You might think you know everything there is to know about public administration. After all, it’s a popular field of study and it’s always in the news. But you might not know a few surprising misconceptions surrounding this field. Ready to go through some of the most common myths about public administration so that you can separate fact from fiction?
Myth #1: Public Administration Is Boring
One of the most common myths about public administration is that it’s boring. Suppose you’re thinking about pursuing a career in public administration. In that case, you might wonder if you’ll be stuck behind a desk all day, pushing paper and churning out dull reports. But the reality is that it’s anything but boring.
Public administrators are often at the forefront of change, working on initiatives that impact their communities. They play a vital role in keeping our society running smoothly, from developing policies that protect the environment to managing budgets for city services. And because no two days are alike in a job like this, you can be sure that you’ll never find yourself bored at work.
Myth #2: All Public Administrators Work for the Government
Another myth about public administration is that all public administrators work for the government. While it’s true that many do work for government agencies, this isn’t the only place where they can find employment. In fact, many also work for non-profit organizations, charities, and private businesses.
So if you’re interested in a career in public administration but don’t want to work for the government, you still have plenty of options. Just remember that regardless of where you work, your ultimate goal will be to help make your community a better place.
Myth #3: There Are No Job Opportunities
Say you’ve been researching and you’ve come across some articles that say there are no job opportunities in public administration. Or that the job market is saturated. Yes, the job market is competitive—but there are definitely jobs for qualified candidates.
The key is ensuring your resume and cover letter are top-notch and that you’re applying to jobs that match your skills and experience. Networking is also important. Meeting people who work in the field and letting them know you’re looking for a job is a great way to hear about openings before they’re even advertised.
Also, there are now more people with degrees in public administration than there were 10 or 20 years ago. But that doesn’t mean the job market is saturated; plenty of people still retire or leave the field every year, creating new openings for fresh talent like you.
Myth #4: There Is No Money
When people think about public administration, they often associate it with bureaucratic government jobs that don’t pay well. But the truth is, there is much money to make in this field.
In fact, as the population continues to grow, so does the need for efficient and effective government services. Public administrators play a vital role in ensuring that government services are delivered efficiently and effectively, which is why there is such high demand for their skillset. And when there is high demand for a particular skill set, that usually means a high salary is associated with it.
Myth #5: You Need a Master’s Degree
While a master’s degree can be helpful, it’s not necessary. In fact, many people working in public administration don’t have a master’s degree.
The skills you need for public administration can be divided into two broad categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills can be quantitatively measured. Soft skills, however, are more difficult to measure but no less important.
You don’t need a master’s degree to acquire hard skills. Many of these skills can be learned through on-the-job training or certifications. For example, if you want to work in budgeting or financial management, you could get certified as a government financial manager. If project management is more your thing, nowadays you can become a certified project manager online.
As for soft skills, these are largely acquired through experience. However, there are some things you can do to make sure you’re developing the right soft skills for public administration.
First, try to get involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible. These activities could be related to your field of interest or completely unrelated. The important thing is that they give you an opportunity to interact with other people and learn how to work effectively with them.
Second, volunteer whenever possible. Volunteer work is a great way to develop strong interpersonal and communication skills while also giving back to your community.
Don’t believe everything you hear—there are quite a few myths surrounding public administration that aren’t true. Now that you know the truth about public administration, perhaps it’s time to consider pursuing a career in this challenging and rewarding field!