If you have the qualities of a good administrator, you could have a successful public administration career.

''Whether you’re picnicking in a city park, traveling on an interstate, or applying for government benefits, there are public administrators working hard to make sure you get the services you want and deserve. Without these professional men and women, our system and way of life wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as it is. Public administration is a vital field of work—and if you have the right qualities, you can be a part of it.

What do you need to excel in public administration? The top qualities of a good administrator include the following.

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A Desire to Help Others

Whether you work for a nonprofit or for a government department at the local, state, or national level, your job as a public administrator will entail helping people. That’s what nonprofits and most government agencies are for, so it helps if you have a desire to create social change.

An Ability to Think Long-Term

Most nonprofits and government agencies tend to think far into the future, setting ambitious goals that will take years to attain. To be successful in a public administration job, you have to be able to develop strategies with steps that reach five, 10, and even 20 years into the future.

An Ability to See the Details

Along with long-term vision, good public administrators also need to pay attention to the details. You shouldn’t micromanage or allow yourself to get obsessed with one project, but you should be aware of the day-to-day goings-on so you can make sure plans stay on track.

Plenty of Patience

If you’re working for a government agency, you’ll often have to work with elected officials whose priorities may not align with yours. This can cause delays in projects or changes in plans. The more patience you have with others, the better off you’ll be.

Plenty of Trust

Many government departments are large, and many nonprofits have legions of volunteers. In both cases, you have to trust others to carry out your plans. Once you’ve delegated a task to someone, you have to let them take control. Staring over their shoulder or questioning their every decision could undermine their confidence, detract from your valuable time, and jeopardize the project.

A Creative Mind

Neither nonprofits nor government agencies are known for large budgets. Typically, you’ll have limited resources. The more creative you are in using your resources, the more successful you’ll be in providing services.

A Love of Learning

Public administration requires applying a lot of knowledge and skill to an ever-changing world. There’s always room to learn more, which makes a love of learning key to getting—and staying—ahead.

Many public administrators begin their careers by earning a Master of Public Administration (MPA). Through an MPA degree program, you can gain the skills you need to work across different sectors of government, effectively balance budgets, write and negotiate contracts, manage conflict, and build partnerships. It’s a great way to put yourself on the path to a successful public administration job—and thanks to online learning, completing an MPA program may be more possible than you might have thought.

In an online MPA program, you won’t have to take time away from your other responsibilities. Instead, you can take advantage of a flexible schedule designed for working adults. If your responsibilities require you to complete coursework at night, you can complete it at night. If mornings are better, you can work on it then. And since online education lets you complete your courses from anywhere you have internet access, you can earn your master’s in public administration right from home.

If you think you have what it takes to succeed in public administration, online learning can be just what you need to get your career off the ground.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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