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Public & Social Service Major

Public administration and social service is a major that typically falls into the Public & Social Service category.

There are 497 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in public administration and social service, 1,178 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 971 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 202 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Public Administration & Social Service Degree?

Public administration and social service is the most popular college major in the country. In 2017, roughly students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field. The major attracts more women than men. About 82.5% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of public administration and social service majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 3.1%
  • Black or African American: 19.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 17.9%
  • White: 50.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1.3%
  • Other Races: 7.6%
Public & Social Service Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in public administration and social service. About 1.3% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending public administration and social service majors to the U.S. are.

What Will You Learn as a Public & Social Service Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to public administration and social service to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Public Administration & Social Service Majors

A major in public administration and social service should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

Important Knowledge Areas for Public & Social Service Majors

Skills for Public Administration & Social Service Majors

When studying public administration and social service, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

Important Skills for Public & Social Service Majors

Abilities for Public Administration & Social Service Majors

As you progress with your public administration and social service degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

Important Abilities for public administration and social service Majors

What Can You Do With a Public Administration & Social Service Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with public administration and social service:

Careers Related to Public & Social Service
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Healthcare Social Workers

20.1%

$56,200

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

5.7%

$53,020

Political Scientists

2.7%

$117,570

Health Specialties Professors

25.9%

$97,370

Social Workers

8.3%

$63,140

Chief Executives

-3.9%

$189,600

Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs

5.9%

$46,020

Transportation Planners

6.7%

$81,340

Education Professors

10.3%

$64,780

Compliance Managers

8%

$107,480

Public & Social Service Major Salary

Public administration and social service majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $50,000 to $103,000. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Public Administration & Social Service Major  ( 50000 to 103000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )
$0
$200k

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Public & Social Service Major Jobs

Some careers associated with public administration and social service may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to public administration and social service have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Public & Social Service
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma

0.3%

High School Diploma or Equivalent

8.9%

Post-Secondary Certificate

1.6%

Some College Courses

3.8%

Associate's Degree or Equivalent

5.8%

Bachelor's Degree

35.5%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

3%

Master's Degree

21.8%

Post-Master's Certificate

4.3%

First Professional Degree

0.3%

Doctoral Degree

13.9%

Post-Doctoral Training

1.1%

Online Public & Social Service Programs

There are 1,178 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in public administration and social service, with 193 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is a Public & Social Service Major Worth It?

The median salary for a public administration and social service grad is $72,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 84% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $655,400 after 20 years!

public administration and social service salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: University of the Fraser Valley via License

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