Attaining expert-level knowledge in a specific area has become a key element of career success in the modern business world. That extends also to those who work in public service administration.
Public service administration is a rapidly growing field. From healthcare and education to criminal justice and social services, organizations tend to favor those with expertise in the field for the top administrative jobs.
Leading an agency or organization requires knowledge and skills in the latest administrative theory, technology and the application of best practices in real-world situations.
Some universities and colleges have aligned degree programs to fill this growing demand in the workforce. The University of South Dakota, for example, offers a Master of Science in Administration degree with seven different specialty areas to choose from.
All of the programs are available online, offering convenience and flexibility to students who must balance attaining a master’s degree with busy professional and personal lives.
The following public service administration degrees are offered in a variety of fields.
Public service administration theory is constantly evolving. Students who specialize in organizational leadership graduate with expertise in both the understanding of complex administrative tools and techniques as well as knowledge in how to apply them to make an organization more efficient and effective.
This proves especially useful in nonprofit organizations, government agencies and public service initiatives from private organizations. In all these cases, a balance must be found between financial stewardship and the most effective ways of delivering services to those in need.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 18% increase in the number of social and community services managers by 2026, far faster than the about 7% national average growth projected for all professions.
The healthcare sector in the United States is exploding in growth. The BLS projects healthcare will add about four million new jobs by 2026. That is one-third of all new jobs expected to be created. Administrators will be needed across the industry, from hospitals and physician groups to outpatient care facilities and home health agencies. The BLS expects a 20% increase in healthcare managers by 2026.
A master’s degree prepares graduates to take on this complicated job. It involves managing large staffs, overseeing budgets and integrating innovative technology that can help medical operations achieve better patient outcomes.
Long Term Care Administration
Part of what is driving growth in healthcare is the aging population in the U.S. Older citizens are remaining active longer than any previous generation and require more healthcare services. Graduates from this program are prepared to deal with this unique situation, by overseeing facilities and staff who provide care that directly impacts the quality of life for the elderly and disabled. The BLS notes that those with a master’s degree “will likely have the best prospects” of getting an administrative job in the healthcare field.
Most associate criminal justice with police officers, detectives, federal agents, lawyers and judges. However, every criminal justice-related organization needs an administrator to oversee the budget, recruit and train personnel and ensure that all necessary equipment is available to do the job in the best possible way. This type of work can also include facilities management, such as a prison. While hit television shows generally aren’t made about criminal justice administrators, they are a vital component of the public service administration field.
Addiction issues continue to plague the country. In addition to alcoholism, the current opioid epidemic now claims an average of 115 lives per day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Graduates from this public service administration specialty are prepared to head government and nonprofit agencies that deal with addiction issues. They have the skills to handle the complexities of this critical job.
Human resources is another rapidly growing field, with the BLS projecting 9% growth by 2026. That translates into more than 12,000 new human resources administrators. The job is as much about retaining employees as it is recruiting them. The job market is improving, which means that competition is on the rise to recruit and retain the best and the brightest job candidates. This program prepares graduates with the latest strategies in employee management and to take on leadership roles in the field. The BLS also reports that many high-level jobs in the industry require a master’s degree.
In addition to the six specialties in public service administration listed above, graduate students in the online Master of Science in Administration program at the University of South Dakota also can choose Interdisciplinary Studies. This path essentially allows students to design their own specialty within the public service administration field.
Public service is a rapidly growing area of the economy. For those interested in leadership positions, earning a Master’s in Administration can open the door to many opportunities.