Exploring three Public Administration career areas

March 21, 2017

An advanced degree in public administration can prepare you for a wide range of careers in government service and nonprofit management.

Here’s a look at three potential career areas for those with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree.

1. Public policy and governance

Professionals who are employed in the public policy and governance field will conduct research, work in government agencies, assess public policy initiatives, and develop policy. MPA graduates often pursue public policy leadership positions or are making a career change into the public policy sector.

Sought-after skills in this area include:

  • Knowledge of strategic management and planning processes.
  • Ability to analyze policy decisions and evaluate the efficiency of these programs.
  • In-depth understanding of how government sectors work together to achieve program goals.

Related job titles to explore include:

  • Program analyst or coordinator
  • Government affairs executive
  • Urban planner
  • Public service manager or director
  • City manager

2. Community management

Professionals who work in community management oversee public administrative resources and ensure community agencies are working together toward common goals. In this field, professionals establish collaborative networks, promote ethical performance standards, and craft solutions to public protection, policy, and governance challenges.

Sought-after skills in this area include:

  • Ability to manage administrative resources effectively.
  • Understanding of how to develop solutions based on sound economic analysis and citizen involvement.
  • Experience implementing equitable solutions for diverse populations.

Related job titles to explore include:

  • Economic development manager
  • Fundraising and development manager
  • Government relations manager
  • Parks and recreation manager

3. Nonprofit management and leadership

Professionals in areas of nonprofit management and leadership must be able to think critically about the complex challenges associated with today’s nonprofit world. They are expected to provide organizational leadership and be adept at fundraising and data analysis to move the nonprofit forward.

Sought-after skills in this area include:

  • Understanding of roles and responsibilities of nonprofit board of directors.
  • Ability to analyze ethical and legal implications of data use, collection, evaluation, and integration.
  • Knowledge to apply strategic methods and techniques to areas of philanthropic support, fundraising, grant writing, and grant management.

Related job titles to explore include:

  • Nonprofit or program manager
  • Executive director
  • Social and community service manager
  • Director of community engagement
  • Fundraising or volunteer coordinator

Learn more about Capella University’s online Master of Public Administration.

These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

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