The Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is often called the MBA of the public sector. This is considered one of the top degrees to earn for professionals who work in the public sector. The MPA degree is focused on helping students become knowledgeable and effective public sector leaders with advanced management and communication skills who can properly manage policy development in all types of public sector organizations.
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One of the best things about the MPA degree is its versatility in the working world. Below are 11 things that you can do with an MPA degree.
#1 Administrative Services Manager
Administrative services managers are responsible for the planning, directing and coordination of supportive services of an organization. They are usually responsible for maintaining facilities and supervising activities in both public and private organizations, such as recordkeeping, mail distribution and general upkeep of the office.
Administrative services managers may be in charge of ensuring that the public or private organization has all the supplies and services that it needs. This manager may also be responsible for the coordination of space allocation also may need to take into account the morale of employees and the funds that are available to determine best ways to arrange the physical space of the office.
#2 Urban and Regional Planner
An urban and regional planner is responsible for developing land use plans and programs that create strong communities, deal with population growth and provide revitalization of facilities in towns, cities and counties. Urban and regional planners are responsible for identifying community needs and they then develop short and long term solutions to improve and revitalize communities and areas.
As the community grows and changes, planners assist the community to effectively manage social, economic and environmental issues, including the planning of new parks providing shelters for the homeless and making the area more attractive for businesses.
#3 Local Government Manager
There are many popular career paths for MPAs at the local government level such as city director; urban planning and development director; local transportation board; community health director; parks and recreation manager; board of directors for education; and police commissioner.
There is an almost endless number of programs that must be carefully implemented at the local level that professionals with an MPA are highly qualified to oversee. All local public agencies from transportation, education to community health must have a good manager who can provide oversight and supervision of the program, organize program workers and who really grasp the effects these programs have on the local community.
#4 Political Scientist
Political scientists are responsible for studying the origin, development and operation of many types of political systems. They are responsible for researching political ideas and analyzing governments, political trends, policies and other related issues. Political scientists usually do their research in national politics, comparative politics, international relations or political theory.
Political scientists need to be skilled in qualitative methods in the research they do, as they collect information from various public and private sources. For instance, they may use documents from past history to analyze government structures and policies in decades past. They must rely on quantitative methods to develop and research political theories. For instance, they may perform analysis of voter registration data to identify any voting patterns. Political scientists may study a wide range of political subjects including political parties, how political parties differ in other countries, globalization and political thought history.
#5 State and Federal Manager
All state and federal governments need expert public officials with the skills offered by an MPA to implement, manage and supervise programs of all types. Some of the common types of career paths at the state and federal government levels include:
- Working for the FBI or CIA
- Various cabinet level positions
- Director of a public agency at the federal or state level
- Employee in the United Nations
- Working in management at the FDA, NIH or a public health office at the state or local level
Career paths in the federal and state governments are similar to those that are available in the local government. The major difference is jobs at the state and federal levels require close supervision of programs that are much bigger than those of local programs.
#6 Public Housing Manager
The professional with an MPA degree can provide oversight of public housing that includes its entire operations at the local or state levels, or a specific housing facility at the local level. As a public housing manager, you will be responsible for renting apartments, ensuring utilities are paid on time, and making sure local and federal regulations are closely followed. You also may need to supervise a staff of maintenance and administrative people to provide you with the required paperwork to document proper compliance with local regulations.
#7 Local Government Manager or Administrator
There are many departments in the local, state and federal governments that need to have skilled, accomplished public administrators to help them to operate with a high level of efficiency. As a government manager or administrator, you could be focused on public entity staff supervision, organizing meetings focused on budgets and finance for a public health office, supervising the budgetary process for a state agency, or supervising communications between various levels of government administration at the local level.
#8 Budget Director
Many state, local and government agencies and nonprofit organizations must have effective and skilled budget directors. In a time of reducing federal and state budgets funded by taxpayers, there is only so much money to go around. The money that is available must be spent and given to agencies carefully at various government levels. Budget directors may need to use various types of statistical analysis to determine the best ways to save money, or when you need to make reductions in staff or budget to meet budgetary needs.
A fundraiser is responsible for the oversight of campaigns and other public sector or nonprofit sector events that are designed to bring donations for their organization. Many public sector organizations that hire fundraisers are heavily reliant on donations they collect to run the organization. Fundraising managers typically decided the different fundraising techniques they will use for a certain situation. Some of the common ways they raise money are annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, and conducting solicitations for major gifts.
#10 Financial Manager
Financial managers are in charge of the overall financial health of a public or nonprofit organization. They are responsible for the production of financial reports, directing of investment activities and the developing of strategies and plans for the long term financial goals of the organization.
The role of the manager in finance has changed a good deal in both private and public sector organizations in recent years because of advances in technology. It no longer takes as long to produce financial reports. The major responsibility of financial managers today is to perform more data analysis and to provide advice to senior public sector managers on how to save money and become more efficient.
#11 Budget Analyst
A budget analyst helps public sector organizations to better organize their finances. They are responsible for planning annual and special reports and evaluating budget proposals. Also, they perform analysis of data to determine costs and benefits of different public sector programs. They also recommend proper levels of funding based upon their research findings. Government officials will usually make the final decisions about the budget of an organization, they will rely upon budget analysts to prepare information to make these important financial decisions.
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- Financial Managers. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-2
- Budget Analyst. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/budget-analysts.htm#tab-2