Online Public Administration Degree

A career in public administration involves having a strong foothold in the administrative services and policies within the public sector, typically within a governing body or a local organization. With a strong intention to develop and strengthen the policies that affect a company or city, having a substantial background in public administration makes it easier to carry out these policies within numerous different fields. Whether it’s the federal government, finance, education, or healthcare, many who wish to play a prominent role within their community will begin by first earning a degree in public administration. Luckily, it’s never been easier to gain the knowledge and skills to enter this field due to the increase in accredited online public administration programs available.

In this article, we’ll explore online public administration degrees as well as answer the question of “What can I do with a public administration degree?” If you’re looking for an accredited online program and want to learn more about what to expect from these programs, this article should help you take the steps toward your future career in public administration.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Public Administration Degree Online

The time it takes to complete a public administration degree can vary depending on the level of degree being pursued as well as the nature of the student’s class schedule. For full-time students looking to focus solely on their studies for a designated amount of time, they may expect to complete an online public administration degree in approximately four years, and a master’s program after that in around two years. Many mid-career individuals may choose a part-time schedule to elevate their credentials as a part of a public administration program, which may take longer to complete than full-time students. For part-time students, they can expect to complete a bachelor’s degree in four to five years and a master’s program in three years after that. 

Most public administration programs feature a strong focus on courses that cover numerous fields of public service as well as specific skills and qualifications needed to properly enter one of these positions. Classes cover administrative ethics and law, public finance management, human resources, analysis and evaluation of public administration, dynamics of public services, and more. Graduates will exit these online administrative programs in a sturdy position to serve their communities and begin a lucrative career within public service and administration.

An online associate’s degree in public administration is the best program type for those who wish to graduate and immediately enter the workforce. While most associate’s programs will require approximately two years to complete, online students that may have part-time schedules could take potentially longer. Associate’s programs will provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to understand the process of entering the business field.

Hudson Valley Community College’s associates in applied science in public administration program is a great program for aspiring administrative professionals looking to get an idea if public administration is the career choice for them. Local, state and regional governments will benefit from the broad range of professional skills gained from this program which has a strong focus on preparing civil servants for their role in the public office.

Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration

One of the most common degree choices for those looking to work within public administration is a bachelor’s degree. Online bachelor programs in public administration feature rigorous and engaging curriculums designed to provide students with a well-constructed foundation for public service and administration. While most bachelor programs take around four years to complete, online students may embrace a flexible schedule that allows them to seek professional opportunities outside of their studies for a bit longer than four years.

The bachelor of science in public administration program at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA is a great option for aspiring civil servants looking for faith-based education in public administration policies and law. This online program allows students to understand how public administrators carry out government policies by developing projects that benefit their surrounding communities. Graduates of Liberty University’s online public administration degree program will be able to identify and solve complex issues, communicate effectively with all levels of government, and implement positive public policies.

Master’s Degree in Public Administration

For those looking to enter high government or public service levels, creating a compelling and competitive resume is a smart and profitable choice. Earning a master’s degree in public administration can optimize an individual’s earning potential as well as provide additional qualifications for these high-up career paths. Most online master’s programs in public administration take around two years to complete, with online students with a part-time schedule taking around three years on average for completion.

Harvard Kennedy School’s master’s of public administration program allows students to gain real-world experience to learn about effective policy creation and implementation. Students of this rigorous online program can specialize and fine-tune their administrative skills and abilities to gain an even more informed perfection to become successful leaders within their local communities. Harvard Kennedy School also boasts a flexible curriculum that encourages administrators to earn their education based on their professional aspirations.

Doctorate Degree in Public Administration

If a public administrator wishes to one day enter a position within government or public service, earning a doctorate is a great way to ensure they’re ready for a fulfilling career serving others. As the highest level of degree possible to achieve in public administration, graduates will typically have the qualifications to make strong impacts in public and non-profit organizations. Most online doctorate degrees in public administration take around two to three years to complete and culminate in a dissertation or research project at the end of their curriculum.

California Baptist University’s doctor of public administration program is designed to encourage innovative leadership and elevated civil service. This DPA is created with the working professional in mind and can be completed online in approximately three years, with every eight weeks featuring one major discipline of public administration. Graduates of this program will be able to respond to complex and unique problems within all levels of government, policy, and social services, a valuable tool for any aspiring public administrators.

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Potential Careers with Public Administration Degree

Due to the vast and expansive nature of the public administration field, there are countless career opportunities for public administration graduates to consider and take to their advantage. Needed in a variety of industries, public administration jobs can vary strongly based on the field of interest. Some of the most popular careers for those with a public administration degree include:


 Politician / Elected Official

 Business Executive

 Human Resources Professional

 Medical or Health Service Professional

Average Salary with Public Administration Degree

The average salary of those with public administration degrees will vary widely depending on the individual’s role within the company, the region of work, the industry chosen, as well as the level of degree obtained. With these factors in mind, careers within public administration tend to pay well and provide opportunities for salary growth with enough time spent within a role. That being said, earning a master’s degree may prove to be profitable in the long run, as MPA and MBA graduates can make up to $100,000 after enough years within the field. Private-sector positions also tend to pay better than public-sector or government positions as well. 

Let’s explore some common public administration positions and their annual salaries to get an idea of how these industries and positions can vary in terms of compensation.

Politician $174,000
HR Representative $57,800
Legislature $69,000
Policy Analyst $59,000
Business Executive $74,000

Best College for Public Administration Degree

Public administration degrees prepare students for a dedicated living serving communities, non-profit organizations, and local governments. These accredited online degrees provide graduates with the technical knowledge and practical communication skills to thrive in their industry of choice, whether that’s in the government sector or as a prominent figure in a larger organization or private-sector position of choice. Explore these accredited online programs to learn more about how a public administration degree can make the difference between you and your future career. Sign up for their email lists to stay in the loop on curriculum updates and program highlights.