If you’re interested in a career in public policy and administration, take a closer look at the career opportunities and salary potential for these online degree programs.

A speaker addresses an audience at a public meeting.The public policy and administration field attracts motivated individuals who want to be involved in shaping public policy and administering programs that serve the public good. Degree programs focused on public policy administration are responding to the demand with a variety of online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs—and a rich selection of specialized subject matter options. With so many choices, online students can embark on a highly focused, continuous path for career advancement.

These examples of top online public service and public policy administration degrees feature similar strengths, including foundational studies, development of scholarly research skills, practical exercises, opportunities for field experiences and internships in the master’s programs, and face-to-face residencies in the doctoral programs.

  1. PhD in Public Policy and Administration
    Doctoral degree programs such as a PhD in Public Policy and Administration provide you with a comprehensive study of public policy theory, research, and practice in a global context. You can gain the skills needed to assume key positions such as college professor, academic administrator, or government affairs officer.* With a dozen or more specialized doctoral tracks, these online degree programs help you focus on your interests and career goals. You’ll have the guidance of a faculty of scholar-practitioners throughout your dissertation process, and have the opportunity to participate in face-to-face academic residencies with faculty, staff, and peers.
  2. Master of Public Policy (MPP)
    Master’s programs in public policy teach the critical thinking skills needed to evaluate public policy issues and develop solutions that can help you make a positive impact on society. By integrating theory, practice, and realistic scenarios that play out in an interactive learning community, you can gain a thorough understanding of the components and processes of creating effective policies. Top MPP programs offer many specializations for expanding your knowledge and skills in areas like criminal justice, health policy, and global leadership. Earning an MPP can prepare you for diverse positions including policy analyst, grant writer, government affairs director, communications director, and city government elected official.*
  3. MS in Emergency Management
    This type of degree includes comprehensive coursework in the skills needed to create and implement disaster prevention and response plans. You can learn how to analyze the emergency management cycle, measure risk susceptibility, utilize research methodologies, and apply other advanced emergency management skills. Specializations in emergency management can help prepare you for leadership positions in specific areas such as terrorism and emergency management, criminal justice, and homeland security. A master of science degree in emergency management can open doors to challenging careers in law enforcement, emergency response, disaster risk reduction, and federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  4. MS in Criminal Justice
    Online degree programs like this one help you understand the increasingly complex and sophisticated issues facing the criminal justice system today. You’ll study criminal behavior theory, victimology, cybercrime and Internet technology, homeland security issues, and organizational management and leadership skills. Master’s degrees in criminal justice often provide specializations that allow you to fine-tune your career focus in policy analysis, global leadership, emergency management, terrorism, or other important areas. Graduates can look forward to many career options and leadership positions throughout the criminal justice system.
  5. BS in Political Science and Public Administration
    Begin your college education with a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration to learn the skills that can help you succeed as a leader in various settings such as public and private sectors, law, international and nonprofit organizations, journalism, and electoral politics. Coursework generally covers the U.S. government’s foundations, skills of successful public-sector leaders, ethics issues, public policy making, and global politics. The best bachelor’s degrees offer concentrations that allow you to focus your studies on specific areas of interest, such as global issues and social justice, law and legal studies, managing in the public environment, and social entrepreneurship. You can continue to advance your career with master’s and doctoral online degree programs.

Job Market for Public Administrators and Political Scientists

The job market for public administrators is projected to increase by 12% between 2012 and 2022. In 2012, the average median salary for public administrators was $81,080, and the top 10% earned more than $143,070. The job market for political scientists is projected to increase by 21% between 2012 and 2022, in response to a growing interest in public policy and political issues. In 2012, the average median salary for political scientists was $102,000, and the top 10% earned more than $155,490.

Explore Walden University's online public policy administration degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Continue your education and advance your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.

*Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

†Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–2015 Edition, Administrative Services Managers, Political Scientists, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm.

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