From military to public policy/admin

<p>I am an enlisted member in the US Air Force and will retire in five years. I would like to work in public policy or admin when I retire. I'm not sure if I want to work in government or for an NGO but I would like to be involved in policy work relating to military/veteran matters or to any of the other causes I care about..</p>

<p>I have a MS in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas (4.0 GPA) and a BS in Management from Embry Riddle University (3.9 GPA). Given my experience and current education level, is a degree in the field required in order to find employment in the field? What steps can I take to better prepare myself In the next five years? And finally, do I have a shot at big name programs both at the masters and PhD level (Columbia, WWS, Penn, NYU)?</p>

<p>The grad section of this forum sure is a ghost town, eh?</p>

<p>Ha I remember when I was applying to undergrad, I had like a mountain of good advice hurled at me. But I guess those sections are much more frequented.</p>

<p>I’m not an expert in public policy, though I did major in political science, which doesn’t mean much.</p>

<p>My thought process would be the following: You already are going to have what, 5-8 years of work experience? + a Masters in Operations Management with a 4.0?</p>

<p>How would that prevent you from parlaying your experience into a public policy position WITHOUT additional education? There might be plenty you can do in your next 5 years in the Air Force to give you a niche in the public policy sector, though I could be wrong. Couldn’t you get involved in some sort of veterans affairs office while still in the military?</p>

<p>And surely you can find a way to tie in the education you got from your Master’s Degree into the public policy field. Again, I’m not the expert, just asking whether a Master’s degree is essential. Of course, if you love education, go for it.</p>

<p>Thank you for the response. I guess I was kind of already thinking I could use my current education/experience to find employment. I do love the academic environment and I’m sure that is driving at least part of my desire for a second masters or a Phd.
I like the idea of getting involved in veteran affairs before I get out. I guess that would be in a volunteer role?</p>

<p>Bump… How does one gain experience in the field of public policy if already employed full time?</p>

<p>Look for jobs with related agencies and organizations when you finish with the Air Force. Honestly, there’s no reason you need to go back for another master’s degree, and pursuing a Ph.D is only for those interested in academic research.</p>