Milken Institute School of Public Health
Gillings School of Global Public Health
A PhD in public administration will prepare students for leadership positions and careers where they can work at the highest levels of executive employment and administration. Public administration is the study of how laws and government policies influence society, and students earning their PhD will study topics like research methods, theories, and applications of political science, economics, public policy, and other related areas. People who earn a PhD typically find themselves with careers in the government or academia, although the options are really yours for the taking with this high of an education.
Career Overview for PhD in Public Administration
The PhD in Public Administration teaches students to combine knowledge from a variety of fields so that they can understand how to implement and create laws and policies that will benefit the society around them. Students will learn things like macroeconomics, political science, behavioral psychology, sociology, and statistics. They will also complete a dissertation that will go toward their degree and help them get more involved with their chosen career while they are still learning.
The careers available to a PhD holder in the public administration sector are vast. People can work in areas like public finance and budgeting, social policy, healthcare policy, and others. Most commonly, people choose careers like University Professor, Public Policy Consultant, or Government Researcher with their PhD. However, there are many other careers available in administration, education, and research for those who want them. The difference with this degree is that executive positions are available and that salary expectations are around $20,000 more than those who hold a bachelor’s degree in the same field.
PhD in Public Administration Job and Salary Information
The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs states that the average salary for public administration in the public sector is $51,000. Private sector jobs average $75,000 annually. Non-profit employees average a salary of around $40,000, which everyone knows isn’t a career that you choose for the money. The variables that affect what you earn include your exact title, your education, and your experience. Therefore, having a PhD is going to give you the chance to be on the high end of these averages, no matter what your career goals might be. Here are some sample salaries for this type of career:
- Policy Analyst: $40,000-$68,000
- City Manager/CAO: $100,000-$108,000
- Research Director: $65,000-$80,000
As you can see, the salaries vary significantly. Research your chosen position for more information.
The future is bright for public administration careers. It’s not booming like the healthcare industry, but there are opportunities for people who want to put their PhD to work once they complete a program. Projected growth for careers in this industry is between 10-20%, on average, over the course of the next decade. Students can follow careers like national security, foreign affairs, and environmental careers in order to find better opportunities and higher earnings. As public government expands and more programs become privatized, the need for people who have administration skills will grow in state, public, and municipal organizations. As job demand increases, so should the salary expectations.