Does the idea of organizing and managing interest you? Do you like public organizations like non-profits or schools?
Then you may want to look into a public affairs degree. To succeed in these fields, you need strong organizational skills, along with advanced communication abilities.
What are the differences between similar public affairs and public administration degrees? We’re showing you in the article below.
What Is a Master’s in Public Affairs?
When you want to work in government or hold management positions in private companies, you can look into a Master’s of public affairs. It’s essentially a high-level communication degree with more of a business focus.
For most high-paying or high-position jobs, you’ll need a master’s, on top of a relevant bachelor.
There are as many specializations in master’s programs as there are job opportunities. Your interest area will help you decide which program is right for you.
Do you want to work for an environmental organization? You can find a degree that focuses on natural resources. Like education but don’t want to be a teacher? There are degree tracks for school organization professionals.
The degree itself focuses on communications, ethics, law, and how public policy plays a role in everyday life. A large part of any public affairs job involves putting out fires from any crises or issues that arise.
Who Is a Master’s of Public Affairs Right For?
Like any career, there are certain people that will succeed easily and those that should choose another profession. For this master’s, you need to be high in emotional intelligence and have great people skills.
You must be very organized and not afraid of taking on a leadership role. You need a clear view on business or company ethics and a history of sticking true to your values.
A working knowledge of economics doesn’t hurt either, depending on your specialization.
Motivating people, analyzing and addressing risks is important too. Writing skills and communication are emphasized, since some professionals may be in charge of press releases or official statements.
Jobs with a Public Affairs Degree
When you get a degree in Public Affairs, you have a lot of options. One of the most lucrative ones is lobbying politicians.
Lobbyists make a lot of money if they pick the right issue or company. But, it’s a profession wrought with corruption. As long as you feel comfortable sticking to your guns and your values, you’ll be fine.
Communications positions, policy writing and analyzing, along with administrative government roles are on the table as well.
Get a more comprehensive list of careers here.
The Other Public: Master’s of Public Administration
At first glance, these degrees can appear to be identical, but they’re not. Similar, yes, but identical, no.
A Master’s in Public Administration is more of a management degree than a communications degree. People with these degrees have (usually) higher authority positions, like Mayor or City Manager.
What Is a Master’s of Public Administration?
Think of this degree as more of business management than business communication. You’ll look at things like providing services, implementing policies, and evaluating existing ones.
People with Public Admin degrees often work alongside those with a Master’s in Public Affairs.
The Affairs professional will create the policies or find the need for them, while the administrator creates ways to carry them out.
Both are important and it depends on the type of person you are. Are you better at helping people carry out programs or dreaming them up? You can’t have one without the other!
Jobs With a Master’s in Public Administration Degree
In today’s market, it’s obvious that you don’t have to have the official and traditional education to hold a position. Look at the President of the United States.
So when you read this list, know that there is some wiggle room and you aren’t contained to the following list.
If you’ve ever wanted a government job, like managing an office, a la the show Parcs and Rec, you can get this degree.
Other options include more official government jobs, like running or holding political office. City managers, mayors, and other political but non-partisan positions are open to you with this master’s degree under your belt.
This job doesn’t qualify you as a teacher, in most states, but it does allow you to work in school management. Roles in school boards and school district offices are often open to those with this degree.
If you’d like a more involved position, like a Principal, then you’re better suited with a Master’s of Education.
Many people who want to work in non-profits pursue this degree. It’s complicated to run a business that doesn’t make money and a master’s level education helps a lot.
To see more potential career options, click here.
If you want to start pursuing your Master’s of Public Administration degree, you’ll need to get your bachelor’s first. Officially, there’s no requirement for what bachelor’s you come in with.
But, it’ll help if you pursue something in a relevant field, like education or political science.
The same goes for a degree in Public Affairs. You’ll likely look at the same schools as those with high-level administration programs. As we said, the degrees are similar, but they have subtle differences.
So, treat them as such. If you find a program that’s a public affairs degree but it sounds like a better personal fit for you than a competing public admin degree, don’t cross it off your list.
Both will give you a high-level education and likely open up the same type of jobs. Shop these degree programs based on personal values and interests and you can’t go wrong.
Find Master’s of Public Administration and Public Affairs Degree Programs
If the programs in this article sound right for you, it’s okay to not know which to choose yet. You need to do some more reading about the public affairs degrees programs that different schools offer.
It’s not until you get further into your research that you’ll start figuring out which is a better fit.
To help you along this road, we’ve compiled a list of the best programs, start your research here!