Types of Degrees Public Administration Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many public administration graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Public Administration Majors Need to Know
In an O*NET survey, public admin majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.
Knowledge Areas for Public Admin Majors
This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:
- Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Skills for Public Admin Majors
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to public admin:
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Abilities for Public Admin Majors
A major in public admin will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
What Can You Do With a Public Administration Major?
Below is a list of occupations associated with public admin:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|General and Operations Managers||9.1%||$100,930|
|Investment Fund Managers||8.0%||$107,480|
|Regulatory Affairs Managers||8.0%||$107,480|
|Social and Community Service Managers||18.0%||$65,320|
|Supply Chain Managers||8.0%||$107,480|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Public Administration?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of public admin majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||2,301|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,686|
Students from other countries are interested in Public Admin, too. About 10.8% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
How Much Do Public Administration Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that public administration students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $48,100 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $44,500 (25th percentile) and $53,800 (75th percentile).
It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to public admin.
Salaries According to BLS
Public Admin majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $71,670 to $123,880 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Public Administration
Some degrees associated with public admin may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to public admin have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||14.5%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||2.8%|
|Some College Courses||5.9%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||7.9%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||5.6%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||3.6%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.5%|
Online Public Administration Programs
In 2018-2019, 503 schools offered a public admin program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||22||6|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||6||2|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||1||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||47||9|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||1||1|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Public Administration Worth It?
The median salary for a public admin grad is $102,850 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 158% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,259,000 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Public Administration
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to public admin.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Community Organization & Advocacy||2,832|
|Other Public Administration||971|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By The Official CTBTO Photostream under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.