Pursuing a career as a public administrator allows you to play a vital role in implementing government policies, overseeing public resources, and ensuring the efficient delivery of services to the community. This career is an essential role because of the number of people working in the public sector. As a public administrator, you will oversee organisations that implement the laws and regulations that govern a community. A public administrator has diverse responsibilities. As a result, you can work in various sectors as a public administrator. You can work in sectors such as healthcare, education, public safety and social services. Additionally, you can work in federal, state, or local government agencies, as well as in nonprofit organizations.

Generally, starting a career as a public administrator involves contributing to the effective functioning of public institutions. Suppose you are interested in starting a career as a public administrator. In that case, you must learn the steps and the skills that are needed to have a successful career as a public administrator.

In this piece, I will walk you through the steps and what you need to pursue a career as a public administrator.

How to Start a Career as a Public Administrator

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    Firstly, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. This is a headstart for your career as a public administrator. Additionally, this degree will give you the foundational knowledge in administration and the qualification to pursue an advanced degree in this field. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in disciplines such as public administration, political science, public policy, business administration or a related field.

  2. Gain Work Experience

    You need to gain work experience to become a professional in this field. You need to graduate to gain these work experiences. This experience can be gained through internships, volunteering and part-time jobs. You can apply to government agencies, non-profit organisations or public service organisations. This experience will give you an in-depth knowledge of the field and improve your practical skills.

  3. Gain Leadership and Management Skills

    You must develop your leadership and management skills while pursuing this career path. These skills are very valuable to your success as a public administrator. Therefore, you should develop these skills through workshops, personal and professional development and seminars.

  4. Pursue Advanced Degree

    This may not be a compulsory requirement for most employers. However, it can be a good advantage to your career. A master’s degree will give you access to valuable opportunities and also enhance your career prospects. You can consider getting a master’s degree in Public Administration.

  5. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    This field is a broad one and it covers many industry sectors. Therefore, you can decide to carve a niche as a public administrator in a sector that aligns with your career interest. You can specialise in areas such as healthcare administration, environmental policy, urban planning, or social services.

  6. Obtain Professional Certification

    You can consider getting additional professional certifications that are related to this field. These certificates can enhance your credibility and demonstrate your expertise.

  7. Join a Professional Association

    You can register with professional associations in the industry. This will enable you to network with colleagues and experts which is vital in your career growth. This can help you have access to growth opportunities. Additionally, you can attend industry events, and connect with other consultants to broaden your network and boost your visibility.

  8. Commit to Continuous Learning

    Public administration is an evolving field that necessitates staying current with the latest industry developments, norms, and guidelines. Therefore, you should get involved in continuous learning throughout your career by taking advantage of educational opportunities, webinars, and industry publications to expand your knowledge and skills.

Types of Public Administrators

  1. Environmental Planner

    Environmental planners develop programmes and policies about sustainability and environmental preservation. They address issues such as land use, pollution control, and natural resource management.

  2. Public Finance Managers

    Public finance managers are in charge of managing the financial resources of government institutions. Additionally, they create budgets, track expenses, and guarantee financial responsibility and transparency.

  3. Public Health Administrator

    Public health executives oversee health departments and agencies. They are in charge of enforcing public health regulations, organising disease preventive activities, and assuring access to healthcare services in the community.

  4. Urban Planner

    Urban planners are in charge of creating land use plans, zoning laws, as well as other policies that influence the expansion and advancement of cities and towns.

  5. Public Works Director

    Public works directors oversee infrastructure projects and services such as transportation, utilities, and waste management. Additionally, they play an important role in improving the quality of life in communities.

  6. Social Services Administrator

    Social service administrators are in charge of agencies or departments that offer social welfare programmes. They oversee programmes such as child welfare, housing aid, and food assistance to help disadvantaged people.

Important Skills to Have as a Public Administrator

  1. Organisation
  2. Communication
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Business acumen
  5. Delegation

Universities in Africa that Offer Public Administration

  1. University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  2. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  3. University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  4. University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  5. University of Pretoria, South Africa
  6. University of South Africa, South Africa
  7. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  8. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  9. North-West University, South Africa
  10. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  11. University of Ghana, Ghana
  12. University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  13. Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria
  14. University of Botswana, Botswana
  15. University of the Free State, South Africa
  16. University of Nigeria, Nigeria
  17. Makerere University, Uganda
  18. Covenant University, Nigeria
  19. Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria
  20. Rhodes University, South Africa
  21. University of Nairobi, Kenya
  22. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  23. University of Ilorin, Nigeria
  24. University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
  25. University of Calabar, Nigeria
  26. University of Limpopo, South Africa
  27. Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Nigeria
  28. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
  29. Lagos State University, Nigeria
  30. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  31. University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  32. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  33. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  34. University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  35. University of Malawi, Malawi
  36. University of Fort Hare, South Africa
  37. Babcock University, Nigeria
  38. Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  39. Abia State University, Nigeria
  40. University of Jos, Nigeria

In conclusion, a career as a public administrator will allow you to work with others as well as apply your management and leadership skills. Therefore, you must develop the necessary skills that are needed to succeed as a public administrator. Additionally, you should also familiarise yourself with the industry sector you choose to specialise. You should develop yourself with the technicality of the sector.

Good luck!

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