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Q&A - Certificates in Public Administration

Can I work while studying for my certificate in public administration?

Yes, of course you can work while completing your online pubic administration certificate. There are 2 things to consider: how quickly do you want to finish your certificate program and whether or not you are currently working.

The convenience of obtaining a public administration certificate online is ideal for those who are employed and seeking additional knowledge for career advancement. However, if you are unemployed or working part-time, you might want to pursue your certificate in public administration full-time and complete the program in as little as 1 or 2 semesters. During this time, you might want to obtain a part-time internship or volunteer with a government agency or nonprofit in order to gain real world experience to advance your career.

Jobs that are relevant to a future career in public administration can be with the local, state or federal government. An entry level government position or a position in public health or hospital administration, public safety, urban planning, social work or criminal justice could be combined with a certificate in public administration to facilitate career advancement and increase your public administration salary.

Online public administration certificates are ideal if you are already working in the public administration sector and want to advance to a management position without taking time out of your career to enroll in a traditional program.

Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online public administration certificate program?

There are a number of online public administration certificate programs from brick-and-mortar universities that have MPA programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. Online public administration certificate programs are not certified by the NASPAA, but taking classes from a brick-and-mortar school that has an NASPAA accredited program will help to ensure that your courses are high quality.

In addition, some of these universities will allow you to apply your certificate coursework to a masters of public administration. Generally, some certificate programs can be completed as an undergraduate whereas graduate certificate programs will require you to have a bachelors degree and a post-master’s certificate will require that you have a masters degree in a related field.

There are several NASPAA accredited schools that offer certificates, graduate certificates and or postgraduate certificates in public administration. Indiana State University, University of North Dakota and University of Central Florida offer graduate certificates in public administration. Florida State University offers a certificate program that can be completed as an undergraduate. Iowa State University offers a certificate of public management for public administrators who are already employed. Kansas State University has graduate and post-master’s certificates in public administration.

For advanced students with masters degrees, City University of New York offers an advanced certificate program in public administration and public policy. In addition,
Suffolk University and Oakland University have advanced post masters certificate programs.

What are common assumptions about students who choose to get a certificate in public administration?

The main assumption about students who choose to earn public administration certificates online is that they want to obtain education in the subject but are unwilling or unable to commit to a 4-year bachelors degree or masters in public administration degree program. There are many reasons for this but perhaps the primary 1 is that they are working in the field and want some background in administration in order to move into management, change jobs or petition for a promotion.

Another possible reason that they might seek a certificate in public administration is to see if they want to obtain a masters of public administration degree without committing to the complete program. Many universities that offer post-graduate certificates will allow students to apply the coursework to an MPA if they decide to continue. A certificate in public administration is a safe alternative to those who are uncertain if they want to spend the time, money and energy on an MPA.

An additional reason that students may seek a certificate in public administration is that they already have advanced degrees in other subjects and do not want to make the time or financial commitment to an additional advanced degree.

What is the hardest part of the application to an on-campus or online Public Administration certificate program?

Generally, the admission requirements for public administration certificate programs tend to be less strict than for obtaining a bachelors or masters degree. Therefore, the most difficult aspect of applying to an online certificate program in public administration may be in locating the best public administration certificate program for you.

If there isn’t a certificate program that in your area, you might look at the programs listed on the NASPAA website. Note that certificate programs are not accredited by the NASPAA, but can be offered through NASPAA associated institutions.

Application to many certificate programs simply requires filling out the application form and having transcripts sent. Many certificate programs do not have particular admissions requirements while others have strict requirements for applicants.

Some of the certificate programs may require an essay on your career objectives, in addition to professional recommendations or GRE scores. Depending on your particular aptitude, different parts of the application might be the most difficult part.