A Master of Public Administration (MPA) prepares individuals to efficiently manage public or non-profit organizations and develop policies.

Coursework is specialized, allowing you to concentrate on specific areas, such as community development, public health, or transportation.

Here’s a look at five fast-growing careers in public administration.


1. Economic Development Director

An economic development director oversees programs that promote growth and development of the industries at the heart of a city, county, state, or federal government. These professionals are charged with implementing community development plans and expanding business and investment opportunities, typically for a city or municipality.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Creating economic development proposals.
  • Organizing and directing plans once they are implemented.
  • Serving as a liaison between elected officials and local business interests.
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with other government entities.
  • Responding to local citizens’ inquiries about economic development activities.


2. Parks and Recreation Manager

At the local level, a parks and recreation manager oversees the budget, resources, and staff of city parks, community centers, and playgrounds. Direction includes program development, equipment maintenance, landscaping upkeep, and safety regulations.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Creating and establishing programs and activities targeted for a specific population or community.
  • Supervising, training, and hiring staff members.
  • Ensuring that current and future operations can be completed within the budget.
  • Building a relationship with the community and promoting activities and events.
  • Overseeing maintenance and service concerns.


3. Public Affairs Director

Public affairs directors help government, non-government organizations, and nonprofits protect and strengthen their public image. They are typically responsible for the development and implementation of a company’s communications strategy and objectives, including media relations, directing outreach programs, and fundraising.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with clients, partners, and media.
  • Developing and implementing public relations activities.
  • Writing speeches and arranging interviews.
  • Evaluating marketing and promotions programs.
  • Managing events that increase contact between organizations and the public.


4. Nonprofit Executive Director

A nonprofit executive director is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the organization according to the strategic direction set by the board of directors. They are often expected to act as the spokesperson for the organization, and facilitate communication and cooperation between the board of directors and staff. This person also oversees day-to-day operation of the organization.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Representing the organization at community activities to enhance the organization’s reputation.
  • Developing a vision and strategic plan to guide the organization, in conjunction with the board of directors.
  • Determining staffing requirements and hiring responsibilities.
  • Working with staff and the board to prepare a comprehensive budget.


5. City Manager

A city manager oversees the operations of a municipality. This may include determining the budget or managing the non-elected staff members who work for various departments within the region. City managers are in a public role that interacts with the media, government agencies, and the general public.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the city.
  • Meeting with the heads of departments and ensuring they are following policies and laws.
  • Budgeting and personnel management.



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

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program.