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The Surprising Advantages of Careers in Government and Public Administration

One of the most historically stable job sectors in the U.S. offers even more compelling reasons to earn a public administration degree online.

More than 22 million people currently work in local, state, and federal agencies across the U.S., making the government one of the nation’s largest single employers. Although job growth is modest in government agencies (i.e., one-half-percent increase at the municipal level in 2014),* the steady retirement of baby boomers has been creating consistent job vacancies across all job sectors. Every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. This pattern began in 2011 and will continue until the youngest baby boomers turn 65 in 2029.

This is good news for graduates with a public administration degree who are equipped with the critical thinking and decision-making skills they acquired in their master’s or doctoral program—and who are seeking employment or advancement in the public sector.

The Surprising Advantages of Careers in Government and Public Administration

What Advantages Do Government Workers Have?

  • Job Stability
    Unlike private-sector positions, which may be among the first eliminated in an economic downturn, government jobs are generally more stable and are predicted to be in a strong growth mode over the coming years.
  • Hundreds of Occupations
    In May 2013, more than 2 million civilian workers were employed in 350 different occupations at the federal level alone. Whatever your professional interests or skills, there is likely a federal job that suits your career goals.
  • Making a Difference in People’s Lives
    Some professionals actively seek the opportunity to serve their country as a public employee. Whether you seek a degree that can lead to a public administration career in homeland security, providing vital services to at-risk populations at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or helping retired or disabled military service personnel at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a public administration degree can prepare you for a position and professional path that align with this mission.
  • Career Advancement
    There is ample room for advancement in careers in government and public administration. A Master of Public Administration (MPA) is beneficial, if not required, for many leadership roles in federal, state, and local governments. With the critical thinking and decision-making skills and knowledge you’ll acquire in your degree program, coupled with the right use of resources and networking, you can position yourself for success.

Public Administration Careers

An MPA can prepare you with the critical problem-solving skills needed for leadership positions such as:

  • Deputy city manager
  • City manager
  • Economic development planner
  • U.S. Foreign Service officer
  • Human resources director
  • Policy researcher
  • Public health administrator
  • Senior strategic policy advisor

A PhD in Public Policy and Administration can help prepare you to pursue a wide spectrum of leadership positions such as:

  • Legislative aide
  • Government affairs officer
  • Policy analyst
  • Private consultant
  • Research director
  • Senior-level nonprofit manager
  • Senior-level public executive

Salaries for Careers in Government and Administration

The job market for public administrators is projected to increase by 10% between 2016 and 2026. In 2017, the average median salary for public administrators was $94,020, and the top 10% earned more than $163,480.§

Explore Walden University's online public policy and administration degree programs and specialized certification programs that fit your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.

*Governing, State and Local Government Employment: Monthly Data (December, 2017), on the Internet at
†Gallup. Only a Third of the Oldest Baby Boomers in U.S. Still Working (2015), on the Internet at
‡Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Outlook (September 2014), “Working for the Federal Government: Part 1,” on the Internet at
§Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–15 Edition, Administrative Services Managers, on the Internet at