Most students pursue a master of Public Administration degree because they feel called to public service. Working in the public sector can be both personally fulfilling and professionally rewarding, but did you know that there also are many different lucrative jobs for MPA graduates?
There are many public administration career paths available to MPA graduates, including those in government agencies and those in the non-profit sector. And there are many different types of career opportunities for MPA graduates, which is one of the reasons why this program is in high demand. Students who pursue this degree are able to forge a path forward that accounts for their personal interests as well as their professional goals.
MPA graduates quickly realize that their degree provides them with an opportunity to pursue a career in management. Many of the positions that MPA graduates obtain are managerial positions that are particularly rewarding. Not only do these positions offer a higher salary, but they also provide MPA graduates with an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills they acquired throughout their degree programs. These positions are challenging and exciting—perfect for anyone who has earned an MPA degree. Top careers for MPA graduates include:
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A city manager or city administrator is a government employee who runs the day-to-day operations of a city. City managers typically work at the pleasure of the city council, which is the body of elected officials who govern the town. A city manager is often hired by the city council members in order to manage daily operations at the local level. City managers are not elected officials. MPA graduates are able to pursue a career as a city manager because they have an understanding of the complexities of municipalities, and they have the knowledge and skills needed to effectively run a community. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay in 2019 for city managers and other administrative services managers was about $96,000 per year.
Urban and Regional Planner
Urban and regional planners are professionals who typically work for local governments or municipalities. Their role is to develop land, revitalize specific spaces within the community and plan for population changes. Urban and regional planners are constantly evaluating the current economic climate and demographic changes in order to create dynamic communities that people want to live, work and play in. Those who earn an MPA degree are uniquely suited for a role as an urban or regional planner. Between 2018 and 2028, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this field to grow by about 11 percent—much faster than average. The median salary for urban and regional planners in 2019 was about $74,000 per year.
Those who are particularly interested in what makes the business world go round may want to pursue a career as an economist after they earn their MPA degree. It is worth noting that a master’s degree is required in order to become an economist, so an MPA is a worthwhile investment for those who want to pursue this type of career. Economists work closely with other professionals in various industries in order to analyze data, identify trends, perform research and make predictions about the health of the economy in the future. Economists play an important role in the business sector, as they help organizations of all sizes make the best choices about the products and services that they offer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that in 2019, the median annual salary for economists was about $105,000 per year.
Chief Executive Officer
Chief executive officers are employed in nearly every industry. These professionals hold the coveted top spot in a company, and they are responsible for overseeing the growth and development of the organization. They often work with a team of managers in order to oversee both short-term and long-term growth, and they also are considered to be the voice and face of the organization. CEO’s take on new challenges every day, which makes this a desirable position for those who have an MPA degree. Chief executives also must manage a variety of responsibilities, and they are required to be agile, nimble and flexible as they navigate the ever-changing business climate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salaries for chief executives can vary greatly based on their industry. For instance, a CEO of a large corporation may make about $235,000 per year, while the chief executive of a school may make closer to $100,000 per year.
Public Relations Manager
In an era in which the world is constantly connected all the time, there is high demand for public relations managers. Public relations managers must have the administrative skills that are acquired during an MPA degree program, as they are responsible for creating the public branding image and developing the messaging that an organization uses to connect with their target audience. A public relations manager must know how to collect and evaluate data as well as create a comprehensive marketing strategy that will present the organization in the best possible light. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 81,000 public relations managers in 2018 and the field is expected to grow by about 8 percent in the next decade. The median salary in 2019 for public relations managers was about $116,000.
Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers are the leaders of the human resources team at any organization, and it is their responsibility to create a hiring strategy for the company. In addition to hiring and terminating employees, human resources managers also work to create policies and guidelines for the employees who work at an organization. They strive to provide all employees with a safe, equitable place to work, and they are often seen as an objective resource that can be used by employees to advocate for their needs or wants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources managers earn about $116,000 per year, and this field is expected to grow by about 7 percent in the next decade.
Education administrators are employees who manage both elementary and secondary schools. Education administrators that work for public school districts are considered to be government employees, as their salaries are paid by taxpayer dollars. Education administrators that work for private or charter schools work in the private sector. Regardless of whether they work in the public or private sector, education administrators are charged with overseeing the daily operations of a school building or district. They often work with a team of managers in order to finalize the curriculum, make hires for the school and create a strategy for growth and development. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median annual salary for education administrators is about $97,000 per year.
MPA graduates have the opportunity to pursue a career as a financial analyst. This is a unique position because a financial analyst can be self-employed and work as a contract employee, or they can be employed by a specific organization. A financial analyst works closely with a particular business or an individual in order to provide guidance regarding financial investments. The financial analyst must be able to evaluate current financial data and make strategic plans for their clients. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analysts make about $85,000 per year, and the field is expected to grow by about 6 percent in the next decade.
A compliance manager typically oversees a team of compliance officers, who work to make sure that organizations are following all government guidelines and recommendations. Compliance managers are in high demand, as this unique position requires people to have an in-depth understanding of the public sector. This is why this career path is perfect for anyone who has earned an MPA degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compliance officers and managers make about $73,000 per year. These professionals often work at every level of government, but the majority of compliance officers work at the federal level.
A non-profit administrator is one of the most popular careers for MPA graduates. Students who earn an MPA degree find this to be a desirable career path because it allows them to put their knowledge and skills to use in a setting where they can also pursue a cause that they are passionate about. Non-profit administrators are the managers of non-profit organizations, which often seek to further charitable causes and promote community development. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, non-profit managers make about $68,000 per year, and this field is expected to grow by 13 percent in the next decade.
The online master of public administration at Post University provides students with an exciting opportunity to kick-start a new career or to take the next step on their current career path. This is a flexible degree that can be applied in a variety of professional settings, making it one of the most in-demand graduate-level degrees.
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Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post University program. To learn more about Post University’s programs and their outcomes , please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.