Many years ago, public administration, also known as PA work, wasn't quite so important. Today, this concept has evolved into a science that can make or break individuals and large groups alike. So, what is it? Read on as we take a look into today's robust world of PA.

Official Definition

Officially, the term "public administration" is another way of saying "governing." Per the Encyclopedia Britannica, it is defined as "the implementation of government policies." Furthermore, it is stated that today, PA work "is often regarded as including also some responsibility for determining the policies and programs of governments. Specifically, it is the planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling of government operations."

By this definition, as a public administrator, one is employed by the government and works in the service of that governing body in the interests of governing. This occurs at all levels of virtually all governments, from the local, all the way to the national level. In the US, we see all types of public administrators working in local government offices, the courts, and of course, in Washington DC.

Unofficial Definition

Outside of its official defines such as provided by the Encyclopedia Britannica, PA work is also commonly considered to be a vital part of a great number of other professional functions as well. It is often described as the area of interest that resides in the space where the business world's inner-workings and public awareness and interaction cautiously meet. The public interactions taken on by a pharmaceuticals company, for example, will fall under the category of public administrating work by this unofficial definition. Another way to view the concept is as a sort of blend of public relations, policy, and internal tactics. This, again, is the unofficial definition of this commonly used term - the area with which it could more widely be viewed under the umbrella of an academic concentration rather than a simple function of government.

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Degree Program

Speaking of academics, the work of a professional public administrator is actually represented by a very important degree program. Public administrations degrees are, in fact, incredibly important to a number of professional functions out there. So, what types of skills are bestowed upon the student of this kind of degree concentration? The following included courses speak to the defines of this degree program in addition to the actual practical application of PA work in real-life.

- Public Fiscal Management

- Public Speaking

- American Politics

- Municipal Government Operations

- Administrative Ethics and Theory

- Sociology

- Energy and Society

- Sustainable Communities

- Disaster Recovery and Response

Another interesting fact about this degree program is that many famous names have actually obtained it over the years including Ban Ki Moon, David Petraeus, Felipe Calderon, and Bill O'Reilly among others. Also, for those interested in similar studies or lines of work, degrees in public affairs, public policy, non-profit organizations, and many others are available with close relation to PA work focuses.

No matter how you use the term, PA work involves the public, and to some degree, the handling of that public in some way, shape, or form. Above, we've described the official as well as the unofficial meanings of this popular term today. For more information on the vast world of PA work today, the American Society for Public Administration is an excellent resource to get started with.

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