Public administration is the bridge between government policy and the public. Public administration professionals work in a wide range of positions – and not all of them are in the government field. Some career path examples include research manager at a university, director of health services at a government agency, project director at a non-profit, city director, deputy director, faculty position at a university, county commissioner, CEO, and many HR positions. The best way to get a jump start in this field is with a Masters in Public Administration (MPA). While many professionals stop at a Bachelor’s degree and work their way up from entry level positions, a Master degree will open the door to better jobs with higher pay. Here are the high end salaries for common MPA positions: Executive Director ($107,000/ year), Executive Director at a non-profit ($118,000). Human Resource Director ($170,000), Director of Development ($87,000). Professionals who are ready to take their next step in the Public Administration field with an MPA should consider these three things when choosing a school.
Broad View and Specialization
Studying for an MPA should be a delicate balance between macro theory and study as well as an emphasis on the student’s chosen specialization. Specializations include public and nonprofit management, public policy, global management, and more. Prospective students should consider their career goals including if they’d ultimately like to go nonprofit, international, or into government, and find a program which offers this specialization.
Even the top ranked MPA university programs are learning that public administrators are busy professionals interested in keeping their day job while going back to school. Part-time, night classes,
and at least partial online courses are offered by many well-ranked school. By taking classes online or at night, professionals don’t have to stop the forward momentum of their careers by taking a time out for school. Instead, education supplements their career and will most likely end with a diploma and a promotion. Alternatively, taking a sabbatical from work to focus full time on a MPA could mean better networking and a more engaging education experience.
In the Field Opportunities
Assistantships and internships are an excellent way for MPA students to get real world experience while
studying. Even if students have worked in the public administration field, an MPA internship will most likely put them in a new position of interest and likely result in opportunities for career growth. Top ranking programs offer substantial placement assistant for professionals looking to get their foot in the door in big companies.
The following list is of the universities offering the best Masters of Public Administration degrees. These rankings were determined through student surveys, an analysis of graduate results, independent review, and more. Data was compiled to rank schools based on the success of their graduates, the rigor of the program, and the reputation of the school among peers.