What is Public Administration? Community-led Leadership Defined

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Public Administrator at Work

Public Administration is a dynamic discipline that is continuously evolving and has undergone many public sector reforms from its inception to date. MANCOSA offers Public Administration from a higher certificate to a Master of Public Administration. The relevance of its content and learning outcomes is demonstrated by the keen interest of senior executives across industries and public institutions. This blog explains what public administration is, potential opportunities when pursuing this career, the role of a public administrator and how to get started in this career.

What is Public Administration?

Public administration involves the planning, organising and implementation of government policies and programmes. The people who work in the public sector are referred to as public servants, or public administrators. While public administration and business administration are very similar in the work that is undertaken, the differentiating factor is that public administration focuses exclusively on the government sector while business administration focuses on the private sector.

What does a Public Administrator do?

Public administrators often achieve administrative roles in government sectors and departments, like municipalities, where they provide a service or information to citizens. They are also responsible for overseeing the implementation of various programmes. They are often responsible for directing, coordinating, organising and advising organisation employees like researchers, programme officers and consultants. They might also evaluate programmes and services within a department, as well as implement changes to public policy initiatives. Public administration covers a range of positions and work settings, including municipalities, government agencies and State-Owned Enterprises (SOE). Most jobs focus on implementing programmes to serve the public good and the needs of the citizens.

Examples of Public Administration in action

Specific examples are public health administrators and public services administrators are as follows:

Public health administrators coordinate and oversee various medical and health services within the health department. They may work to improve health services and ensure that their facility fulfils all laws and regulations regarding healthcare. Public services administrators manage community administrations and social services programmes from all three spheres of government. They work closely with community members and constantly assess the effectiveness and need of their programmes.

Public administrators share a vital role in ensuring that laws and regulations, rights, municipal budgets and codes of conduct are compulsory to protect the community they serve. It will be progressively imperative for public administrators to seek innovative solutions in an era of increasing and changing populations.

What jobs can you get with Public Administration?

There are a number of career options for public administration and management, where graduates can expect to work within the finance, operations, administration, community development or HR government departments, municipalities or state owned enterprises. Some of these opportunities include the following:

  • Administration assistant
  • Budget analyst
  • Community liaison officer
  • Communications officer
  • Customs officer
  • Policy administrator
  • Quality assurance administrator

How to become a Public Administrator?

Students interested in working in a Public Administration career should begin by earning their bachelor’s degree. The public Administration curriculum includes political science, local government, governance ethics, and other courses that will help prepare graduates for entry-level positions in public sector, NGO and private sector. At postgraduate level one has the option to specialise in the focus of their choice.

For example, you can specialise in municipal finance at the postgraduate level. Students who are halfway through their Public Administration degree programme should begin looking for an internship opportunity that will support their career path interest. 

Study a Public Administration qualification with MANCOSA

MANCOSA offers a Bachelor of Public Administration, Honours and Master of Public Administration. Join a world-class learning institution with a programme dedicated to offering an advanced curriculum in the field of public administration. Visit our programme pages for more information or contact our student support services to register your interest in this qualification.