Do You Need an MPA to Get Into Public Service?

public-serviceIf it is possible to work your way from the bottom up, why should you get a Master’s in Public Administration, or MPA? Is a bachelor’s degree enough to get yourself in the door in a public organization?

It is true that a bachelor’s degree may be able to get you into the ground floor in public and nonprofit organizations, but if your career goals are higher than a mid level position, you may find a bachelor’s degree as too limiting.

In our view, drive and ambition will only get you so far in a public administration career. If you want to rise higher in most public organizations, you are going to need an MPA to provide yourself with more career options.

In most public administration programs, you are going to learn a lot about writing grants, PR, mediation, leadership, research, writing policy and making budgets. You are going to take a lot of classes that train you to find many practical solutions for modern problems in the public sector in areas that include sustainable living, climate change and health care reform.

After you earn your master’s degree, you will have the skills that you need to manage public and private organizations and to work in higher levels of government. With only your bachelor’s degree, you will be able to work in lower level management only.

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If you want to lead a public or nonprofit organization, manage complex projects or engage in high level consulting work, you will need to have your MPA. With your MPA, you can move into many high level positions, such as:

  • Project director

  • Senior research manager

  • Deputy director

  • County commissioner

  • Director of health services

  • Senior research manager

One of the really good positions that you can move into with your MPA is that of government policy analyst. You will be able to research social, political, religious and financial issues, and then to make recommendations to government organizations on how to improve such issues via regulation, legislation and process controls. For lower level government employees with an MPA, expect a MPA salary of about $61,000, but with enough experience, higher level workers with an MPA can earn up to $145,000 per year.

SEE ALSO: 10 Highest Paying Careers & Jobs in Public Service Sector

Another good position for a professional with an MPA is the area of grantmaking and fundraising. People in this field are usually involved with a certain segment of the population, including health related research, prevention of diseases, various cultural programs, education of certain areas of the population and scientific discoveries. With an MPA and not working as a supervisor, you will earn around $51,000 per year. If you are an upper level manager in this field with an MPA, you can earn up to $95,000 per year.

Also worth your consideration with your MPA is to become a city manager. This is the chief administrative official for a city. He or she will control the daily operation of many city departments, and oversee the hiring and firing of workers in a city or municipality. Most city managers are hired, not elected, and having an MPA will go a long way towards making you a strong candidate. The good news is that with an MPA, you can earn up to $95,000 per year.

Whatever MPA career path you choose, remember that you always will be able to move higher up the management ladder with an MPA. You will  be able to enter the field with your bachelor’s degree, but you will nearly always be able to go much further up the career ladder with your MPA.