2021 Best Public Administration Associates Degrees Online

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Getting a public administration associates degree online enables you to build a solid educational foundation and to develop your trade, enterprise, organizational, human resources, and management skills.

Public Administration Associates Degrees Online

An associates degree generally takes around 2 years to complete, and it can qualify you to enter the workforce or to continue on to get your bachelors.

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The knowledge you can learn and the skills you can gain through public administration associate programs can help you get your start in the public sector.

Public Administration Associates Degrees Online

Public Administration Associates Degrees Online

Online associate degrees in public administration can help you develop managerial, enterprise organizational, and human resource skills to prepare you for work in the public sector.

Many graduates use this degree as a stepping stone toward a higher degree, but others use it to qualify for entry-level roles in the workforce. Some of these entry-level roles include:

  • Lobbyist
  • Grant writer
  • Administrative assistant
  • Auditing clerk
  • Human services assistant

An associate degree in public administration can often qualify you to enter into clerical and support positions while developing your leadership skills for future growth.

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Because of the focus on public administration, a number of your courses will be centered on the knowledge necessary for government or government-controlled enterprises. Should you decide to pursue this degree, you may find yourself studying course topics like the following:

  • English composition
  • Introduction to the American government
  • Business and public policy
  • Administrative law
  • Spreadsheet applications

This associate’s degree can also touch upon topics related to science, mathematics, computer and technology, and other humanities domains. Associate programs in public administration aim to equip you with the core knowledge necessary to either continue your learning or enter the workforce as a well-versed candidate for the public sector.

Public Administration Careers & Salaries

Public Administration Careers & Salaries

Pursuing an associate’s degree can allow you to fast track your way to employment or to build a foundation for furthering your educational career.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a number of entry-level positions in the field of public administration that you can qualify for with an associate degree.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Occupational Health and Safety Technicians $53,340
Legal Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $48,980
Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs $47,110
Human Resources Assistants $43,250
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks $42,410
Financial Clerks $41,520
Court, Municipal, and License Clerks $40,930
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $38,850
Correspondence Clerks $38,400
General Office Clerks $35,330

When pursuing careers following your public administration associate degree, you may find work in the public sector, in the business industry, or even in educational institutions. The skills you can develop through an associate program are applicable in a range of industries and roles.

Public Administration Associate’s Curriculum & Courses

Online associate in public administration programs prepare you with many core courses so that you’re ready to choose between continuing your educational career or entering the workforce.

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A public administration associate’s degree also looks at governmental policy to help prepare you for work in government-owned enterprises.

Here are some courses you may encounter during your studies:

  • English Composition: Learning to write at a professional level is essential for success in the public sector.
  • Intro to the American Government: The public sector includes governmental and government-owned enterprise work. So, understanding the purpose and function of the American government is essential.
  • Business and Public Policy: This interdisciplinary course looks at all the necessary frameworks surrounding the development, maintenance, and understanding of business and governmental rules and regulations.
  • Administrative Law: This course is a specialization of law and covers the regulations related to administrative practices within legal systems and institutions.
  • Spreadsheet Applications: Being able to document, organize, and store data and information is essential to clerical and assistant work. This course introduces you to various platforms and builds your administrative skills using these tools.
  • Fundamentals of Oral Communication: Through this course, you can come to better understand the role of oral communication in interacting with colleagues and managing employees.
  • Principles of Economics: This is an introductory course to micro and macroeconomics, and it teaches you how to problem solve using an economic way of thinking.
  • Introduction to Information Technology: Privacy, storing and sharing data, organization, and skills in networking are all central to an introductory course in IT.
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility: This course looks at the interconnectedness of students to the economy and to the world. While exploring real-life case studies, you can learn to better understand management practice from a more ethical standpoint.
  • Principles of Business Management: This leadership-focused course helps develop your authoritative skills, including division of work, discipline, and management planning and coordination.

Most programs begin with general core courses and then branch off into government-focused and managerial coursework.

Admissions Requirements

Public Administration Associates Degrees admissions

Admission requirements for a public administration associates degree program can vary from school to school, but here are some common requirements you may encounter:

  • SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5 on average
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Completed application with cover letter

Some programs may only require that you have completed high school or a GED. This is because an associates degree program can be a way for you to raise your GPA to enter into a bachelors program.

Accreditation

Public Administration Associates Degrees accreditation

Attending a college with a regional accreditation status can be essential for entering the workforce or continuing your educational career.

Regional accreditation assures employers and future educational institutions that you have received your degree from a school with a high-standard of education. Schools that have earned this status meet the regulations of reputable accrediting organizations. Accreditation can also be an eligibility factor for receiving federal financial aid.

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With many inauthentic and fraudulent accrediting organizations out there, it’s strategic to check the status of your school and program using the US Department of Education’s database of schools.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Public Administration Associates Degrees financial aid

If you are entering your public administration associate’s degree program directly out of high school, your college or community may award scholarships, credits, or grants for your work or GPA score.

If you are currently employed in the public sector, you may also have opportunities to have access to funding to continue your educational career. Some employers even offer tuition assistance to workers who are advancing their education.

Your first stop for federal aid can be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA links directly with your accredited institution, and it can help you discover how much need-based assistance you can qualify for through the US Department of Education. Your state may offer similar aid as well.

What Can You Do with an Associate Degree in Public Administration?

Associate Degree in Public Administration

An associate degree in public administration can equip you with a solid educational foundation. You can choose to build on that foundation by continuing your education, or you can choose to utilize it by entering the workforce.

Entry-level employment opportunities in the field of public administration include legal assistant, bookkeeper, grant writer, secretary, administrative assistant, auditing clerk, and human resource services assistant.

Your core courses and public policy focused education can help prepare you for a variety of work in government and government-owned enterprises. Your acquired skills can also be applied to a variety of industries.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Associates Degree in Public Administration Online?

Associates Degree in Public Administration

Associate degrees can allow you to fast-track your entry into the workforce. If you are enrolled full-time in a traditional 16 week semester, it will generally take around 2 years to complete an associate program.

Should you wish to accelerate your timeframe, there are programs that follow 8 week terms and offer year-round enrollment. Following this type of course calendar may let you finish in less time.

The convenience of an online public administration degree program is that you are able to structure your coursework around your personal obligations. If you choose to attend part-time, it may take you longer to complete your degree.

What Jobs Can I Get with an Associates of Arts Degree in Public Administration?

Associates of Arts Degree in Public Administration

Your employment opportunities depend on many factors, such as your location, your previous work experience, and your chosen industry.

Some graduates with an AA in Public Admin pursue work in bookkeeping. Bookkeepers are responsible for managing, organizing, and distributing data collections using a variety of platforms, spreadsheets, and databases.

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Other professionals may go on to become legal secretaries. A legal secretary generally works in a private office or a corporate legal department with a team of lawyers. They can be responsible for organizing and maintaining documents as well as drafting legal documents.

Becoming an administrative assistant is a common place to start for those interested in public administration. They perform clerical work for an office and its administrator. Administrative assistants are needed in almost any organization, including government, government-owned, and nonprofit enterprises.

What’s the Difference Between an Associate Degree in Public Policy vs. Public Administration?

Public Policy vs. Public Administration

If you are choosing between an associate degree in public policy and public administration, there are a few differences worth noting.

  • Public policy: This degree path emphasizes the study of laws, regulations, and policies. Public policy careers can involve suggesting and formulating improvements.
  • Public administration: This degree path focuses on the management and business aspect of the public sector.

There are a few overlaps in responsibility between those who work in public policy and public administration.

Is an Associate’s Degree in Public Administration Worth It?

Associate’s Degree in Public Admin

Yes, an associate’s degree in public administration is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 4% job growth for media and communication occupations over the next ten years. Community and social service occupations are expected to grow 12%.

Common entry-level positions in this field include administrative assistant, clerk, human services assistant, lobbyist, and occupational safety technician. Earning an associate degree can often let you enter the workforce in 2 years or less.

Should you wish to continue your education, you may be able to transfer your associate degree credits into a bachelors program.

Universities Offering Online Associates in Public Administration Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Forsyth Tech Community College

Forsyth Tech Community College

Forsyth Tech Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Public Administration.

Students must complete a total of 64 credit hours over the course of 5 semesters to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit official high school transcripts or proof of having a High School Equivalency degree.

Forsyth Technical Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Hudson Valley Community College

Hudson Valley Community College

Hudson Valley Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Public Administration. To graduate, students must complete 60 credit hours. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a high school diploma and must have completed a high school mathematics course with a grade of 70 or higher.

Hudson Valley Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Rio Salado College

Rio Salado College

Rio Salado College offers an Associate in Public Administration. Full-time students can typically complete the program in 4 semesters.

The program requires students to obtain 64 credit hours to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit an online application with their personal information. The school has success coaches available to aid applicants through the process.

Rio Salado College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida offers an Associate in Arts with a focus on Public Administration. Students must complete 60 credit hours to graduate. This program has three path options: US Federal Government, Introduction to Computers, or Principles of Economics. Applicants must submit official high school transcripts.

Seminole State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Public Administration. The online program requires students to complete 60 credit hours to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must apply online with official high school transcripts or GED scores, TSI test scores, and vaccination forms.

Tyler Junior College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Public Administration Associates Degree Online

Public Administration Associates Degree Online

Public administration associate programs can act as stepping stones toward both the workforce and continuing your education. You can acquire the foundational knowledge necessary to enter into clerical and assistant positions in the public sector.

Pursuing your public administration associates degree online can increase its flexibility. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that taking classes from home is more common for associate degrees, with the percentage of distance learning increasing year after year.

You are able to schedule your coursework around your personal obligations, and you can often save yourself time and money through this online alternative. If you’re interested in getting started in the field of public administration, you might want to begin exploring online associate programs from accredited universities.

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Claudia Amendola Alzraa
WRITTEN BY
Claudia Amendola Alzraa
Claudia has a Master's in Library and Information Studies, a Bachelor's in Education, and a Bachelor's with Honors in English and Philosophy. With a history working in Special Education, Claudia is an advocate for diversified and equitable education, and student success initiatives.