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Public Administration

What can I do with this major?

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Local Government

  • City Management
  • Financial Administration
  • Budget Analysis
  • General Services
  • Community Affairs
  • Social Services
  • Urban Planning
  • Counties
  • Municipalities
  • Townships
  • School districts
  • Special districts

State Government

  • Administrative Services
  • Legislature
  • Judicial
  • Various departments of state government
  • Legislative agencies including:
    • Legislative Reference Services, Bill Drafting Services, Legislative Councils and Budgeting and Auditing staffs
  • State Supreme Courts
  • Personal staff of legislators
  • Intermediate Appellate Courts
  • Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction
  • Trial Courts of Limited Jurisdiction

Federal Government

  • Professional
  • Administrative
  • Technical
  • Various federal departments and agencies

Federal Government: Legislative Branch

  • Legislative Agencies
  • Legislature
    • Administrative Staff
      • Washington-based
      • Home District
      • Committee
  • Various agencies including:
    • General Accounting Office, Library of Congress, Government Printing Office, Congressional Budget Office
  • Offices of senators and representatives

Federal Government: Judicial Branch

  • Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts
  • Supporting organizations

Federal Government: Executive Branch

  • Office of the President
  • Management and Budget
  • Administration
  • Council of Economic Advisors
  • U.S. Trade Representatives
  • Executive Departments
  • Office of the President
  • Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor

Federal Government: Independent Agencies

  • Independent Agencies include the following (not an exhaustive list):
    • Coordination and Public Safety
    • Emergency Response Policy
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    • Federal Emergency Management Agency
    • General Services Administration
    • National Archives & Records Administration
    • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    • Office of Personnel Management
    • Securities & Exchange Commission
    • Tennessee Valley Authority
    • U.S. Information Agency
    • U.S. International Development Cooperation


  • Administration
  • Development
  • Program Management
  • Policy Analysis
  • Research
  • Grant Writing
  • Local and national nonprofit agencies and foundations
  • Charitable organizations
  • Trade or professional organizations
  • Research organizations and think tanks
  • Educational institutions

Political Support/Lobbying

  • Political Action Committees (PAC)
  • Various industrial, educational, and public interest groups
  • Political parties
  • Lobbying organizations
  • Large business firms


  • Human Resources
  • Budget Analysis
  • Management
  • Sales/Marketing
  • Management Consulting
  • Occuapational Safety Coordination
  • Public Relations
  • Business firms
  • Contracting and consulting firms
  • Association management firms


  • Healthcare Administration
  • Policy Development and Analysis
  • Health Delivery Systems
  • Hospitals
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Insurance companies
  • Nursing homes
  • Social service and community agencies

International Affairs

  • Governance
  • Policy Making and Analysis
  • Public Sector Reform
  • Poverty-Reduction Strategy
  • Ethics and Anti-corruption
  • Human Rights
  • Public Law
  • Organization and Management Development
  • Resource Development
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Media/Communication Policy and Practice
  • Education
  • Intergovernmental agencies, e.g., World Bank, United Nations
  • National governments
  • Non-profit agencies
  • Policy and research organizations
  • Private businesses
  • Contracting and consulting firms

General Information and Strategies

  • An undergraduate degree in Public Administration, with the appropriate experience, is sufficient for entry-level position in government and business.
  • A graduate degree in public administration or public health administration helps prepare students for management and upper-level administrative positions. Carefully research programs in order to choose specializations or concentrations of interest.
  • Consider law school for careers in upper level politics, administration or management. Explore joint J.D. and M.P.A. programs to see if they meet your career goals.
  • Obtain broad liberal arts background including written and verbal skills, communication and foreign language skills.
  • Part-time, summer, internship, and volunteer experiences are extremely helpful in government affairs, organizations or public service areas.
  • Develop strong leadership skills; run for office in clubs and organizations in school or community. Volunteer to organize or lead an event or project.
  • Get involved in Student Government.
  • Demonstrate interest/involvement in community affairs/events.
  • Join related social and/or professional organizations.
  • Employment opportunities in local government tend to follow population trends in terms of growth and decline in availability of positions. Be prepared to relocate to find the most opportunities.
  • Develop a strong personal network through informal contacts.
  • Political connections are helpful for appointed positions. Most agencies respond to professional connections.
  • Expect keen competition for federal positions. Prepare yourself with a strong academic background and good experience. Many government jobs have strict guidelines and want to carefully match candidates' KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities) to the job description. Research this first and seek the classes and experiences that will best prepare you.
  • Develop patience, persistence and drive in obtaining government positions.
  • Explore application to Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) and the Outstanding Scholar Program for federal positions.
  • Learn applicable application process for area of interest.
  • Research websites and books that address various government job opportunities, pay structure and hiring processes.
  • Consider military experience and training as an entryway into government jobs and public service.
  • Plan on following a flexible career path to higher positions. Many people begin on the clerical or entry level in order to gain experience and network.

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