Recommended Public Affairs and Administration Coursework
When pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in the field of public affairs, students will be educated in more fundamental aspects of the career, such as economics, communication, writing, and an overview of government roles and politics. Some of the courses required when obtaining of Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Dallas: Professional and Technical Communication, College Algebra, Introduction to Philosophy, State and Local Government, and American National Government.
A Master of Public Affairs will focus more on leadership opportunities, strategies, and analysis. At the University of Missouri, example core courses are Organizational Dynamics and Leadership, Public Policy Processes and Strategies, and Research Methods and Inquiry in Public Affairs. There are also electives in Grant Writing, Organizational Change in a Community, and Human Resources Management within the public and nonprofit sectors.
Helpful Skills to Work in Public Affairs
Both public affairs and public relations careers have similar skills needed for success. One of the most important is writing ability to create articles, press releases, copywriting, and presentations. With most of this work representing the company, it must meet their standards along with the potential outlet it may reach. One of the common goals among public affairs positions is having an influence on decisions made by policymakers. It is also beneficial to have originality and provide unique viewpoints instead of generic or robotic material, breathing life into the writing.
In a similar way, communication skills are a priority when informing those about the company. There must be a natural ability to encourage discussion and be able to present a confident viewpoint. It is common to hold meetings or to present information with other workers. With the growing use of social media, it is important to understand the impact various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can have on the company. Proper use can drive an organization’s message further among the community.
Strategy and organization is also an important aspect in a public affairs career. These positions typically require a message to be thought out and understood. For example, a market researcher will determine the best method of surveying and acquiring information. Being able to showcase significant and reliable evidence will have a bigger impact in writing or communicating for the organization.
Public Affairs Career Opportunities
Public Affairs Specialist
A specialist in the field of public affairs has numerous responsibilities in terms of representing the organization, generating content that provides information to potential investors in the private sector or the general community in the public sector. Other duties can include being a spokesperson for the organization and conducting interviews and talking with other leaders, or managing things behind the scenes, such as distribution and setting up meetings. Growth rate for job opportunities as a specialist are growing six percent between 2018-28 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Law Enforcement Officer
Officers that work in public affairs at law enforcement agencies have a very important responsibility to keep the community safe and to maintain a good relationship with them. They will also handle any media inquiries and are typically needed for distributing any important news information, especially in regard to the services they offer. Unlike more traditional public affairs positions, there are usually more steps needed to confirm information.
Another position in public affairs is heavy on researching data and optimizing the organization. These workers will be able to find specific problems and determine what solutions are needed. They must also explain their analysis to other employees or clients when needed, which requires strong communication and writing skills. This position differs from a market researcher as they look into the data more than gathering the information.
Public Affairs Career Salaries
When receiving a Bachelor’s degree in the field of public affairs, most jobs fall into the median salary of just over $60,000. This includes public affairs specialists, political scientists, and legislative analysts. Those working in the criminal justice system or representing a government agency will typically see a bit more salary or further incentives.
Those in managerial, director, and senior roles normally hold a Master’s degree and are compensated in the six-figure territory. Example positions include a human resource manager, senior economic policy analyst, or a public affairs specialist with a federal organization, like the US Department of Agriculture.