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Potential Career Paths for Professionals with a Master in Public Administration

By Bisk
Career Paths for Professionals with a Master in Public Administration

Recent graduates with a public administration degree have a variety of career paths available to them. Depending upon personal interests and individual aspirations, professionals who hold an MPA degree can choose to work in a variety of fields in both public and private organizations. In addition, for career changers who have significant experience in a particular discipline, advanced studies in public administration can provide the skills needed to bridge into a new leadership role.

Leadership skills taught through MPA degree courses can be augmented through internships and career mentoring. Some of the most popular fields for recent MPA graduates include the following.


Professionals with specific training and experience in government and politics may find jobs as a city manager, cabinet member or county executive particularly rewarding. In addition to securing knowledge related to budgets, infrastructure and politics, leaders in this area also need to exhibit a comprehensive set of soft skills. Working effectively with community groups is an essential part of public administration work in governmental settings. Strong written and oral communication skills are also highly valued in this area.

Most professionals who choose to work with governmental entities have already achieved a high level of proficiency in a specialty area. For younger students interested in this career path, networking through a professional organization and volunteering can be a great way to explore a potential niche in government.


Professionals with a Masters degree of Public Administration who work in healthcare generally play a direct role in creating policy and influencing regulations related to the many facets of today’s complex healthcare system. Many professionals who seek an MPA degree with an emphasis in healthcare also have a strong background in a healthcare field, such as nursing.

Pursuing a passion for making healthcare policy more effective for patients and their families is what drives many of the professionals that end up working in this important area. Lobby groups, non-profits and governmental agencies are among potential employers for those interested in applying their MPA degree to a healthcare setting. While some find positions as healthcare administrators, others seek policy or advocacy jobs.


Non-profit Executive Directors and Financial Managers are among top job titles for MPA graduates who work in the non-profit sector. In a current job market climate where many baby boomers are seeking to follow a passion in a second career, securing a Master’s in Public Administration can maximize leadership expertise and can bolster one’s sphere of influence.

Large and small non-profits need leaders that understand the interrelationship between finance, development and community involvement. Working in a non-profit is great way to influence change and at the same time utilize a powerful skill set within a dynamic professional environment.


Some professionals are just born teachers. Learning with others and influencing creative problem-solving among students can be an inspirational way to spend a career. For those with advanced knowledge of the field, becoming a professor or instructor in a public administration program can be highly rewarding.

Many governmental agencies and non-profits hire consultants to provide professional development in specialty areas. Other potential employers include colleges and universities. In addition to direct teaching responsibilities, many professionals contribute to the field by engaging in policy work or participating in think-tank groups.

A Master’s degree in Public Administration can offer many versatile career paths. Depending upon a professional’s area of specialty or particular passions, many personally and professionally rewarding choices are available. Being active in a professional organization can help narrow down interest areas and can also promote career mentoring. At the same time, engaging in online learning can help connect professionals with a dynamic learning community. Taught by leaders in their fields, online courses offer flexibility and exposure to many leadership development opportunities.

Category: Public Administration