6 Reasons Why You Should Study Public Administration Online

United States capitol building

There comes a time in many students’ lives when the allure of taking online classes becomes too appealing to ignore. Of course, there are a plethora of benefits in showing up to a normal classroom and interacting directly with a professor in person—and this is not an attempt to belittle that setting.

After all, this setting has worked well for the majority of students over the years. While the traditional classroom is still the common practice in schools across the globe, the increasing popularity of the internet has given rise to a new digital classroom with advantages that work well for those students who have found the traditional model less appealing.

Enrolling in an online (or on-campus) public administration program offers students the best of both worlds, as public administration is the cornerstone of the public service field. Professionals spend their days working to make sure that their organizations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. There are many sub-fields with their own duties, and often, public administrators are required to be flexible as they move from position to position.

Florida National University (FNU) provides students with critical flexibility and a superior skill set to handle situations that arise in the professional world, while still managing to provide students with an intimate, small classroom feel—even online. Here are six reasons benefits of studying public administration and why taking your public administration courses online is the right choice:

1. Demand

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an entire generation of public administrators is preparing for retirement, and they will be leaving behind a large gap in the workforce creating significant advantages for those studying public management. Students striving to fill positions of leadership will find that demand for careers in public administration is growing steadily and is projected to continue into 2022.

These workers have a high degree of administrative and managerial responsibility and earn a median salary of $86,000 per year. Other Masters in Public Administration (MPA) holders may work in urban and regional planning, which also offers a good salary of $69,000 per year.
There are many other perks to this employment, such as incredible health benefits, that make studying public administration an appealing choice to pursue a stable and rewarding career. This is great news for those students looking to quickly start their education in public administration online.

Many professionals with an MPA work as administrative service managers in many different departments in the local, state and federal government. They are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating supportive services of the organization or department. Their specific responsibilities can vary, but they will usually be responsible for maintaining facilities, departments and supervising public sector services and activities.

Interestingly, the salary level for administrative service managers differs at times for those who work in the private sector:

  • Finance and insurance: $97,000
  • Scientific, professional and technical services: $95,000
  • State and local government: $87,000
  • Educational services: $82,000
  • Health care and social services: $80,000

2. Many Opportunities for Growth

With a degree in public administration, amazing opportunities present themselves for those with the drive and perseverance to seek them out. Public administrators often turn their eyes to key government positions such as town manager, city planner, and program analyst—positions that allow them to make full use of the leadership skills they develop over the course of the program: conducting deep comprehensive research, creating a network of influential contacts, coordinating teams and overseeing the development of policies that have a lasting effect on the community. Success in one of these positions may even lead an individual to run for mayor or another key position of political influence.

If you earned your undergraduate degree in public administration or public policy, you have learned about the daily operations of government organizations and the political process. You did not receive extensive training however on how to manage workers and financial resources, which is of critical importance for upper-level managers and administrators in government.

In your MPA program, you will be introduced to the many challenges of managing finances and human resources in the government, as well as strategies and tools to boost production and motivation. Your MPA will prepare you for leadership responsibilities in government, just as an MBA prepares a business professional for leadership in business.

However, government jobs are not the only option for program graduates; there are great opportunities to be found all the way from non-profit organizations to the entertainment industry. There are options across several industries in which a degree in public administration can make a major difference—a difference that is eagerly welcomed.

3. Make a Difference

The role of a public administrator, at any level of government, is one that offers the ability to enact real change in policies and in the programs developed to serve the public. While the job has its share of challenges, the decisions made by a public administrator have the power to affect the lives of many individuals, simultaneously. There will be times when these issues take years to resolve, but when they do, the sense of personal accomplishment will be remarkable.

  • Public Policy and Management: This specialization will ready you for various managerial and analyst positions in all public sector organizations. This is a good choice if you want an administrative position with a federal agency or a state or local government department.
  • Nonprofit and Community Leadership: This concentration will prepare you for a leadership role with organizations that work in local and community economic development, poverty, housing, and neighborhood planning. This is a good path for the MPA professional who wants a public service career but not always in a government agency.
  • Emergency Management: You will be prepared to work as a disaster professional in support of communities, governments, and public organizations. You will work in the preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation of various emergency situations, including natural disasters and terrorism.
  • Healthcare Policy: For those who want to work in administrative and managerial roles in health care and healthcare delivery systems. You will learn how to analyze, implement and evaluate effective health policies in local, state and federal agencies.

Professionals who work in public administration can work in many different sectors and on many different issues in their careers. Being able to work in so many different areas over time makes public administration a great fit for those who want to make a difference to the public and society. Some of the most popular public administration issues today include:

  • Climate change and its ramifications
  • Securing food and water resources in developing nations
  • Reducing the incidence of major diseases in underserved populations
  • U.S. defense against terrorism and biological agents
  • Helping former convicts to reenter society and become productive citizens
  • The opioids crisis
  • Providing quality education and health care for those in need

These are just a small sample of the issues that you can work on in your public administration career.

4. Flexibility and Stability

Online learning is a fairly new concept to some, but the truth of the matter is that many students today find the option to take classes online refreshing. Some students are more comfortable in the atmosphere of a traditional classroom, with an active and engaging professor. However, others prefer the intimate offered by taking an online course. Students who are self-motivated and can push themselves to do the coursework while keeping up with assignments will find the freedom and flexibility of online learning a great addition to their lifestyle.

Not only does an online course grant students the ability to tackle assignments when they want, but also where they want. Students are able to focus on work from the comfort of their own home or down the street at their favorite coffee shop. It’s easy to see why the idea of taking courses online has become more and more popular.

Also, working in public service, especially in government agencies, provides you with strong job security. Most government workers, once they are in their positions, have very strong job security. Although there are fewer public sector workers now than a decade ago, the number is rather misleading.

Some senior employees have continued to work after the last recession, so this may have caused employment numbers to dip in government agencies. But new public administrator jobs in government are constantly growing. Once a worker is hired in the state or federal government, your job is usually strongly protected, so you will not have to worry about being unemployed in a recession.

5. Lower Cost

Often, the cost of learning online can be markedly lower, due in part by the fact that materials might be digital, provided for students to download. Supplies and other major expenses, such as books (especially if the latest editions are required) can be costly if students are not able to find used copies for sale—therefore, learning online might be a more cost-effective solution. That is not to say that online courses never require textbooks, but only to highlight that professors often opt for downloadable materials.

Keep in mind that certain costs can be eliminated altogether if one decides to attend online classes from the comfort of home. Costs such as room and board, campus meal plans, and commuting expenses are no longer a concern for the online student.

About FNU’s Program

The program is intended to expose students pursuing a higher-level degree in public administration to the laws and regulations that directly and indirectly impact the financing of public programs, the intricacies of government relations, and political leadership. It prepares students by giving them the skills they need to enter clerical and support positions in the field of Public Administration. Students will develop vital communication, organizational and decision-making skills that will serve as the foundation for positions that require leadership and the managing of groups and individuals.

So what do you learn in public administration? The curriculum offers essential introductory courses in public administration business management, as well as a thirty-nine credit-hour component of general education/liberal arts courses required for an Associate of Arts degree. Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded an Associate of Arts Degree in Public Administration from FNU.

FNU: Providing Education Both Online and Off!

Are you still on the fence regarding why study public administration and whether to pursue this online or in the traditional classroom system? No matter what your choice may be, FNU has you covered with a curriculum that provides the knowledge to secure a bright future. Public administration is only one of many programs offered by FNU; look over the full list of programs and apply today!