formal qualifications, there are still many opportunities for you to learn and improve your skills. Your opportunities could include learning on the job or finding information online from places like Norwich University, who post resources that can be helpful to your work as a public administrator. The learning never ends, so you need to be open to always improving.

What skills do you need?

There are many transferable skills that you can take from your degree, but also from all your other life and work experiences. Some of the skills include:

  • Excellent communication skills – the ability to communicate efficiently is something that we are always improving on as we go through life. You need to communicate well to make friends and get through everyday situations. When you are in public administration, communicating efficiently is key to being able to build relationships with your colleagues and the people that use your service. You also need to be able to efficiently get your point across in a way that everyone can understand and sometimes you’ll need to persuade people. Over time you will learn what tactics work with which people and you will be able to navigate any situation seamlessly.
  • Problem-solving – Often in this line of work, you may have to find the route cause of a problem so that you can implement a solution. This is why great problem-solving skills are essential. You need to be able to think critically and outside of the box to find answers that no one else would think of.
  • Be able to form a well-reasoned argument – This is something that you will hopefully begin to perfect at university through the variety of assessments and presentations that you will need to complete. When you start your journey on your career path, this skill will help you to be able to debate one-to-one or in committees so that you can have a positive influence on decisions that have to be made.
  • Resilience – You need to be able to cope with the pressure of a demanding job, and try to approach things positively. You also need to be able to deal with an ever-changing work environment and not let any difficulties get the better of you. 

Where can the career take you?

By working hard to get the experience and knowledge you need to progress, this career can take you far. You may have to start at the bottom, but there are many opportunities to work your way to management and leadership roles where you can continuously develop your skills. 

A career in public administration could lead you down several unexpected paths, so don’t limit yourself. Stay open-minded and see where the future takes you!


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