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Transition From the Corporate World to Public Service

Moving from the private sector into public administration can be a rewarding change for professionals seeking leadership positions as public servants. A career in public service as an administrator who serves the public good is available at all levels of government, in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and in nonprofit organizations.

City managers, urban planners or policy advisers, all involve implementing public policy to shape the future of cities and communities. A career as an executive director, director of development or program director for a nonprofit organization can be ideal for professionals with a passion for serving others.

Public service is also perfect for those interested in working internationally. International financial institutions such as the World Bank and global nonprofit organizations such as UNICEF need public administrators to research and implement their programs.

Public Service Job Outlook

Job opportunities abound in many different government agencies and public sector fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counts 22 groups in the public administrator employment sector for federal, state and local government employment. The BLS expects the federal government to grow by 10 percent, and the number of jobs in state and local government is expected to increase by eight percent by 2018.

Public Administrator Salaries

As existing public administrators retire, the number of available job openings at all levels of government will increase, according to the BLS. Average salaries for employees with a master of public administration (MPA) degree are also increasing. According to, an executive director’s salary can range from $38,980 to $133,305, while a director of operations might earn $38,739 to $138,550. According to the BLS, the median salary in 2014 for federal, state and local government employees was $56,470, and it projects 12 percent job growth for administrative services managers by 2022.

Starting a Career in Public Service

People who want to transition from the private sector into public service, recent college graduates, and those already working in the public sector need important associated skills including decision-making, problem-solving, communication, project management, scheduling, human resource management, strategic planning, organization, negotiation and networking.

Enrolling in an online MPA program can be an important step into the field of public administration. Degree programs like these can help students develop the skills they will need in public service management. These programs are designed for future leaders in public service; they are often interdisciplinary so students gain experience with a number topics relevant to public administration. In addition to studying public administration, students learn about public personnel management, ethics in public service, public budgeting, law, and regional planning.

In many organizations, an MPA is a prerequisite for certain positions. Earning an MPA degree can expand and accelerate a career in public service, and it is ideal for leaders dedicated to public service.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online MPA program.


MPA: Master of Public Administration Degree (MPA)

Chron: Careers in Public Administration

PayScale: Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degree Average Salary (United States)

The Able Altruist: Should You Get a Master of Public Administration (MPA)?

About (Education): Should I Earn an MPA Degree?

NASPAA: Where do MPA/MPP Graduates Work? What Do They Earn?

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