Public administration is both the discipline that prepares civil servants for operating within the public service sector and the real-world application of governmental policy. The idea behind all challenges within public administration is to negotiate effective management policies and help the government function optimally.
Prospects for Public Administration
Many public administrators worry that the field of public administration itself is going to be subsumed by or homogenized with related fields like public management or formal bureaucratic theory. Public administrators worry that in the coming years political science departments at the university level will continue to phase out or significantly downplay public administration in the curriculum.
Assessing the National Landscape
Public administrators are concerned with the numbers coming out of recent Pew Research polls showing an all-time low in confidence in government. This is especially startling because administrative overhauls are beginning to bear fruit and the budget is being taken seriously and achieving some degree of balance. Nonetheless, the public wants more accountability and leadership from government officials and more efficient performance from governmental departments and sub agencies.
Areas for Improvement
Public administration has often been viewed by political science wonks as ungrounded in clear and implementable solutions to real-world problems. Furthermore, public administration as a field has often not been as exacting scientifically as political science and commonly-accepted public policy demands. The core problem within public administration is research and methodology are lagging behind practice and tomorrow's public policy. Public administration can start to move forward by convincing political science experts that public administration as a discipline is examining public policy questions of broad applicability in a methodically rigorous way.
Continued Challenged in Public Administration
One blot on the field of public administration actually exists because of the public's distrust of governmental efficiency. In well-run governments like those in Scandinavia, citizens are more trustful of higher taxes because they feel their money will not be squandered. Unfortunately, that same trust doesn't carry over to America. The inability to seamlessly incorporate public policy decisions hurts the government's efficiency and peoples' trust in the government as an institution; perhaps, public administration gets a bad reputation as a consequence.
Areas of Study and Job Outlook
The job outlook for public administrators and public policy experts is very promising. The sheer number of possible dissertation topics in public administration usually outranks comparable public policy options in other political science domains. This is so for two reasons - the ongoing process of governance provides an inexhaustible supply of current public policy riddles to solve and, second, the field of public administration offers an almost instant means of testing theoretical ideas in the field.
Professional Development and Online Programs
On a related note, US News and World Report recently reported that a masters degree is often your foot in the door vis-a-vis landing a job in public policy and public administration. In addition, a higher degree enhances your credibility in the field and augments the possibility of increases in salary. An extremely efficient way to capitalize on public policy needs is through an online masters in public administration. Degrees that blend management, business and human resource skills and opportunities for careers in the public and private sectors, as well as foster managerial skills, are ideal for cultivating tomorrow's public administrators.