6 Fast-Growing Public Administration Jobs and How to Land Them

Interested in public administration? Check out these six fast-growing public administration jobs and get advice on how to grow your career.
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Public administration professionals often work with communities with the aim of making positive changes. You can find public admin jobs in the government, the military, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, and private companies.

Here, we introduce six of the fastest-growing public administration jobs you can get. We also interviewed a professor in the University of Miami's online master of public administration program for practical advice on landing a job in the public admin field.

1. Postsecondary Education Administrators

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Education Requirements
Master's degree

A postsecondary education administrator is a leader at a college or university, such as a provost or dean. These professionals oversee students, academic departments, staff, faculty, and campus resources.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for postsecondary education administrators will grow 7% from 2021-2031.

Common duties include grant writing, curriculum and compliance oversight, strategic planning, organizational leadership and administration, and finance management.

To become a postsecondary education administrator, you need at least a master's degree. You can earn your graduate degree in a variety of fields, such as public administration, business, education administration, leadership, and a specific academic discipline.

Explore Programs From the University of Miami Online

2. Social and Community Service Managers

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Education Requirements
Bachelor's degree

Jobs for social and community service managers are projected to grow 12% from 2021-2031, according to the BLS.

These managers work for social service agencies, nonprofits, government agencies, and municipalities. Common responsibilities include case management, budget analysis, media outreach, strategic planning, organizational ethics, and program administration.

A social work, public policy, or public administration degree is ideal for this career. Some positions in social and community management require a master's degree, which can also help you advance into leadership positions, not to mention increase your salary potential.

3. Medical and Health Services Managers

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Education Requirements
Bachelor's degree

Medical and health services managers help run the day-to-day operations of various healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

According to the BLS, this role is projected to grow a whopping 28% between 2021 and 2031.

The typical duties of a medical and health services manager include overseeing funding and grant writing, establishing organizational ethics, evaluating performance metrics, and analyzing data.

While most entry-level roles in medical and health services management require a bachelor's degree, you can advance your career with a master of public administration (MPA), a master of business administration (MBA), or a master's in healthcare administration.

4. Administrative Services and Facilities Managers

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Education Requirements
Bachelor's degree

Administrative services and facilities managers oversee operations and efficiency for organizations.

In this role, you'll often plan and coordinate events, keep records, manage supplies, and organize policies. You can work for a government agency, healthcare facility, or school district.

Jobs for administrative services and facilities managers are projected to grow 7% between 2021 and 2031, according to the BLS. To become a manager, you typically need a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience.

Potential employers prefer applicants with demonstrated leadership experience, strong communication skills, a detail-oriented nature, and exceptional analytical abilities.

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5. Nonprofit Executive Directors

Average Annual Base Salary (January 2023)

Education Requirements
Master's degree

A nonprofit executive director is a top role in public administration. Popular titles for this role include CEO, director of operations, development director, communication director, president or vice president, and executive director.

Nonprofit employees make up the third-largest workforce sector in the U.S. To qualify for an executive director position, you typically need an MPA, an MBA, or a master's in a specific field of nonprofit work, like environmental studies or human services.

Job duties include overseeing finances and funding, managing personnel and network systems, stakeholder analysis, community outreach, and organizational administration.

6. Urban and Regional Planners

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Education Requirements
Bachelor's degree

The BLS projects that jobs for urban and regional planners will grow 4% from 2021-2031.

Urban planners often work for cities. In fact, 68% of urban and regional planners work in local government. Other employers include architecture firms, engineering firms, and consulting services.

City planners are often responsible for understanding demographic patterns and trends, policy analysis, administrative law assessment, property development, budget analysis, and community outreach.

For most positions in urban planning, you'll need a master's degree in a field like architecture, public administration, or urban planning.

Tips for Landing a Job in Public Administration

Looking for public administration jobs? Here are some practical strategies to help you land the role you want.

Earn an MPA

An advanced public administration degree can qualify you for leadership positions, raise your salary potential, and deepen your expertise in the field.

[An MPA] prepares graduates for leadership positions in all sectors … by training students in a breadth of fields: leadership strategies, policy analysis, budget and financial management and administration, [and] human resource/human capital management, said Marcia Beck, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Miami Online's MPA program.

MPA students also learn about improving productivity, organizational ethics, game theory methods, and civic innovation strategies.

Some of the reasons Beck's students have decided to pursue an MPA include the excellent quality and reputation of UM's MPA program, their desire to assume leadership positions in their chosen field, and their motivation to be able to identify and solve organizational problems.

Students often choose a master's degree so they can learn to tackle challenging organizational environments, master team management, improve team culture, and hone their leadership skills.

Gain Work Experience

Building a resume of relevant and varied work experience can help you qualify for professional opportunities in public administration.

The most relevant experience comes from working in the public and nonprofit sectors, said Beck. At the University of Miami, we have many students … in public and nonprofit social services, community outreach, political support, public administration, city housing administration, [and] public health administration.

As Beck points out, there isn't one specific path you must follow in public administration. New public admin professionals come from an array of backgrounds and can learn valuable skills across industries.

As you advance in your public administration career, a diverse work background can translate into a well-rounded professional who is prepared to tackle challenging opportunities.

We also have students who currently work in the private sector and have a passion to change careers to fulfill their vocation to serve the public, either at the national level or in their own communities, said Beck.

Find Mentors and Network

In public administration, your career largely hinges on a good reputation and quality mentorships.

According to Beck, cultivating a professional network is more important than earning good grades in school.

Grades are far less important than the quality of the students' MPA program, the letters of recommendation students receive … and having contacts within their desired field who can recommend them to employment supervisors at organizations, said Beck.

You can ask for mentorship from professors or connect with professionals during internships.

One of my internship students worked in a local private-public partnership that involved a lot of community outreach, explained Beck. His immediate supervisor became his trusted mentor … and he told me that he has made invaluable contacts in local city and county government.

Developing a healthy network starts with forging positive relationships with peers and supervisors.

Beck advises new public administration professionals to ask questions, connect with co-workers, maintain contact with companies even after changing jobs, and reach out to professionals at similar organizations.

With Advice From:

Marcia A. Beck, Ph.D.

Dr. Marcia A. Beck (Ph.D., University of Notre Dame) specializes in organizational dynamics and management in the MPA program and in Russian politics and administration at the University of Miami. She developed the MPA program's online core course and has taught both the online and on-campus versions of the class since 2016.

Recently, she published a chapter in Human Resources Management and Ethics: Responsibilities, Actions, Issues, and Experiences (2021). She also co-authored chapters on Department of Homeland Security management strategies and millennials in the workforce.

Dr. Beck is the author of Russia's Liberal Project: State-Society Relations in the Transition From Communism (2000) and co-author of Achieving Competencies in Public Service: The Professional Edge (2010) and People, Power, and Politics (1993).

Editor's note: The salary numbers in this piece are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or Payscale, while the growth rate projections are from the BLS.