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What Can You Do With A Master’s In Public Administration? 

Students who pursue a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree want to create positive change in their communities. An MPA prepares students to become effective leaders at government, public service and nonprofit organizations. 

Public service jobs are in demand not only because they provide rewarding opportunities to impact lives, but also because they represent diverse responsibilities in growing sectors. Government and nonprofit jobs currently account for an astonishing 25% of total U.S. employment. According to labor market firm EMSI, demand for public administration jobs is expected to rise by 7% from 2021 to 2031.

For those looking to start or advance their career in the public or nonprofit sectors, an MPA degree can lead to a broad range of opportunities to choose from based on your interests. Let’s look at popular careers best suited for MPA graduates.

What Does An MPA Prepare You For?

An MPA degree is considered a top credential in the public and nonprofit sectors. Coursework focuses on elements of public policy, business management and finance. MPA programs are designed to provide the research, analytical and problem-solving skills leaders need to manage mission-oriented organizations and address pressing social issues. 

An MPA prepares you to confidently lead in a variety of roles across three distinct career paths.


Many people pursue an MPA degree because they’re interested in politics or want to work in positions in local, state or federal government. Roles in this sector provide opportunities to work with government agencies and community organizations to implement, measure and improve public policy. If your goal is to serve the public or impact change on a broad level, an MPA degree is a strong qualification that will help you stand out as a candidate for high-level positions in all levels of government.


As an MPA graduate, your leadership skills and knowledge of how to be effective in the political process are valuable assets while helping a nonprofit organization grow. There are many types of careers in the nonprofit field, including public relations and fundraising management. MPA graduates are uniquely qualified to manage projects, write grants and oversee public budgets. Those who go into this sector will have many opportunities to advance a nonprofit’s goals while furthering a cause they’re personally passionate about. 

Private Sector

Many people compare an MPA to a Master of Business Administration (MBA) because they both promote expertise in managing people and budgets. However, an MPA degree specifically focuses on expertise in the public and nonprofit sectors. Since many private businesses work closely with public organizations such as government agencies or healthcare organizations, an MPA equips you with skills in areas such as government compliance and ethics that traditional business programs don’t emphasize. These skills directly apply to executive positions in business. 

Many programs emphasize one or two of these distinct career paths. Some programs, like Franklin University’s MPA, provide balanced coursework designed to equip students to lead and manage organizations in all three sectors. 


What matters most when choosing a master’s program? Compare features, benefits and cost to find the right school for you.


What Can I Do With An MPA Degree?

Public administrators work in a variety of mission-driven settings. Government agencies, nonprofits and private organizations all need qualified leaders to help them advance organizational goals.

Let’s look at eight of the top jobs that are an ideal fit for MPA degree graduates. 

  • Budget Analyst: Budget analysts help both public and private organizations maintain healthy and balanced budgets. As a budget analyst, you’ll work across departments to align goals and create efficient ways to distribute funds. In addition to managing budgets, analysts also evaluate the performance of government initiatives and help implement legislation for public budgets. 
  • Political Scientist or Analyst: If weighing the potential benefits and disadvantages of public policy sounds interesting, a policy analyst job may be particularly rewarding. As a policy analyst, you could work for government agencies, public officials, think tanks and lobbyists to shape public policy. Organizations need creative thinkers who can collaborate with advocacy groups and build strategies that address important community needs. 
  • Public Administration Consultant: Economic policies and regulations are always changing. Consultants are experts in public policy who help businesses navigate local, state and federal laws. Consultants can even advocate for policy change. Consulting is an ideal role for those who enjoy the freedom of working across multiple industries and project phases. 
  • Health Services Manager: Healthcare services managers play an important role in helping residents receive access to the care they need. These professionals are responsible for managing teams and navigating changing healthcare regulations at many types of organizations, including medical facilities, public health departments and nursing homes. Many health services managers have the opportunity to represent their facilities in front of governing boards.  
  • Fundraising Manager: Fundraising managers focus on creating fundraising strategies and applying for grants, generally on behalf of nonprofit organizations. They also spend much of their time meeting with potential donors to advocate for an organization’s mission and build relationships, making it an ideal position for someone who is a natural networker. 
  • Compliance Manager: Compliance managers are responsible for ensuring that organizations are following government guidelines and recommendations. Businesses and government agencies alike need knowledgeable leaders who can work closely with management and staff to identify and manage regulatory risk. These professionals must have strong communication skills and a commitment to ethical practices.
  • Urban and Regional Planners: Overseeing the land use for communities, urban and regional planners evaluate local needs to create thriving places where people want to work and live. The job includes collaborating closely with government staff, developers and community leaders to forecast economic and population growth in order to determine the best use of a community’s public spaces. Some planners choose to specialize in areas such as transportation, historic preservation or urban design. 
  • Social or Community Services Managers: These professionals oversee and improve social service programs. Unlike social workers, who work directly with clients, social and community service managers work with organizations to manage community programs, often focusing on particular issues such as unemployment or homelessness. An ideal candidate for this position is someone who is able to apply both empathy and rigorous quantitative techniques to measure the effectiveness of a program.

Find the Right MPA Program To Reach Your Career Goals

Professionals in public administration have tremendous power to advocate for their community and advance the common good. As the field grows more complex, finding the right MPA program tailored to your interests is key to helping you reach your career goals.

Franklin University's Master of Public Administration will prepare you to advance to a top leadership role in public service. While some programs equip students for an academic career path, Franklin’s program is designed to equip practitioners to lead and manage organizations. Franklin’s MPA provides real-world experience and insights that can be applied to any sector. 

See how Franklin’s Master of Public Administration can take your career to new heights. 

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