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Public Service Careers

By Patrick Flahive
Legal Studies Program Manager
Southwest Florida College

Any master of the obvious can tell you that we are living through very stark economic times. As evidence of this, consider the fact that most americans will answer "yes" to at least one of the following two questions:

• Are you out of work?
• Do you know someone who is out of work?

Jobs are scarce and competition for work is fierce. Statistically, the more education you have, the less likely you are to be unemployed. Many Americans realize this and they are enrolling in higher education and vocational programs in record numbers. However, simply returning to school isn’t enough. You need to know where the jobs are and how to get them.

Whether you live in Southwest Florida or South-central Los Angeles, the chances are still pretty good that the largest employer in your region will be your local, state or federal government. And, government jobs are as diverse as those in the private sector and they are often more secure. This is why a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Public Service Administration is worth serious consideration.

The Bachelor’s Degree in Public Service Administration offered by Southwest Florida College is for individuals who seek to expand their knowledge and marketability by earning a bachelor’s degree. The program is built upon a foundation of criminal justice and criminology coursework and allows students to choose from six different concentrations of study. Students may choose multiple concentrations towards their electives.

• Law Enforcement Administration
• Corrections Administration
• Crime Scene Technologies
• Emergency Preparedness
• Crisis Planning and Security Management
• Social Justice

Upon the completion of the program students will be eligible for a variety of positions in the criminal justice, social services, and emergency management fields.

Take a look at the following article courtesy of and visit some of the career opportunities posted on their site! Don’t forget to visit

What makes a professional career in public service so unique is the emphasis on tackling "wicked problems" -- the challenging issues that define the public agenda and call for talented individuals to devote their efforts to finding solutions. Here are just a few of the "wicked problems" on the agenda today:

Managing global climate change and controlling its underlying causes such as carbon emissions; supplying food, energy and clean water to the growing populations in developing countries; securing the United States and other countries against the possibility of chemical, biological and nuclear terrorism; redeveloping older urban areas that have lost their economic base in manufacturing; transitioning recently incarcerated persons into productive, nonviolent lives in society; ending the epidemic of HIV infection in developed and developing countries; and providing quality education and health care to children living in poverty.

These high profile problems are only a piece of the entire picture of public service careers. Many worthwhile careers in the new public sector are devoted to providing absolutely vital daily services to the public in cities, counties, states and nations around the world. Professionals in these careers often must tackle very challenging problems such as expanding services to meet the needs of changing populations without necessarily raising taxes, implementing information technologies that better connect citizens to their governments, and improving responses to natural disasters. Employment demand for professionals to provide leadership, financial management, policy analysis and other such skills has never been stronger.

Challenges of the New Public Sector.

The "new public sector" refers to the complex network of relationships among organizations that has emerged over the past thirty years in response to the realities of today's public policy and public administration needs. Whereas a public service career once meant government employment, we now recognize the connections between governments, nonprofits, NGOs the private sector, and universities. Persons employed in any of these types of organizations can have highly productive careers that contribute directly the public good.

For just one example, consider the problem of helping recently incarcerated individuals to reenter society. In the United States, governments at all levels are working closely with community-based nonprofit organizations to help former prisoners to lead productive lives. Those nonprofit organizations also are receiving financial support from philanthropic foundations. Some of that support is paying for university-based researchers and think tanks to evaluate alternative strategies for successful reentry. Outreach to the private sector is essential for these efforts to succeed. Anyone involved in leading or managing such an effort must be prepared to work effectively across the sectors.

Professional public service today thus offers many career opportunities including those in governments at all levels, in nonprofit organizations and NGOs, in higher education, and in private sector companies that work under contract to governments. These opportunities provide good pay and benefits, numerous choices of where to work in the United States and around the world, and resources for further training and education.
About Southwest Florida College: Southwest Florida College is an accredited, private institution of higher learning that is listening to employers and providing its students with placement assistance in today’s most demanding career fields. The college is located in Fort Myers, Tampa, Port Charlotte and Bonita Springs. The Institute of Interior Design is also located within the Bonita Springs campus. For more information, call 1-877-455-0107 or visit

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