Six Reasons to Get a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA)

Six Reasons to Get a Master’s in Public Administration

When you think of “public administration,” you may envision managing budgets for a city transportation department or improving the efficiency of a town’s public health division. But for graduates with a master’s degree in public administration, there are many career possibilities that might not come to mind right away. A public administrator plans, organizes, directs, coordinates and controls operations in a government office, private company or nonprofit organization. This can be in positions as diverse as that of a community health director or the budget director at an environmental justice nonprofit. An MPA opens a world of opportunities.

The ability to choose from diverse occupations in a wide variety of industries is just one of several benefits of studying public administration. The MPA curriculum covers a wide range of topics. With your degree, you can pursue a career that lets you champion important issues and bring about meaningful change. During your education, you’ll develop critical leadership skills that will help you throughout your life. In your career, you’ll collaborate with highly skilled people. And in many public administrator roles, you’ll enjoy an attractive salary with benefits and opportunities for advancement.

This post highlights several compelling reasons to get a master’s in public administration.

1. Study a wide range of topics

As you study for your MPA, you’ll gain a comprehensive education in diverse subjects—from strategic planning to nonprofit advocacy to electronic governance and beyond. In doing so, you’ll discover which areas interest you the most. An MPA program with a wide-ranging curriculum and internship opportunities will provide an important breadth of knowledge and hands-on experience.

2. Choose from many career opportunities

MPA graduates work and thrive in varied organizations in the private sector, local and federal government, nonprofits and the military. Government jobs posted in 2020 included positions in statistics and computer science, human resources management, natural resources management and biological science, IT cybersecurity and auditing. Not-for-profit administrative opportunities posted on popular search boards included the Director of Development for a worldwide youth organization,1 Senior Administrative Associate at a leading children’s hospital,2 and Compliance and Evaluation Manager at one of the largest social services agencies in Los Angeles County.3

As you consider pursuing your MPA, consider your future as, for example, chief of police, a chief librarian in a government facility, a news analyst for an entertainment outlet, a state legislator, a management analyst at a private firm or a political scientist at a research university.

3. Spearhead work on important issues

An MPA will help you make your mark, either in your local community, at a high-profile organization, or on a governmental level. With dedication and the proper training, you can help to bring about change in crucial areas including public health, racial justice and environmental sustainability.

If you’re interested in being a force for good in a public forum, you’ll find many career paths open to you. You may choose to work within your community to help better the lives of its citizens, join a nonprofit as director of development or grants coordinator, or work with federal legislators to effect change for constituents. In each of these choices, you’ll embark on a career that’s personally rewarding as you make an important contribution to society.

4. Develop leadership skills

This is one of the benefits of studying public administration that not only advances your career but strengthens the community in which you work. As an MPA student, you’ll gain valuable leadership skills that employers seek out. According to Forbes magazine, key leadership skills include adaptability, transparency, empathy, flexibility, humility, confident communication, emotional intelligence and commitment to a vision.4 Further, you’ll learn to set goals and inspire positivity in the workplace.5 With fluency in these skills, you can inspire others to achieve lasting results and make the world a better place.

5. Collaborate with talented people

Throughout your graduate education, you’ll have the opportunity to work with seasoned professionals in fields such as public service, state legislature, public policy and urban politics, education and immigration policy, community development and nonprofits, health and behavioral management, and family and child well-being.

You’ll find dedicated, passionate people working together to improve peoples’ lives in a wealth of areas, from climate change and social justice to racial equality, affordable housing and community development. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to move into a leadership role in which you can mentor like-minded individuals and see your ideas and theirs come to fruition.

6. Enjoy a steady position, career advancement and benefits

In an uncertain world, public administration is an important field that provides strong job security and career advancement. Government jobs at the federal, state and local levels offer appealing starting salaries and excellent health and retirement benefits.6 The skills of a public administrator are required by nearly every area of society, from higher education and government to media outlets, research groups, nonprofit organizations and private companies.

Gain the skills to succeed in public leadership

Develop your expertise and advance in your career. Kent State’s online Master of Public Administration program is designed to meet the needs of aspiring leaders in the public sector, at an affordable price and on a convenient, flexible schedule.


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