How to Become a Public Administrator
Why Study Public Administration?
What Is a Certified Public Administrator?
- Personal and organizational integrity
- Managing work
- Leading people
- Developing self
- Systemic integration
- Public service focus
- Change leadership
Public Administration Education Requirements
4 Steps to Becoming a Certified Public Administrator
While each person’s career path varies, below are four common steps you can follow to become a certified public administrator. Note that certification requirements vary by state.
- Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum credential for a public administration career. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes this as a typical requirement for administrative services managers. However, your degree doesn’t necessarily have to be in public administration, political science or a related area of specialization. Years of civil service experience could substitute for educational preparation.
- Gain Work and Community Experience
Real-world experience, from undergraduate internships to early professional experience, is valuable. Internships can lead to full-time jobs after graduation. Becoming involved in the community through volunteer work and other avenues also creates relationships that can be valuable in advancing your career as a government administrator.
- Consider a Master’s Degree
A government degree or a master’s degree may be required for advanced positions. Online Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree programs make it convenient for working professionals to continue their education. In deciding whether a master’s in public administration is worth it, understand that this degree can help cultivate leadership and management skills, as well as data and policy analysis skills to plan and manage complex public issues. During an MPA program, you can develop an understanding of the intersection of law, public policy and government and how it relates to developing and implementing systems and regulations.
- Complete Public Administration Certification
To become a certified public administrator or certified public manager, you’ll need to extend your education to certifications by getting your Certified Professional Manager credential through the NCPMC. There are different CPM programs in each state that meet the NCPMC’s requirements. Visit the NCPMC’s website to find a CPM program in your state.
Each CPM program will have at least 300 hours of learning activities and a capstone project. Topics may include financial management, budget planning, labor laws, planning dynamics, human resources and risk management. Depending on the program, you also may need to complete job-related projects, attend executive seminars, develop an individual professional development plan or pass an exam.
Other possible government administrator certifications include the Certified Public Works Professional certification from the American Public Works Association and the Certified Public Finance Officer credential from the Government Finance Officers Association.
7 Skills Public and Government Administrators Use Every Day
2. Financial Management
6. Public Policy Knowledge
7. Strategic Planning
Why Become a Public or Government Administrator?
- Strengthen your leadership skills
- Heighten your personal awareness
- Expand your professional network within governmental organizations
- Gain actionable insights you can apply in your daily life