Public Policy Management Career 

Public policy management offers wide-ranging career opportunities on both the federal and state government level, as well as with non-profit agencies, schools, private companies, and religious organizations. Relying on their leadership and ‘people’ skills,’ a manager or analyst works towards influencing the policies that essentially affect the public. In order to make a difference, solve problems and create effective strategies, a public policy specialist must first complete an education program that equips future management with the appropriate knowledge and skills.

Job Activities & Responsibilities

Having excellent management skills is a must for this career field, and it’s not uncommon for aspiring professionals in public policy to work in various departments of organizations, like human resources or finance, before accepting a higher position. The experience prepares an employee to eventually assume the role of a manager or administrator of public programs. A public policy manager devotes a great deal of time to evaluating current policies, economic data, and political current events. This information helps craft and improve future policies.

Public policy management duties often include the following activities:

  • Collecting data and analyzing statistics related to specific public policy subjects
  • Using qualitative and quantitative methods of research to establish theories and solutions
  • Staying on top of political, economic, and social trends
  • Providing evaluations of how policies affect the public
  • Conducting research, writing reports, giving presentations, and publishing findings


Job candidates applying for a public policy management position are expected to hold at least a master’s degree, usually in political science, public administration, or a related field. Examples of relevant master’s degree include the MPA (Master of Public Administration) and MPP (Master of Public Policy), which generally combine multiple disciplines in one.

Students with aspirations to enter the field have the option to focus on a specific area of interest. It’s important to choose electives that create a well-rounded curriculum, such as taking undergraduate and graduate courses in writing, communication, national politics, economics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and statistics. Individuals with an interest in pursuing public policy projects associated with religion and religious beliefs should take classes that build a background in theology, divinity and religious studies.

Those who complete a Ph.D. program qualify for higher-paying job openings and often go on to work as consultants, researchers and professors.

Career Salary & Job Outlook

Public policy managers and analysts are often grouped alongside the political scientist occupation, which saw employees being paid a median yearly salary of $115,110 in 2017. In addition to being hired by political organizations, lobbying firms and labor unions, religious organizations are one of the leading industries to offer public policy management job openings, where the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated employees earned a median salary of $ 76,790 in 2017.

A relatively low number of job prospects are anticipated for this career field, and there will be fierce competition for existing openings. The employment for political scientists is anticipated to grow only 3% from 2016 to 2026. This projection highlights a slower than average rate than all other occupations in the U.S. Nearly half of new positions to hit the job market are likely to come from the federal government, which needs public policy managers and analysts. More employees are likely needed to oversee new policies as fresh budget changes take effect and proposed improvements to existing public services are in the talks.