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20 Hot Careers for MPA Graduates

Interested in making a difference in your community? Consider a Master's in Public Administration. A MPA can lead to a rewarding and well-paying career.

From protecting the environment to designing and building a Baja car, discover what engineering looks like at Central Michigan University. 


What is a Master of Public Administration degree?

A master's degree in public administration is a professional program for individuals interested in working for public or nonprofit organizations. This includes local, state and federal governments and fields like healthcare, education, arts and culture or environmental causes. In an MPA program, you will learn how to put government policies into action and experience their impact. It usually includes classes on public policy, management, leadership, ethics, economics, research methods, and more.

Job outlook for MPA graduates

The job outlook for MPA graduates is promising. As the need for skilled professionals to manage public programs and services grows, so does the job market for MPA graduates. For some roles the job growth projected 2022-2032 is as high as 28% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where can you work with a degree in public administration?

A Master's in Public Administration opens a wide range of career paths. MPA graduates can find employment in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and private corporations. If you value the environment or community development, there's probably an MPA career that matches your interests.

20 hot careers for MPA graduates

1. City manager

Estimated salary: $96,649
A city manager oversees the function of city operations. They make sure everything runs smoothly, from parks and libraries to police departments and city budgets.

Strong leadership, strategic planning, and excellent communication skills are vital for success in this role.

2. Grant writer

Estimated salary: $74,196

A grant writer helps non-profit, government or educational organizations secure funding through grant proposals. A grant writer might help a local museum apply for funds for a new wing. They could also assist a high school in qualifying for money for a new cafeteria.

This role requires strong writing skills and an attention to detail.

3. Urban planner

Estimated salary: $79,540

An urban planner creates policies which benefit the economy, environment, and social well-being of communities. An urban planner might analyze data to see if there are enough parks for everyone in a city. They could also work on projects like determining if wind turbines would disturb the production of local farms.

This role requires a good understanding of urban development, strong communication skills, and an ability to balance competing interests.

4. Policy analyst

Estimated salary: $63,855

A policy analyst's job is to do research, analyze data, and give important insights to help make policies. They might study a big problem like affordable housing. A policy analyst looks into it and suggest new ideas to help solve the problem.

Critical thinking and an ability to communicate complex information are necessary skills for the role.

5. Community development manager

Estimated salary: $79,955

A community development manager helps improve the social, economic, and environmental conditions of a community. They might work to fix up a neighborhood park by getting input from local residents and fundraise with local businesses.

This job requires skills in managing projects, an understanding of people, and care for the community.

6. Nonprofit executive director

Estimated salary: $86,190

A nonprofit executive director oversees operations, manages finances, and develops strategies for an organization to reach their goals. For example, they may focus on reaching out to donors and raising funds to expand the organization's services.

This position requires strong leadership abilities, strategic thinking, and a dedication to making a positive difference in society.

7. Government affairs director

Estimated salary: $109,016

A government affairs director manages local, state, and federal relationships that benefit the programs and policies of a company. They might work with lawmakers to create a bill that boosts funding for public health. The government affairs director would then highlight how the bill addresses health inequalities in their community.

This role requires excellent communication skills and an interest in the legislative process.

8. Compliance officer

Estimated salary: $91,600

A compliance officer makes sure that companies follow the laws and rules that apply to their industries. They may watch over employees to make sure they have safe work practices.

Paying close attention to details, solving problems, and understanding industry regulations are important for doing well in this job.

9. Public relations specialist

Estimated salary: $67,440

A public relations specialist assists organizations and individuals in maintaining a good public image. They write press releases, collaborate with local news and TV stations, and manage social media presence for their organization.

This job demands excellent writing skills, creativity, and the ability to build connections.

10. Program evaluator

Estimated salary: $62,569

A program evaluator assesses programs, policies, and practices to determine if they are achieving their intended outcomes. For example, they might analyze an after-school reading program to see if it helps improve students' reading scores.

This role requires strong problem-solving skills and attention to detail.

11. Fundraising manager

Estimated salary: $125,620

A fundraising manager plans events and runs campaigns to help organizations reach their fundraising goals. For example, they might organize a charity marathon to raise money and awareness for a cause.

People in this role need to be good at communication and networking. They also need to inspire and motivate others to support the organization's mission.

12. Emergency services director

Estimated salary: $79,180

An emergency services director is responsible for preparing and responding to natural disasters, emergencies, and crises. They organize drills, educate the public about safety measures, and respond quickly and efficiently in emergencies.

If you're a great leader, can handle pressure, and are a good communicator, this job could be right for you.

13. Public finance manager

Estimated salary: $97,720

A public finance manager oversees and manages funds for government agencies or nonprofit organizations. A public finance manager may review a plan to build a new public park to determine the long-term impact on the city's finances.

This job requires excellent financial management skills and attention to detail.

14. Health services manager

Estimated salary: $104,830

A health services manager runs healthcare facilities like hospitals, clinics, or nursing homes on a daily basis. For instance, they might supervise the scheduling and staffing of a hospital's emergency department.

This role requires strong leadership skills, passion for healthcare, and an understanding of healthcare systems.

15. Legislative analyst

Estimated salary: $54,935

A legislative analyst studies proposed laws, evaluates their potential impact, and advises government agencies or organizations. They might research a bill aimed at lowering housing costs in a city and it's potential effects. A legislative analyst would then provide that information to government officials and recommend a course of action.

This job calls for strong critical thinking skills, political awareness, and knowledge of the legislative process.

16. Program manager

Estimated salary: $147,779

A program manager is responsible for planning, executing, and assessing projects in an organization. For example, they might oversee a new health initiative to reduce childhood obesity. The program manager ensures the project stays within budget, meets deadlines, and achieves its objectives.

Strong project management skills, leadership qualities, and strategic thinking are crucial for succeeding in this position.

17. Human resources manager

Estimated salary: $130,000

A human resources manager is in charge of hiring, training, and supervising employees in a company. They might be responsible for recruiting new staff for a city department. A human resource manager ensures fair treatment of all applicants and selects the most qualified person for the job.

This job requires good people skills, knowledge of employment laws, and an understanding of how organizations work.

18. Communications director

Estimated salary: $183,571

A communications director promotes an organization's mission and goals to the public. They write press releases, manage social media, create memos, and oversee the company website.

This role requires strong leadership skills, creativity, and an ability to manage multiple projects.

19. Education administrator

Estimated salary: $63,462

An education administrator manages the daily operations of educational institutions, like schools or universities. They hire and train teachers, schedule classes, and communicate with parents and the community.

This position needs strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.

20. Nonprofit program coordinator

Estimated salary: $66,956

A program coordinator assists with planning, carrying out, and assessing programs and projects in a nonprofit organization. For instance, they might create a food distribution program in a community facing food insecurity. They would organize the collection, packing, and distribution of food items and help oversee volunteers.

This position requires excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well with others.

Central Michigan University's Master of Public Administration

An MPA degree offers a gateway to fulfilling careers in public service. If you're interested in the field, consider pursuing a Master of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

The MPA program at CMU covers public administration, policy, budgeting, financial management, and personnel management. The program teaches students about public and nonprofit sectors, so they can make a difference in public service jobs.

For more information about the MPA program at Central Michigan University, visit the program webpage.

Blog: All Things Higher Ed posted | Last Modified: | Author: by University Communications | Categories: University Communications
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