When you begin to search for public administration jobs after graduation, you may be surprised to find that less than half of graduates with a master of public administration and public policy end up working for the government.
The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) reports that 44% of master of public administration and public policy graduates work for federal, state, or local governments, while 45% pursue careers with nonprofits and private entities. Regardless of how you plan work in public service, your online degree program will provide you with experience, skills, references, and professional credibility to handle the demands of public administration jobs.
Where to Find a Job in Public Administration
Graduates seeking a job in the federal government may expect that they will need to work in or around Washington, D.C. However, this is only the case for a small proportion of federal government jobs. BLS data shows that about 22% of federal workers live and work near the nation’s capital.
Others are spread across the country, with about 15% of federal workers employed in California and Texas. Of course, this does not consider the thousands of government positions available in state and local governments, as well as jobs in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) both domestic and abroad. Dedicated applicants can find available positions all over the country.
Getting Hired in Public Administration
Public administration and policy jobs, particularly those in government, often require a special application process. If you are interested in working for the federal government, a first step is to create an account with the U.S. government’s job portal. There, you can submit your updated resume, cover letter, and transcripts. You might be asked to fill out a questionnaire and write essays.
You may also choose to post your resume on job portal sites like Public Service Careers, a site co-sponsored by NASPAA and other nonprofits that helps to match people with a master’s in public administration and policy with jobs.
Volunteer in Public Service
Volunteering for a public service organization is often easier than finding a job. The U.S. government’s main portal maintains a list of sites you can browse to find volunteer opportunities or create your own volunteer projects. There are programs that allow you to decide how much time you can devote. In a program like the Peace Corps, with nearly 7,000 volunteers, you get first-hand experience working on goals to improve lives worldwide. After you spend a few months to over a year volunteering in public service, you have a valuable asset to add to your resume.
Start a Nonprofit
As they approach graduation, some students realize that the best way to ensure they have a job is to create one. If you have defined a need in a specific community, you could create your own nonprofit organization to solve the problem. Nonprofits compete for limited funding, but people who start with a well-researched plan and infrastructure are more likely to make their nonprofit organizations a success. The National Council of Nonprofits offers guidelines on starting a charitable nonprofit.
Consult on Public Policy
A fresh pair of eyes and ears is welcome when big ideas and money are on the line. An independent analysis gives new energy to an often insular process. If you have a strong desire in a very specific area, bringing that specialized competency to the table helps tremendously.
As a consultant you can say what needs to be said if people are headed in the wrong direction or spending too much energy in one area or not enough in another. Typically, students who find they want to consult start as a management analyst or an auditor. But not always – there are many paths towards consultancy work.
Public Policy Internship Programs
Experience is considered a basic requirement for graduates seeking jobs in the field, which many find through internships with the U.S. State Department and other governmental agencies. Internships, paid and unpaid, provide you with supplemental training and practice in:
- Studying and carrying out foreign policy initiatives at home or in a foreign consulate
- Balancing policy requirements with community needs
- Meeting with senior U.S. and foreign officials to determine future policy
An internship with an important public service organization or administrator in key positions has the potential to give you impressive references for your resume. Start by asking your adviser for internship recommendations months in advance, to give yourself an advantage over competition, and time to locate one that will work for you.
Like many jobs, careers in public administration call for experience, expertise and the right kind of connections. With a Master of Public Administration and Policy, you have the skills necessary for policy analysis and management that make you ready to work in the government or a nonprofit organization. You want to apply your knowledge and the MPAP degree is a great place to begin to make a difference.
To learn more about American University’s online Master of Public Administration and Policy, request more information or call us toll free at 855-725-7614.