Most Affordable Online Public Administration Degrees 2021

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Public administration positions involve overseeing public policy implementation, operations, and personnel in government or nonprofit organizations. Public administrators usually value public service and possess advanced skills in policy analysis, implementation, and evaluation.

Public administration degrees often include courses in management, budgeting, ethics, and policy. Many graduates of bachelor’s programs in the field pursue a master’s in public administration degree. Public administration degree graduates often work in government and nonprofit organizations. Other degree-holders secure positions in compliance-assurance and consulting services. This guide explores the benefits of earning a public administration degree, along with typical curricula and scholarship opportunities.

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Top 10 Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Public Administration Programs

Questions to Ask About Public Administration Degrees


  • What is public administration?

    The public administration field encompasses research, policy work, leadership, and management.


  • What kinds of jobs can you get with a public administration degree?

    Public administration degrees prepare students for careers as policy analysts, compliance officers, public relations and fundraising managers, and social and community service managers.


  • What can you do with a bachelor's in public administration?

    A public administration bachelor’s degree can lead to entry-level public service administration roles. However, many graduates enroll in MPA programs to qualify for more advanced positions.


  • What is the difference between public administration and public policy?

    The broad public administration field emphasizes personnel management and policy implementation skills. Public policy focuses more closely on policy creation and evaluation.


What Are the Goals of a Public Administration Degree?

Public administration degrees help students cultivate leadership, management, research, and communication skills. Curricula vary by school, program, and concentration. However, most public administration programs feature coursework on public administration management, ethics, research, and public policy. Specialization options may include criminal justice, healthcare, urban development, and homeland security.

Students can pursue a BA or BS in public administration. Bachelor of arts programs typically include more liberal arts coursework. Bachelor of science programs usually feature more focused public administration classes. Learners can also earn a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in public administration.

Why Get a Public Administration Degree?



Earning a public administration degree can lead to various personal and professional advantages. Graduates often qualify for promotions and salary increases, and degree-holders often benefit from the professional connections they make during their studies.

Promotion
Working professionals often pursue a bachelor’s degree to qualify for promotions. Many public administration jobs require a four-year degree.
Salary Increase
According to PayScale salary data from March 2021, professionals with a BS in public administration earn an average salary of $65,760 per year.
Professional Networking
Online students often receive access to networking opportunities such as internships, mentorship programs, and group projects.
Rewarding Career Paths
Individuals with a public administration degree often pursue rewarding careers as public servants.
Qualify for MPA Programs
After earning a bachelor’s in public administration, many graduates pursue graduate studies. An MPA can lead to advanced, high-paying positions in the field.

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Courses in Public Administration



A bachelor’s degree in public administration usually requires about 120 credits. Learners complete major coursework, general education requirements, and electives. Graduates of associate programs in the field often enroll in affordable online bachelor’s in public administration programs. Associate degree-holders typically complete 45-60 additional credits and graduate in about two years.

Major coursework usually covers topics including public administration research methods, ethics, and management. During an internship, enrollees gain practical experience at an approved site.

Specialized public administration course topics may include justice administration, nonprofit resource development and management, project management, and nonprofit accountability. The courses below appear in many public administration bachelor’s programs.


  • Introduction to Public Administration

    This introductory course surveys public policy and government organizations. Enrollees learn about public organizations’ financing, employment, and methods for supporting citizens. Degree-seekers examine key issues involving authority, accountability, and discretion in public administration.


  • Quantitative Methods for Public Administration

    This core course helps learners develop skills in quantitative analysis, statistics, and data analysis. Students learn about various ways that public organizations use data. This course often serves as a prerequisite for advanced courses, senior seminars, and capstone research projects.


  • Managing People in Public Organizations

    This class examines public-sector human resources management. Key topics include recruitment, compensation, diversity management, and personnel reform. Enrollees also explore past, present, and future management challenges. Many programs offer a curriculum concentration in personnel management.


  • Diversity and Social Equity in Public Administration

    This course focuses on race, ethnicity, and gender diversity issues in public policy and leadership. Degree-seekers explore historical, sociopolitical, and economic factors that shape perspectives on public policy and democratic participation. Most public administration bachelor’s programs require this course.


  • Public Service Internship

    Many bachelor’s students in the field complete an internship near the end of their studies. Many online bachelor’s in public administration programs help enrollees find local internship sites that align with their career goals. Interns can apply the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom and receive mentorship and guidance from experienced public servants.


Career and Salary Outlook for Public Administration



Graduates of public administration bachelor’s degrees often pursue leadership careers in government and nonprofit organizations. Common nonprofit roles include program coordinator, community outreach coordinator, outreach specialist, and social and community services manager. Potential government positions for public administration graduates include policy coordinator, policy analyst, and public administrator. Graduates can also work as public relations, fundraising, and training and development managers.

The table below includes salary data for a few common public administration careers.


  • Social and Community Service Managers

    These leaders oversee organizations, staff, and programs that improve community health and well-being. Common duties include planning, administrating, evaluating, and improving programs and services. These managers may also write proposals and manage outreach programs. Social and community service managers typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree.


  • Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

    These managers design fundraising campaigns, oversee public relations media, and organize events. Fundraising managers often create proposals and communicate with stakeholders and funders. These professionals meet with executives, address media inquiries, and plan outreach and communications. The position also involves public speaking and personnel management. These managers typically hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree.


  • Training and Development Managers

    These professionals create and coordinate educational and training efforts for employees. Training and development managers supervise staff, assess training needs, design programs, and create budgets. They also evaluate programs and instructors and update programming.


Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Social and Community Service Managers $67,150 17%
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $116,180 9%
Training and Development Managers $113,350 7%

Source: BLS

Scholarships for Public Administration Students



Learners pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in public administration may qualify for scholarships. Many schools, governments, and nonprofits offer public administration scholarships. Candidates typically qualify based on factors such as financial need, academic excellence, interest in public service careers, and membership in an underrepresented group. The following list highlights scholarships for public administration bachelor’s students.

  • Robert R. Robinson Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Michigan Townships Association offers this scholarship to undergraduate juniors and seniors and graduate students in the public administration field. Applicants must attend a Michigan college or university and demonstrate a commitment to working in local government after graduation. Candidates submit a recommendation letter and a short essay.

    Amount: Up to $1,000

    Explore Here

  • Jeffrey L. Esser Career Development Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association awards this scholarship to part-time undergraduate students. Applicants must be studying public administration or government-related business administration, accounting, or finance. Candidates need at least three years of work experience in state or local governments and must submit a recommendation letter from their employer.

    Amount: $5,000-$15,000

    Explore Here

Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Public Administration Programs 2021



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