Career Development

5 Fascinating Jobs You Can Do With a Public Administration Degree

An MPA prepares you for a career in the public or private sector. You could work for the state, local, or federal government, either as a civil servant or an elected official. You could work in the corporate sphere, the health care industry, academia, nonprofits, or non-governmental organizations. Whether you want to work domestically or abroad, an MPA can open doors for you. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting jobs you can do with a Master’s in Public Administration.

1. United Nations Public Administration

If you want to use your MPA degree to work abroad, consider taking a position with the United Nations. The UN has a great need for candidates who hold MPAs, to fill vacancies like procurement officer, humanitarian affairs officer, program director, project manager, and government relations state advocacy officer. The United Nations Public Administration Network works with institutions of all sizes around the world to promote more capable and efficient public administration. You can work with one of many divisions designed to support international policy research, share information between national governments, guide transitioning countries, or promote intergovernmental cooperation.

2. Elected Official

There are plenty of civil service jobs available for MPA holders, but some are attracted to the glamour and prestige of elected office. You don’t have to run for president in order to have a successful career as an elected official. On the local level, you might run for city council or mayor, or you might instead decide to run for an elected office on the state level, such as for a seat in your state legislature. Once you earn your MPA degree, you’ll have the necessary background in public policy and administration to not just win your election, but make your term in office really count for your constituents.

3. Urban Planner

As an urban planner, you’ll consider the needs of your community and put your knowledge of public administration to use determining how to best allocate city lands and resources to meet those needs. You will most likely work for your local government, as 64 percent of urban planners do. Alternatively, you could work for a nonprofit, a state or federal government, or a consulting firm. Your job will include coordinating plans with local officials and organizations, researching the economic and environmental impact of your plans, and staying current on building and environmental regulations.

4. Parks and Recreation Management

A parks and recreation manager works with local officials to oversee recreational activities and park facilities in his or her community. If you’re earning an MPA and you love the outdoors, this job is for you, since you’ll have to oversee the landscaping of local park facilities as well as maintenance for local parks and recreation equipment. You’ll also need to handle staffing and scheduling of day camps, national holiday celebrations, sports leagues, and other local recreational activities that might take place in your parks, as well as creating and administering recreational activities for community members of all ages.

5. Management Consultant

Management consultants work in both the private and public sectors, providing professional policy advice on issues ranging from health care to technology, education, and environmental policy. As a management consultant, you’ll perform research, analyze problems, and help corporate or governmental institutions and organizations come up with solutions. Many management consultants, especially those in the private sector, work on-site, though office work is a necessary part of the job, too. You’ll most likely specialize in a specific area that interests you, such as health care or environmental policy. Whether you work in the private or public sector, organizations will call on you when they need the advice of someone with your combination of expertise and background.

You might be surprised at the wide range of career options available once you earn a Master’s of Public Administration. MPA holders can work at home or abroad, for government institutions, private corporations, or nonprofits. Nearly every institution or organization needs the skills and expertise of someone who has earned an MPA, and salaries range as high as $148,000 or more. So if you’re thinking about getting your MPA, don’t wait a moment longer — get out there and explore some of the many opportunities available to MPA holders.

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