Individuals who are interested in helping others and are considering a Master’s of Public Administration degree often wonder how the job outlook is for MPA grads. The good news is that earning the MPA can really jump-start a career and result in higher wages and the potential for high-level positions in various work settings and organizations. Here is some information about what MPA grads can look forward to upon earning the degree as well as potential job growth.
Related resource: MPA Online Degree: Top 30 Values
What an MPA Entails
The MPA is a professional master’s level degree in public affairs. The MPA prepares students for executive positions in all levels of government, including federal, state and municipal as well as for non-governmental organizations. The curriculum of the MPA focuses on policy implementation, policy management and development, and the basics of public administration. The MPA graduate is prepared to meet and overcome challenges typically found in public administration.
To enroll in an MPA program, the candidate must already hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college. The applicant may also be required to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE). This interdisciplinary program includes courses in political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, and law. The individual should also have a strong knowledge of quantitative and economic as well as very good leadership skills.
MPA vs. MBA
Although many people believe the MPA and the MBA are the same degrees, they are two very different degrees. The MPA represents the Master of Public Administration degree, and the MBA represents the Master of Business Administration degree. The MBA is suggested to be the private sector equivalent of the MPA in the public sector. Students interested in careers in the business world generally pursue an MBA. Students interested in business but specifically in government or nonprofit organizations usually pursue the MPA.
Potential Jobs for MPA Grads
There is a large number of potential jobs for graduates of the MPA. There is also a wide variance in salaries, as well: one MPA grad may earn a starting wage of $35,000 while another may earn $100,000 or more. Factors such as work experience, employer and geographic location can all play a role in wage potential. MP graduates may find work in both the public and the private sector.
Candidates working for the private sector generally work for businesses and companies, while those in the public sector typically work for government agencies. Here are some potential jobs for MPA grads.
• Human Resources Director
• Government Affairs Executive
• Top Research Executive
• Director of Program Management
• Program Administrator
• Purchasing Manager
• Director of Volunteer Services
• Urban Planner
• Financial Analyst
Career Outlook for MPA Grads
The career outlook for MPA grads is very good, but it can also vary with each position. Work in the area of public administration is very much in demand today. The salaries are very good as well. According to Salary.com, human resources directors earned an average annual wage of $155,111 as of December 2019. The average annual wage for government affairs executives was $237,758, while top market research executives earned $204,210.
Statistics indicate that MPA grads can expect to see a real jump in salary in comparison to what their earnings were with just a bachelor’s degree. In addition to the higher salary, MPA grads also have a huge selection of positions from which to choose.