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2023 Public Administration & Social Service Degree Guide

Do you want to make a difference in people's lives? Pursuing a major in the field of Public Administration and Social Service will prepare you for a fulfilling career of bringing help and hope to those that need it the most.

This major comes with a lot of responsibility, but also a great opportunity to help improve the lives of others. You will learn how to analyze, manage, and deliver public programs and services for the greater good of the community. Many of these programs will be centered on youth, teens, and family services.

Public Administration and Social Service is an interdisciplinary field. Be ready to dive into course work that includes classes on public policy, human behavior, psychology, communication, financial management and community development. No matter what direction you decide to go into upon graduation, your main responsibility will be to bring positive social change to local communities.

One of the majors available in this field is Community Organization and Advocacy, which involves the study of strategies to challenge and change the current community social system for the enrichment of its residents. Another field is Public Administration, where you will be prepared to run the executive arm of local, state, and federal government and learn how to create policies that will bring about positive change. A major in Public Policy Analysis allows you to study public policy decisions in order to be able to influence how those decisions are made. Another option is a major in Social Work that will prepare you for a career implementing programs to improve the overall quality of life for a variety of vulnerable populations.

Public Administration & Social Service Degrees Remain Stable

#14 Most Popular Major
98.6k Degrees Awarded
0.9% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, public administration and social service was the 14th most popular major nationwide with 98,583 degrees awarded. This represents a small change of only 0.9% from the prior year's total of 97,666 public administration and social service degrees awarded.

Our 2023 Best Public Administration & Social Service Schools ranking analyzes 597 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for public administration and social service students. Explore this or one of our many other custom public administration and social service rankings further below.

Best Public Administration & Social Service Schools by Degree

Featured Public Administration & Social Service Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Public Administration & Social Service Degree Requirements

A career in Public Administration and Social Services demands that you have great interpersonal skills. You need to be able to build the trust of your clients as you help empower them. Building and maintaining professional relationships will lead to your success. Practice empathy and active listening in order to deliver the best service possible to your client.

Much of your undergraduate work will involve team collaboration on group projects. Learn how to effectively communicate with others in a creative and clear manner. You will also need to develop problem solving skills and gain an advanced knowledge of government policy.

Getting Accepted Into a Public Administration & Social Service Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most public administration and social service degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Once you obtain your degree, additional public administration and social service certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Public Administration & Social Service Degree Types

There are many different public administration and social service degree levels. You can get anything from a in public administration and social service to the highest public administration and social service degree, a . The time it takes to complete a public administration and social service degree varies depending on the program.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to public administration and social service, with approximately 34.9% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for public administration and social service workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 35.5%
Master’s Degree 21.8%
Doctoral Degree 13.9%
High School Diploma 8.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.8%

82.5% of public administration and social service workers have at least a bachelor's. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in public administration and social service have obtained.

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This of course varies depending on which public administration and social service career you choose.

Public Administration & Social Service Careers

Above Average Number of Jobs
$40.5k Average Starting Salary
11% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Graduates in this field can find work as community organizers, social workers, grant writers, or program directors. Some of these career choices will require a master's degree or more. No matter what direction you choose to go into, you will make significant social change in the community around you.

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Solid Growth Projected for Public Administration & Social Service Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your public administration and social service degree? Public Administration & Social Service careers are expected to grow 10.9% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to public administration and social service.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
General and Operations Managers 2,468,300 9.1%
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Social and Human Service Assistants 453,600 16.4%
Medical and Health Services Managers 424,300 20.5%
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 362,600 14.2%

Public Administration & Social Service Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated public administration and social service students earned an average of $40,518 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $10,077 to as high as $135,775. As you might expect, salaries for public administration and social service graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

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Highest Paid Public Administration & Social Service Careers

Salaries for public administration and social service graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers public administration and social service grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Chief Executives $200,140
General and Operations Managers $123,880
Health Specialties Professors $122,320
Managers $115,590
Political Scientists $115,300

Getting Your Public Administration & Social Service Degree

With over 3,721 different public administration and social service degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased public administration and social service school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Public Administration & Social Service

Public Administration & Social Service Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Social Work 58,326
Public Administration 16,905
Human Services 13,238
Public Policy 6,430
Community Organization & Advocacy 3,096

View All Public Administration & Social Service Related Majors >

Majors Similar to Public Administration & Social Service

Related Major Annual Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 142,610
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies 73,813
Legal Professions 61,055
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 4,477

View All Public Administration & Social Service Related Majors >

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