2022 Guide: Online Bachelor's in Public Administration Degree Programs

Explore the available online bachelor’s in public administration programs with Campus Explorer. Many public administration careers require a bachelor’s degree, so this could be your first step toward your career goals. Learn more about public policy, financial analysis, and ethical concerns by studying online.

What Is an Online Bachelor’s in Public Administration? 

An online bachelor’s degree in public administration covers courses in policy, ethics, business management, budgeting, and other fields related to the industry. Students can complete coursework completely online on a flexible timeline. Consider taking a part-time, full-time, or accelerated full-time course to study for three to four years or more.

Some career paths that can start with this BA degree include government workers, educational administrators, city managers, and nonprofit directors. These career paths include entry-level positions in administrative offices, but they also include these positions:

  • CEO
  • Nonprofit director
  • Financial manager
  • Federal government worker
  • City manager
  • Educational administrator
  • Human resources director

Studying online offers you these courses in a flexible, convenient environment. If you’re a busy administrator or manager, you can take part-time online courses in public administration to help improve your application and learn more about your industry. You may be able to enroll in an online degree program without leaving your current employment.

Accelerate your online program to complete it in as little as 36 months. Use this fast-paced timeline if you’re a job seeker or looking to qualify for positions that require a bachelor’s degree.

Consider this career track if you’re passionate about community service. Roles in public administration often work closely with community members or work on their behalf. As a civil servant or nonprofit director, you may find a position that’s rewarding and helps make a positive impact in your area or within a particular community.

Skills that may help you succeed in a bachelor’s program in public administration include attention to detail, critical thinking, desire to lead and guide teams, resilience, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities. Upper-level positions in administration require an understanding of a broad range of disciplines, such as business, finance, and policy.

How Much Does a Bachelor’s in Public Administration Cost?

The cost of an online bachelor’s in public administration varies considerably depending on many things. Some factors to consider are online vs. on-campus courses, cost of tuition, available scholarships, and additional fees.

On average, you can expect to pay between $50,000 and $150,000 for an on-campus degree, depending on tuition rates and scholarships. Online programs are usually more affordable, with tuition rates from $38,500 to $60,600.

The cost of an on-campus bachelor’s in public administration degree is partially due to the fees associated with learning on campus. For example, meal plans, living expenses, technology fees, and other costs make it more of an investment to study in-person. You may also have to pay out-of-state tuition if you choose a program outside of your state, which further increases the cost of a program.

Another reason to consider online learning is its convenience. You don’t need to relocate to find a competitive program. You also don’t need to commute to classes throughout the week. Simply find a quiet space in your home or local area where you have reliable internet access. Most courses allow you to study and stream lectures on your own time, making it a convenient option if you’re still working.

Look for solutions to reduce the cost of your degree program. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for a specific degree or any bachelor’s degree program. You may also qualify for a number of scholarships based on your location, course of study, or personal features. Government grants and loans provide additional options for reducing the financial burden of your degree.

Average Salary for a Bachelor’s in Public Administration

There are many careers related to public administration, so the average salary depends on your career pathway. Among Bachelor of Science in Public Administration degree holders, the median salary was around $65,700 as of July 2021, according to PayScale.

Administrative services and facility managers earned a median annual salary of $98,900 in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Public relations and fundraising managers in 2020 earned approximately $118,400 per year. The 2020 median pay for human resources managers was about $121,200.

Government workers in 2020 earned an annual mean wage of about $62,100. This includes hospitals, government-owned schools, and U.S. Postal Service employees. These careers vary considerably in minimum qualifications, so even with a BA degree in public administration, you may not be qualified for particular government careers.

The minimum qualifications for many management positions include a bachelor’s degree. Some require five or more years of related work experience, while others are entry-level positions. Consider your previous work experience and your career goals as you choose a bachelor’s degree and courses within your degree. With the right experience and class offerings, a bachelor’s degree in public administration can be a great career move as you work toward one of these high-paying positions.

What Is the Job Outlook for Bachelor’s in Public Administration Holders?

You can expect a strong job outlook for many positions related to public administration. Administrative services and facilities manager positions may increase by 6% between 2019 and 2029, according to BLS. This is faster than the national average for job growth. Other management positions have similar job outlooks.

Not only can you expect more open positions in the coming years, but you can also enjoy a competitive wage and exciting career. Many public administration roles, like facilities managers and public relations managers, receive a competitive wage. These positions often require a degree and experience in the industry, so completing your course online while you continue to work part time or full time can strengthen your application for these roles.

Government positions are necessary in all communities. Whether you’re pursuing a position at the federal, state, or local level, you don’t have to worry about this industry going away. Nonprofit organizations also play a vital role in the economy, so a bachelor’s degree in public administration has a strong job outlook in the future.

Courses in Bachelor’s in Public Administration

The coursework for an online bachelor’s in public administration focuses on fields related to management, public policy, and finance. Most degree programs cover budgeting and finance topics, including grant writing and other topics related specifically to non-profit administration. Other courses include business management and leadership training.

Consider the courses you’re most excited about as you look for online programs. Some are required for every student, while others can be added as part of a concentration or elective opportunity.

A bachelor’s degree program combines survey courses, specific areas of study, and courses in other disciplines to broaden the focus of the program. Expect to take survey courses in business management and public service, but also more specific courses in a particular aspect of government or nonprofit careers.

Consider taking a concentration in public health, public service, natural resource planning, or another aspect of administration. These concentrations include courses that help sharpen the focus of the program and offer you more educational opportunities in a particular field.

Regardless of your concentration, online learning still offers opportunities to learn theoretical and hands-on knowledge. Public administration courses may prepare you to deal with company-wide policy decisions, but they also help you handle daily challenges and tasks in government or private-sector careers.

Because you’re seeking a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, you must also take general education courses. These courses include the humanities, sciences, math, and English. Take courses that still relate to your chosen field, like statistics, economics, and social science classes, or take courses related to your hobbies and passions, like photography, poetry, and chemistry.

FAQs on Bachelor’s in Public Administration

Core Takeaways for an Online Bachelors in Public Administration

  • Popular concentrations include public health and nonprofit management
  • Programs take approximately 36-48 months to complete
  • Students can complete degree programs fully or partially online
  • Standard and accelerated programs are available

  • Provides essential training for careers in nonprofit organizations and government
  • Students can complete in as little as 36 months
  • Prepares students for a wide variety of leadership careers
  • Graduates with a degree in public administration may qualify for high-growth careers
  • Programs cost $38,500 or less, depending on scholarships and tuition rates
  • Costs are highly variable from school to school
  • This degree often has many scholarships and grants available

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