The Master of Public Administration degree is advanced training for individuals who want to build careers working in the administration departments of local, state and federal government organizations. Typically Master of Public Administration graduates find jobs in areas like financial management, government personnel and human resources, administrative law, legislative assistance, professional ethics and other public policy implementation positions.The skills learned in MPA courses can also be successfully used to follow career paths in non-government sectors such as non-profit organizations.
The main focus of MPA training is to develop students’ management and organizational skills with an emphasis on studying and applying the policies and principles that are needed to administer public needs. Other key skill areas that are studied include working with legislators to develop and implement public policies, organizing the budget processes of public organizations and nonprofit agencies, understanding administrative law and the principles of sound financial management, and ethics and cultural sensitivity as they relate to practice of public policy.
Since the Master of Public Administration is an advanced degree, anyone wishing to pursue this training must have at least a bachelor’s degree. While there is no specific undergraduate degree that is a prerequisite for pursuing an MPA, many applicants have taken some undergraduate business courses, especially in economics. Sociology and liberal arts are other undergraduate options that develop a sound foundation for MPA training. Regardless of what field the bachelor’s degree is in, however, it is important that the student have maintained a respectable grade point average. The competition for spaces in MPA graduate programs can be quite intense, so a good undergraduate record is always a plus.
While the admission requirements are slightly different for every MPA program, in general most will require that the prospective student submit at least 2 letters of recommendation with their application. Usually it is also necessary to complete an examination such as the GRE, LSAT and GMAT. In some cases the examination requirement may be waived if the MPA applicant has received their bachelor’s degree within the past few years and has also gained related work experience. However, it is always best to consult with the Admissions Office of the university where you wish to pursue your MPA to determine the specific rules and guidelines that you must follow in order to successfully apply to their program.
Master of Public Administration Training
Most students are able to complete the requirements for a Master of Public Administration degree in 2 years, though additional time may be needed for the completion of a thesis, if one is required. In some cases certain courses can be completed online, allowing the student to work at least part-time while pursuing his degree. While there is some variation in the course load depending on the university the student is attending, in general the MPA degree requires a broad, interdisciplinary training including courses in management, finance, economics, law, criminal justice, anthropology and sociology.
Specific courses will include things like management analysis, legal basis of public administration, economics of public management, quantitative methods for public managers, quantitative methods for policy analysis, public management, project management, facilitation and team development, human capital assets, leadership in the changing workplace, financing government services, budgeting and public management, and policy analysis and management.
And in many cases, students can take additional classes in specific topics that are of particular interest to them, such as emergency management, urban planning, information technology, cultural and environmental policy management, justice, community development, non-profit management, international management, business management, state and local administration, foreign policy analysis, and applied politics. In some cases, an internship is also required as part of the MPA degree training.
Graduates of Master of Public Administration degree program have a wide variety of jobs available to them thanks to their broad-based training, both in the US and around the globe as well. Certainly a career in government is one of the most popular options for graduates with an MPA degree, and builds on their ability to work in groups, communicating effectively with team members in a collaborative effort.
It is very common for graduates with an Master of Public Administration degree to work in government agencies at all levels from local to federal in an administrative capacity to implement public policies as city managers, financial managers, research analysts, policy experts, and development directors, as well as overseeing human resources, public affairs, and public relations departments. In these positions they ensure thаt thе government’s policies аrе administered, whіlе assessing іf thе ongoing government projects аrе effective. Majoring іn public administration аnd a pursuing a government career саn bе therefore be extremely rewarding bесаuѕе it enables you to shape thе future, but thіѕ career path саn аlѕо bе vеrу challenging due to political changes and financial uncertainties.
Graduates with a Master of Public Administration degree can get jobs overseas as well. There are various opportunities around the world for the MPA degree-holders, including international finance, business analysts, diplomacy, international economic policy, and politics. There is no question that today we live in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world whose global economy is changing everyday, and MPA graduates who choose an international focus for their studies may someday be a part of the administration teams formulating those changes.
And Master of Public Administration job opportunities are also available in the public health field as well. Health services managers ensure that proper standards are observed in medical care offered at hospitals and clinics, while public health inspectors monitor food preparation and service to ensure that sanitary rules and protocols are followed in order to keep the public safe.
Finally, the nonprofit sector is becoming increasingly attractive to graduates with a Master of Public Administration degree. MPA degree-holders who wish to pursue a career in this area should be sure to focus on courses concerning the political and legal issues of such organizations as part of their training. Today nonprofit organizations face many challenges. In general, nonprofits are strongly affected by changes in government policies because these policies directly determine the availability of government funding for their programs. MPA graduates can work with government officials at all levels to advocate for the continued support of nonprofit agencies. Another key responsibility of MPA graduates who work in the nonprofit sector is identifying appropriate governmental and other funding sources necessary for the continued success of nonprofit organizations and the members of the public that depend on them.
Finding a Job in Public Administration
Of course, even though having an MPA degree does offer many career choices for graduates, sometimes finding the right job can still be a challenge. In most cases, your university will have career counselors available to help students and graduates with job searches. These counselors may also conduct workshops and training sessions on resume writing, employment skills, interview techniques and other personal development areas to help graduates get an edge when they are applying for jobs.
Also, many universities have departmental job boards to provide students with relevant job listings and openings in the immediate area or elsewhere. And there are also a number of online websites that are focused on helping MPA students and graduates with job searches, such as PublicServiceCareers.org. Trade groups and organizations like The American Society for Public Administration can also help MPA students with job searches, in addition to allowing them to network with others working in their field.
And the LinkedIn social network has targeted groups for almost every career, including Public Administration. Not only do these groups offer MPA students and graduates the opportunity to connect with professionals in the field of public administration, but most of these LinkedIn groups also have their own dedicated jobs listings as well, which can be a great source of leads for MPA graduates at every stage of their career.