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Earn an Online Master of Public Administration or MPA Degree

September 28, 2021
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If you're interested in becoming a strong, informed public leader who drives ethical decisions, policies and progress, earning an online Master of Public Administration or, MPA degree, will give you the greatest opportunity to make a significant difference in your community.

Offering a strong focus on ethical leadership, strategic planning, financial management and budgeting within both private and nonprofit sectors, an online MPA degree will substantially increase your earning potential and prepare you to be a top-tier agent of positive change. Keep reading to learn all the details about earning an online Master of Public Administration or MPA degree, from a full program description to the excellent career options you can look forward to as a master of public administration.

What Do You Learn in an Online MPA Program?

An online MPA program will give you the knowledge, skillset, expertise and credibility required to become a leading public administrator. You'll learn to resolve complex public issues within communities and organizations by implementing beneficial programs, projects and policies.

MPA curriculums are designed to ensure you graduate with top skills, knowledge and expertise typically in the following areas:

  • Ethics and morality issues related to public service personnel in democratic societies
  • Skills, theories and practices appropriate for leaders of public and nonprofit organizations
  • Financial management and budgeting principles for public and nonprofit organizations
  • Theories and techniques appropriate for evaluating government programs
  • Planning strategies relevant to public program design and implementation
  • The use of statistical methods in public administration
  • Principles of communication and information technologies in the public sector
  • Managing information technology (IT) systems in public agencies and organizations
  • Personnel systems in the public sector and intrinsic public service values
  • Labor relations issues in the public sector
  • The process of public policymaking for US nonprofit organizations
  • Foundational components for the successful governance of nonprofits
  • Significant legal concerns impacting US nonprofit organizations
  • Effective resource development and fundraising strategies for nonprofits

What Is the Typical Length of an Online MPA Degree?

Many online MPA courses can be completed in as few as two years. The course requirements for online MPA degrees vary and typically will include both core courses and electives to hone in on specific needs in the field plus a practicum project. Additionally, some MPA programs might require those students without substantial experience, to complete an internship in addition to the required coursework. Review the credit and experience requirements for the programs you’re interested in to estimate how long the degree will take you to complete.

Who Teaches Online MPA Programs?

For the best experience, choose a program that features a faculty balanced between academic rigor and a practitioner focus. Look for faculty who have held leadership positions within nonprofits, government, or the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), and are published widely in such prestigious public policy journals as International Public Management Journal, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Public Administration Review and Administration & Society.

While earning your online MPA degree, you'll want to learn from instructors who have held prominent positions in local and state government agencies, with extensive backgrounds in academic research and valuable in-field work experience. You also should pay attention to whether faculty specializations include issues you’re interested in such as public policy and administration, public policy reform, immigration policies and privatization and e-government.

What Careers Are Available for an Online MPA Degree?

An online MPA degree empowers graduates to assume senior management roles in the military, private sector, federal, state, regional and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

With an advanced degree like a master's in public administration, you demonstrate to employers that you have the superior knowledge, skills and expertise required to excel in a wide range of public and nonprofit administrative roles.

The career path for a master of public administration is unique for each individual but all paths lead to excellent opportunities for identifying needs and developing successful solutions. The following lists offer examples of career paths for the public and nonprofit service sectors:

Public Sector Careers

Career paths within the public sector for graduates of MPA programs are both extensive and diverse. The US Government provides approximately 24 million jobs and is the largest collective employer of graduates with a master's in public administration.1, 2

Online MPA graduates seeking careers at all levels of government include a myriad of public service positions such as:

  • Government Program Managers
  • City Managers
  • Urban and Regional Planners
  • Social Service Managers
  • Community Service Managers
  • Directors of Public Works
  • Police Chiefs
  • Chief Librarians
  • Grant Coordinators

Nonprofit Sector Careers

The latest statistics for the US nonprofit sector find more than 22 million people employed in this sector or about 14% of the US workforce.3 Graduates with an online MPA degree can choose career paths in the nonprofit sector with such prominent positions as:

  • Executive Directors
  • Directors of Development
  • Directors of Advancement
  • Program Directors
  • Services Directors
  • Development Managers
  • Grant Coordinators

Are Online MPA Graduates in High Demand?

Graduates with online MPA degrees are in high demand. A 6% job growth rate is expected between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.4 Currently, there are 19,404 listings for public administration jobs on one of the top job search websites and 6,259 listings on another.5, 6

According to the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), employment rates within 6 months of graduation include the following percentages, sorted according to sector:2

  • Government (all levels): 51%
  • Nonprofit Sector: 22%
  • Private Sector: 17%
  • Higher Education: 4%
  • Military: 2%

Clearly, the outlook is excellent for masters of public administration. And, with a NASPAA-accredited online MPA degree from Kent State University, you are assured of receiving the most up-to-date and in-demand skills and expertise to garner respect as an outstanding public administrator.

Ready to Become an Agent of Positive Change?

With one of the most affordable and flexible MPA programs in Ohio, Kent State's online MPA degree is also accredited by the influential Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), the global standard in public service education.

The online Master of Public Administration or MPA degree from Kent State is one of the prestigious few online MPA programs accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). One of the most affordable and flexible MPA programs in Ohio, the Kent State online MPA prepares you for senior management positions in federal, state, regional and local governments, as well as leading positions in nonprofit organizations.

Whether you are interested in gaining new skills, changing jobs or advancing your current career, consider how an online MPA degree from Kent State University can help set you apart as a leader in the field of public administration. Designed especially for busy students and working professionals who want to expand their career options, our 100% online Master of Public Administration or MPA Degree will give you the knowledge and expertise needed to become an agent of positive change and lead the charge toward the greater good.