Online MPA programs attract a special kind of individual—one who is motivated to become a positive change agent by serving the public in government and nongovernment leadership positions. Graduates with a master’s degree in public administration can become public sector leaders who help implement policy as well as design and administer public programs. They identify the needs of vulnerable and at-risk groups, collaborating with other agencies and resources to provide needed solutions and services.
Public Sector Careers Opportunities for MPA Graduates
Every day, 10,000 baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) reach the retirement age of 65. This pattern will continue until the last group turns 65 in 2029. Retirements in such massive numbers—over 3.5 million annually—will result in an unprecedented number of job vacancies.*
“40% of the public sector workforce is retiring, so we’ll be seeing many positions opening up for graduates with MPA degrees,” said Linda Kiltz, PhD, program director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Public Policy (MPP), and MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership programs at Walden University.
Dr. Kiltz recommends that MPA degree program graduates begin their job searches at the city and state government levels. “A master’s in public administration degree prepares students with the knowledge and skills to fill supervisory, mid-management, project management, and leadership positions,” she said. “Their MPA courses teach them leadership, management, communications, and writing skills, all of which are important strengths of effective leaders.”
The job market for public administrators is growing across a wide variety of government agencies, from criminal justice and emergency management to health and social services. Students entering an online MPA program can enroll in the general MPA degree program, or choose a specialization that aligns with their personal and career goals.
“Having expertise in a specific area of public service gives students a strong competitive edge when they apply for jobs they desire,” Dr. Kiltz emphasized. “Here at Walden, we offer 12 specializations, encompassing everything from local government management for sustainable communities to global leadership.”
Nongovernment Career Opportunities for MPA Graduates
While the majority of online MPA degree graduates seek careers in local, state, or federal government agencies, many others pursue jobs in nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and nonprofit organizations. Compared with public agencies, NGOs and nonprofits have the advantage of being more innovative and flexible in their range and choice of policies and programs, without having to worry as much about political ramifications.
Additionally, due to NGOs’ versatility, it’s easier for graduates with an online MPA degree to align their own interests with specific NGOs. For example, those with a specialized MPA in global leadership or international NGOs typically have a broad perspective of public service through their coursework in global concepts and theories. They may also have the international skill set to pursue challenging careers in global NGOs.
Job Market for Public Administrators
The job market for public administrators is projected to increase by 12% between 2012 and 2022. In 2012, the average median salary for public administrators was $81,080, and the top 10% earned more than $143,070.† The average salary at international nongovernment organizations is $81,000, which is 40% higher than average salaries for all job postings nationwide, according to Indeed.com, a major online jobs posting resource.‡
“Stay Hopeful and Optimistic”
“We live in a time when official government bashing has become the national pastime,” Dr. Kiltz said, “but I urge public administration students across the U.S. to stay hopeful and optimistic. As Americans, we are facing novel problems—economic instability, global climate change, civil rights issues, police brutality, and more. But the truth is, dedicated public administration professionals are needed now more than ever.”
Dr. Kiltz believes that traditional approaches to solving problems are just not working. She sees the need for “social entrepreneurs,” a type of professional who promotes innovation as public administrators. “Social entrepreneurs are committed to taking huge risks and working collaboratively to solve this onslaught of complex problems,” said Dr. Kiltz. “In this new culture of optimism, we can handle anything if we work together as one.”
Watch Dr. Kiltz on the provocative webinar, “Developing Social Entrepreneurs,” on the American Society of Public Administration website.
Explore Walden University’s online public policy administration degree programs for undergraduates and graduate students. Continue your education and advance your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.
*F. Newport, “Only a Third of the Oldest Baby Boomers in U.S. Still Working,” Gallup, 2015, on the Internet at www.gallup.com/poll/181292/third-oldest-baby-boomers-working.aspx.
†Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–2015 Edition, Administrative Services Managers, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm.
‡Indeed, “International Non Governmental Organization Salary,” December 3, 2015, on the Internet at www.indeed.com/salary/International-Non-Governmental-Organization.html.