How to Find a Job in Public Administration

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Jobs in public administration are available at the state, local and federal levels. Public administrators are charged with ensuring the smooth operation of government in areas as diverse as education, environmental services, diplomacy and veteran's affairs. Degrees in public policy or public administration can increase chances of getting approval for such jobs. Acquiring a master's degree in public administration provides a powerful competitive advantage when searching for such jobs. A masters degree in business administration can also be valid experience for beginning a career in public administration.

  • Consider applying for a non-administrative job within the government agency that interests you before looking for a public administration position. Although the government does sometimes hire outstanding individuals from the private sector to management positions, it prefers to promote people from within its own system. If you already have a degree related to public administration, however, you may be in a better position to apply for a management job.

  • Seek out jobs in departments that are relevant to your interests and professional experience. If you have additional degrees (particularly a PhD), you may have additional qualifications to work in public administration in specific fields. For example, doctors can find positions in public health departments working as administrators. You may find federal job listings at the USAJobs website linked in the resources below. Your state department of civil service will offer more information about jobs at the local or state level.

  • Cultivate professional relationships with government administrators. You may want to apply for internships to get a better sense of what working for the government is like. Although it may not result in direct employment with the agency that you intern for, employers will be able to provide recommendations to help smooth your entry into public administration.

  • Consider working for a public university as a public administrator, particularly if you have advanced degrees in other fields. Public universities typically require a wide variety of experts to manage affairs and offer competitive salaries.

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