Public Administration Jobs for MPA Graduates

The Master of Public Administration provides a strategic advantage to its earners. MPA degrees can qualify and prepare students for a wide array of career paths that span industries and responsibilities. This versatile public service degree can be applied in a host of jobs. This article will touch on three top-level industry categories (education, healthcare, and government) but is by no means an exhaustive list. Let the various positions listed below inspire further exploration to see how an MPA can facilitate public service careers.

How an MPA Prepares Students

Earning an MPA degree ensures training in a variety of high-level skills. MPA graduates learn decision-making techniques, strategic planning, and top-level management skills. They are also introduced to other subjects including finance management, budgets, human resources, technological resources, and other skills and concepts necessary for managing organizations. This exposure equips an MPA graduate with a comprehensive understanding of a variety of different operations within one organization and in interactions with others, both local and global.

Career Options for MPA Holders

The following are a few of the many job opportunities open to MPA holders. This list is divided into three categories: education, healthcare, and government. Bear in mind that each of these position types may overlap with other categories, as well as within many other industries. The statistics included below were obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unless otherwise indicated.

Education Jobs

Positions within educational institutions offer many valuable benefits. Those working in post-secondary environments are privy to the amenities of a college or university campus — libraries, sporting events, lectures, music and arts, and more. Some positions are based on academic years, with summers off for supplementary activities or family life. Educational professionals also play an integral role in shaping the future generations of citizens and leaders.

  • Postsecondary Education Administrator
    • Responsibilities: According to the BLS, responsibilities might include the following: “Plan, direct, or coordinate research, instructional, student administration and services, and other educational activities.”
    • Salary: Median annual wage is estimated at $90,760.
    • Growth: This occupation will grow by an estimated 10% between 2016-2026.
    • Work environment: Public and private secondary educational institutions.
  • Education Association Department Director
    • Responsibilities: A director within an education association might manage any number of activities required by an education association. A government education association or department of education may concentrate on assisting schools meet state or Federal regulations. A nonprofit education association may facilitate fundraising or awareness to support education endeavors. The Education Association Director may oversee public relations, advancement, human resources, strategic planning, or any number of other necessary elements of the association’s operations.
    • Salary: Annual median wage as reported by the BLS is $64,680.
    • Growth: This occupation will grow by an estimated 16% between 2016-2026.
    • Work environment: Government or nonprofit organizations that oversee education associations.
  • Community College Instructor
    • Responsibilities: Community college instructors are responsible for imparting material on which they are qualified to teach to college-aged students. They may hold adjunct faculty positions in addition to other jobs or work as a full-time professor. Instructors should be prepared to spend time outside the classroom preparing material, grading student work, and being available to any students who might need extra help. Some community college instructors also spend time in research or writing for professional publications.
    • Salary: Median annual wage is estimated at $75,430.
    • Growth: This occupation will grow by an estimated 15% between 2016-2026.
    • Work environment: Public and private community college institutions.

Healthcare Jobs

Managerial positions within healthcare help facilitate crucial and often lifesaving enterprises. Being a part of the healthcare system could require a deeper understanding of current legislative and insurance practices.

  • Medical or Health Services Manager
    • Responsibilities: Health services managers facilitate the provision of health services through the means of planning and coordination. Responsibilities and management scope can vary widely, from a department within a hospital to an entire clinic or healthcare organization.
    • Salary: Median annual wage of $96,540.
    • Growth: An expected 20% between 2016 and 2026.
    • Work environment: Could range widely from hospital settings to outpatient clinics and private practices.
  • Medical Human Resources Manager
    • Responsibilities: Medical human resource (HR) managers manage staffing and human resource responsibilities in a medical institution setting.
    • Salary: Annual median wage of $106,910.
    • Growth: An anticipated 9% between 2016 and 2026.
    • Work environment: Medical HR managers often work in hospital settings.
  • Medical Financial Manager
    • Responsibilities: Medical financial managers oversee the financial health, planning, and sustainability of a medical institution.
    • Salary: Average median wage of $121,750.
    • Growth: An estimated 19% between 2016 and 2026.
    • Work environment: Medical service centers ranging from hospitals to clinic settings.

Local Government Jobs

  • Social Service Manager
    • Responsibilities: Social service managers facilitate any of a wide range of services provided to the public. These could include those offered by nonprofits, government organizations, or community centers.
    • Salary: Median annual wage of $64,680.
    • Growth: Expected 16% between 2016 and 2026.
    • Work environment: Could range from office settings to clinics, community buildings, health centers, or hospitals.
  • Administrative Service Manager
    • Responsibilities: An administrative service manager oversees the administrative duties required by an organization. This may include supply ordering, facility maintenance, recordkeeping, and more.
    • Salary: Annual median wage of $90,050.
    • Growth: An expected 10% between 2016 and 2026.
    • Work environment: Environment could range from small office setting to a giant multi-site facility.
  • Urban and Regional Planner
    • Responsibilities: Urban and regional planners are responsible for planning land use to accommodate population growth, improve infrastructure, better utilize resources, enhance community, or achieve similar positive outcomes. Urban planners often work for government or community development organizations.
    • Salary: Average median wage of $70,020.
    • Growth: 13% between 2016 and 2026.
    • Work environment: Often in the midst of a government office. An urban or regional planner would most likely work normal business hours.

This is far from a comprehensive list of career opportunities. However, these ideas provide a sampling to help guide further research. MPA degrees offer a wealth of career opportunities.

Learn More

By learning more about the University of San Francisco Online Master of Public Administration (MPA), you take an important first step toward pursuing your professional goals and commitment to social justice. Our program is designed for professionals who want to become effective managers and civic leaders who affect change through policy management and advocacy.

Recommended Readings

Millennials’ Participation in Public Affairs

What Does “Public Interest” Mean for Public Administration Majors?

The Impact of Emerging Technology on Management and Public Administration


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