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What Can I Do With A Major In Public Administration?


City Management
Financial Administration
Budget Analysis
General Services
Community Affairs
Social Services
Urban Planning



School districts
Special districts



Learn local government job application procedures. Develop a network of contacts. Check statistics on growing communities for best opportunities.

Obtain internship or volunteer in interest area. Conduct applicable research that could be useful to your community.



Administrative Services



Various departments of state government
Legislative agencies including Legislative Reference Services, Bill Drafting Services, Legislative Councils and Budgeting and Auditing staffs.
Personal staff of legislators
State Supreme Courts
Intermediate Appellate Courts
Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction
Trial Courts of Limited Jurisdiction



Research the organization of your state. Contact individuals in agencies for information. Develop specialized skills and interests for particular populations or issues, e.g. disabilities, education, homelessness, etc. Develop research and writing skills. Make political contacts through local legislators of both houses.

Volunteer time on staff or campaigns. Many positions will require a law degree.

Make contacts through referrals and informational interviews.



Legislative Branch
Legislative Agencies



Various federal departments and agencies
Various agencies including: General Accounting Office, Library of Congress, Government Printing Office, Congressional Budget Office



Obtain an internship in a federal agency or department. Often this is the best way to get a foot in the door for a permanent position. Learn federal job application procedures and how to write a federal resume. Research various agencies and departments to discover which ones may be the best fit for your major and experience. Conduct informational interviews with agency employees.


Legislature: Administrative Staff, Washington-based, or Home District Committee

Judicial Branch
Executive Branch: Office of the President, Management and Budget, Administration
Council of Economic Advisors
U.S. Trade Representatives
Executive Departments
Independent Agencies



Offices of senators and representatives
Supreme Court
U.S. Courts
Supporting organizations
Office of the President
Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor
Environmental Protection Agency
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Emergency Management Agency
General Services Administration
National Archives & Records Administration
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Personnel Management
Panama Canal Commission
Securities & Exchange Commission
Small Business Administration
Smithsonian Institution
Tennessee Valley Authority
U.S. Information Agency
U.S. International Development Cooperation Agency
U.S. Postal Service



Understand structure of Congress and various opportunities available. Develop excellent research, writing, communication and organizational skills. Make personal contacts with representatives. Develop networks. Explore districts other than your own. Some positions require law degree and bar certification. Understand the structure and functions of the federal judiciary system. Take courses or minor in applicable interest area(s). Research applicable public service exams and hiring procedures. Complete internship in related area.



Program Management
Policy Analysis



Local and national nonprofit agencies and foundations
Charitable organizations
Trade or professional organizations
Research organizations and think tanks



Learn job application process. Participate in internships and/or volunteer activities for related experience.


Develop good writing, verbal and leadership skills. Become a member of the organization. Develop research skills and learn how to write grants.





Political Action Committees (PAC)
Various industrial, educational, public interest groups
Political parties
Lobbying organizations



Get involved with political party/group and develop a personal network. Ability to develop networks, coalitions and alliances with other associations highly valued.

Experience with government agencies/departments very helpful. Develop excellent public relations, interpersonal and communication skills. Volunteer in organizations with similar interests and goals.



Human Resources
Budget Analysis



Business firms
Contracting and consulting firms
Association management firms



Develop strong analytical, communication and technical skills. Obtain related work experience through internships and summer or part-time jobs. Earn a minor in business. Research structure and function of firm. May need government experience.



Healthcare Administration



Healthcare facilities
Nursing homes
Social service and community agencies



Most positions will require graduate degree in public health or hospital administration. Obtain internship or related work experience.


Undergraduate degree sufficient for entry-level position in government and business.


Graduate degree in public administration or public health administration very helpful for management and administration positions.


Consider law school for careers in upper level politics, administration or management.


Obtain broad liberal arts background including written and verbal skills, communication and foreign language skills.


Part-time, summer, internship, volunteer experience extremely helpful in government affairs, organizations, or public service areas.


Develop strong leadership skills; run for office in clubs and organizations in school or community; volunteer to organize or lead an event or project.


Get involved in Student Government.


Demonstrate interest/involvement in community affairs/events.


Join related social and/or professional organizations.


Employment opportunities in local government tend to follow population trends in terms of growth and decline in availability of positions.


Develop network through informal contacts.


Political connections are helpful for appointed positions. Most agencies respond to professional connections.


Expect competition for federal positions.


Develop patience, persistence and drive in obtaining government positions.


Explore application to Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) and the Outstanding Scholar Program for federal positions.


Learn applicable application process for area of interest.


Research websites and books that address various government job opportunities, pay structure and hiring processes.


Consider military experience and training as an entryway into government jobs and public service.


Plan on following a flexible career path to higher positions. Many people begin on the clerical or entry level in order to gain experience and network.


Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer