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Top Careers in Public Administration

Earning your online MPA can open up a world of exciting career options.

Politicians know how to grab headlines. The work they do makes news—good and bad. We have them to praise when things go well, but we also have them to blame when things go wrong. Because they’re the ones in charge, right?

Not necessarily. While political leaders might set the direction, hundreds of thousands of people work every day in government, at all levels, to ensure that direction gets turned into action. The people who make things happen are the administrators. Without them, nothing gets done.

Top Careers in Public Administration

While the title “administrator” might sound dull, managing government—or large, public-sector organizations in general—requires action and collaboration. Large organizations depend on subject-matter experts, managers, communicators, caseworkers, inspectors, field operatives, and administrative specialists—among many others—to operate effectively.

Because there’s so much to do, career opportunities for public administration are nearly limitless. Here’s a list of careers that may spark your interest:

Budget Analyst

Median Salary: $78,9701

If you’re interested in finance and are detail-oriented, being a budget analyst might be the career for you. Typically, budget analysts make sure that government agencies or nonprofit organizations keep their finances in order by monitoring spending and reporting the correct data to upper management.

Social and Community Service Manager

Median Salary: $69,6002

If you like helping people in your community, and also enjoy organizing and motivating them, consider a career as a social and/or community service manager. Social and community service managers work in government offices and community-based nonprofits to streamline the delivery of social services, solve problems for members of their communities, and manage staff who work directly with the community.

Training and Development Manager

Median Salary: $115,6403

To keep up with today’s fast-paced world, organizations at all levels must train employees in new technologies, new policies, new regulations, and new ways of working. Training and development managers typically work with human resources specialists and upper management to develop and deploy training programs to government and private sector workforces.

Health Services Manager

Median Salary: $104,2804

Healthcare is a rapidly growing field, and managing how healthcare is delivered is vital to keeping our system working. As a result, the field of health service management is expanding much faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a health services manager (also known as a healthcare administrator), you’ll plan, direct, and coordinate the delivery of healthcare and healthcare services in government agencies, hospitals, community health centers, clinics, nursing homes, and anywhere else healthcare services are delivered to the public.

Management Analyst

Median Salary: $87,6605

Management analysts are also known as consultants. They work to understand organizations, and then they propose and deploy policies and procedures to make the organizations more efficient and effective. Management analysts often work in the private sector as management consultants, but they’re also increasingly employed in government positions to help improve how government agencies work for the public.

Emergency Management Director

Median Salary: $76,2506

Floods, fires, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, severe weather events ... There’s no shortage of emergencies that impact us all. Emergency management directors develop plans for dealing with natural disasters and other emergencies. They also help coordinate the efforts of first responders, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) when disaster strikes.

Compliance Officer

Median Salary: $71,1007

Following regulations and adhering to the terms of licenses and permits can be a complicated and ongoing task. In the private sector, it means keeping up with government requirements, monitoring organizational policies and procedures, and keeping track of the employee activities. In government, compliance officers work with organizations to make sure they’re following the rules. They also work internally with regulators, inspectors, analysts, and policymakers to stay informed of changes in regulations, licensing requirements, and permitting processes.

Program Specialist (Nonprofit)

Average Salary: $81,9658

Program specialists are the hubs of organizations that run multiple programs. Whether working for a government agency or a nonprofit, program specialists (sometimes known as program managers) coordinate all aspects of the programs they oversee. They set goals, monitor progress, procure funding for projects, and oversee budgets. They also manage the staff assigned to the projects. The program specialist is the key to making sure a program can accomplish its mission—now and in the future.


Median Salary: $76,2709

Logisticians make sure the transportation and handling of goods happen as efficiently and effectively as possible. They deal with everything from product development to transportation to warehousing, ensuring that the supply chain does not break down—a constant concern for businesses and economies.

Government Affairs Director

Average Salary: $159,64810

Every organization, no matter how large or small, has to deal with the government at some level. Whether it’s delivering services to the community or influencing policy on issues that affect all of us, government affairs directors make sure the organizations they work for have a voice in local, state, and federal government.

If you want to make things happen in government, Walden University can help you gain the skills and knowledge you need. Through programs such as the online Master of Public Administration (MPA), you can attend classes and complete coursework on a schedule that allows you to continue working full time. This makes an online MPA program an ideal choice for working professionals who want to improve their career opportunities.

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.

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Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,