If you want to work in a career that allows you to have an influence on the regulations and laws that govern industries and certain groups of people, a public policy career might be the ideal choice for you. Students who major in this field have the opportunity to gather relevant data, analyze issues, and come up with proposals for viable solutions to a wide range of issues.
A position in public policy allows you to combine data analytics, political science, and research to promote change. Read on to find out more about what some of the most popular public policy careers are, the skills that may be necessary to work in this field, the job outlook, and the average salary for these positions.
Why Work in Public Policy?
Today, the world needs a new generation of leaders that are motivated to find the best solutions to the problems faced by societies. Leaders of businesses and non-profits, lawyers, government contractors, social entrepreneurs, consultants, and professionals in heavily regulated industries need to understand how they can influence policy and measure the impact of their programs.
A career in public policy allows you to develop the necessary skills to ask the hard questions, use data and follow the evidence to get the answers you need, and make a real, lasting impact on communities.
Public policy graduates often lead successful careers across a range of sectors in the US and worldwide. This career path can lead you to work in the public, private, and non-profit sector in a range of roles including policy advisor, program officer, financial analyst, research specialist, government officers, company director and more.
What are Careers in Public Policy?
Careers in public policy are positions that tend to be focused on informing and improving regulations and laws in order to bring about changes that benefit a community. Those who work in this field are tasked with conducting research that inspires change, solves problems, and develops solutions that can make a difference. Find out more about what can you do with a master’s in public policy from Pepperdine University.
What Skills Do You Need to Work in Public Policy?
While you will learn many job-specific skills for working in public policy during education, these roles often require a set of soft skills in order for professionals to be successful. If you are interested in a career in public policy, some of the main skills to focus on building include:
1. Critical Thinking Skills
Strong critical thinking skills allow public policy professionals to perform analysis on a variety of different proposals, understand potential outcomes for certain laws, and make the right decisions as necessary.
Implementation is a skill necessary to be able to carry out any policy that you have worked on developing. This could involve forming a rollout plan through meeting with stakeholders and other involved individuals and groups.
3. Attention to Detail
Public policy career paths often involve work that requires a keen eye for detail. In these roles, the work that you do may have an influence on regulations and laws, which makes it important to be able to do due diligence.
As a public policy professional, you will likely need to be able to make strategic decisions. In these roles, the ability to form strategies and advise other decision makers is hugely important.
5. Research Skills
The majority of public policy roles involve some kind of data gathering and analysis. Working in public policy requires strong research skills and an ability to perform the necessary research to advise law makers, policy makers, stakeholders, and others.
6. Communication Skills
Public policy professionals need to be excellent communicators. In these roles, professionals will often be tasked with meeting and speaking with different people from a wide range of industries. They need to have the necessary skills to clearly put information across. Public speaking is worth becoming familiar and confident with since it is often a key part of this role.
Public Policy Job Outlook
The career outlook for a career in public policy will depend on the industry that you decide to pursue. By 2029, the Us Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 17% growth for social and community service managers and social and human service assistants.
The average salary for public policy professionals is currently around $45k per year; however, the salaries can vary a lot as there are so many different public policy positions to consider. How much you earn will depend on various factors including the field of work that you choose, your educational level, and your location.
How to Build a Public Policy Career
If you want to become a public policy professional, consider the following steps:
1. Consider Your Ideal Career Path
When it comes to public policy careers, there is a large variety of options that you can consider. Spend some time researching public policy career options and think about what your ideal career path looks like. This will help you choose the right educational pathway and support any additional decisions you make in terms of meeting your overall career goals.
2. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
To get your career in public policy started, you will usually need to earn a bachelor’s degree in public policy or a relevant field. While studying at this level, consider taking courses and elective modules that focus on ethics in public management, political science, policy development, economic analysis, or administrative leadership to support your future career. It is also worth considering applying for internships as a student since this will help you gain necessary experience in the field along with allowing you the opportunity to start building your professional network by connecting with professionals in the field.
3. Get Professional Certifications
It is worth spending some time exploring the different certifications that are available to you as a public policy professional. These certifications are designed to help professionals expand their knowledge and will help you build your confidence when it comes to applying for various positions as a graduate. You can find various public policy organizations that offer different cert
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