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Is a Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degree Worth It?

In today’s global environment, the answer is definitely “yes.” Learn why the job market for graduates of online MPA programs has never been better.

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 or 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.

Is a Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degree Worth It?

Public Sector Career Opportunities for MPA Graduates

The job market for public administrators is growing across a wide variety of government agencies, from emergency management to health and social services.1 Students entering an online MPA program can enroll in the general MPA degree program or, at some universities, choose a specialization that aligns with their personal and career goals.

In addition to its general program, Walden University offers six specializations: Emergency Management, Law and Public Policy, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and Diversity and Social Justice.

If your passion is serving in the public sector, an MPA can prepare you to lead in roles that include:

  • City manager
  • Government relations officer
  • Budget manager
  • Department head 
  • Public health administrator
  • Operations manager
  • Management analyst
  • Human services agency manager 

Nongovernment Career Opportunities for MPA Graduates

Many graduates of online MPA degree programs choose careers in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofit organizations. Because they operate independently of government organizations, NGOs and nonprofits often can be more innovative and flexible in their range and choice of policies and programs.2

“NGO activities include, but are not limited to, environmental, social, advocacy, and human rights work. They can work to promote social or political change on a broad scale or very locally. NGOs play a critical part in developing society, improving communities, and promoting citizen participation,” according to GrantSpace, a learning community for the social sector.2

Nonprofit organizations face their own unique challenges including funding programs, recruiting and retaining volunteers, analyzing public policy, and lobbying for legislative reforms. If you’re considering a career in the nonprofit sector, you might opt to pursue an online MPA degree with a specialization in nonprofit management and leadership. In Walden’s program, you’ll explore best practices for navigating budget and finance issues, cultivating stakeholder relationships, and developing strategic plans that foster collaboration across sectors.

Job Market for Public Administrators

Those with a Master of Public Administration degree earn an average of $68,382 a year, though there are ranges depending on the position.3 For example, the average annual salary of a Government Program manager is $90,943 but can range from $52,000 to $145,000.4

With an MPA degree, you can advance your career amid the growing need for public administration leaders. And whether you choose to make your mark in the public sector, or in nonprofits or NGOs, you’ll have the ultimate satisfaction—and reap the rewards—of working for the public good.

Explore Walden University’s online public policy and administration degree programs for undergraduates and graduate students. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.