Stephen F. Austin State University

What is Public Administration?

Public Administration

Public Administration involves leading, organizing, financing, and managing organizations that focus on public and not-for-profit service. A degree in public administration helps prepare you for work in government organizations, public and not-for-profit service, and graduate or law school.

Some public administrators are highly visible, even though we don't always think of them as public administrators, like police officers, firefighters, and teachers. Others work in government such as city managers and department heads ranging from the head of the local public works department to the head of the FBI. In addition, people who work and volunteer with non-profit entities are often grouped with public administrators since they tend to share common values such as helping those in need and upholding democratic/constitutional values.

Listed below are some examples of public administration job titles.


Budget/fiscal analyst

City/county manager

Community development director

Community relations specialist

Compensation specialist

Consumer safety inspector

Contract negotiator/compliance officer


Employee development director

Environmental planner

Foreign affairs specialist

Grants specialist

Human resource manager

International relations specialist

Labor management specialist

Legislative aide



Non-profit agency director

Peace corps volunteer coordinator

Policy Analyst

Political consultant

Public affairs specialist

Public health administrator

Public utilities manager

Risk manager

Transportation commissioner

Urban and regional planner