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Public administration is an interdisciplinary academic field focused on the development, implementation, and evaluation of government policies and programs. Students who earn a master of public administration (MPA) degree typically find positions in municipal, state or federal government offices, or in private companies and nonprofit organizations. Common jobs for MPA-holders include work as city planners, budget directors, and human resources managers. A 2014 survey by Poets & Quants found that public administration is the fourth most popular master’s degree in the United States behind business, education, and health professions; approximately 5.5% of graduating graduate students earned an MPA degree during the 2012-13 academic year.

In recent years, online MPA programs have become a popular alternative to traditional degrees. Web-based learning is especially convenient for students who are forced to balance their schoolwork with other commitments, such as employment or childcare. The curriculum in most online MPA programs draws from a range of subjects, including economics, political science, communications, sociology, and anthropology. Many MPA degrees culminate in a thesis or capstone project designed to showcase the knowledge and skills students have gained during their master’s program. Others require students to complete supervised internships, where they receive hands-on training from established professionals. Professors and other faculty members work with students as they develop their thesis and capstone, or while they complete an internship.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

MPA students learn how to manage all aspects of an executive organization. Coursework covers key administrative areas like finance, budgeting, project management, policy, leadership, and ethics. Beyond mastering these concepts, students may choose to specialize in a disciplinary subfield, such as emergency management, health and human services, information technology, or nonprofit management. This well-rounded education provides graduates with a variety of potential of job options to pursue upon graduation.

WILL AN ONLINE MPA WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online MPA programs are designed with your convenience and flexibility in mind. Students can download course readings and lectures, submit assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their computer. Distance learners study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any other device with Wi-Fi accessibility. Students can also schedule virtual consultations with academic advisors about strategies for completing their capstone project or locating internship opportunities close to home.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MPA?

The MPA is considered a terminal degree in the field of public administration, meaning that master’s graduates will likely be the most qualified candidates for most public administration jobs. MPA-holders will be eligible for most entry-level positions, as well as managerial titles and other roles normally reserved for candidates with a graduate degree. Students can further boost their career standing by earning a degree specialization or completing an internship related to their desired field.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MPA PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs and professional goals. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online MPA programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering obtaining an online master of public administration degree, be sure to take a look at these top schools.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 2/590.26%Chapel Hill, NC

campus_university_of_north_carolina_chapel_hill

The online Master of Public Administration program at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill delivers core curriculum courses in professional communication, financial and human resource management, organizational theory, data analysis and evaluation, among other varied electives designed to build public service leadership skills. To supplement the online coursework, the online MPA program at UNC School of Government requires students to complete a professional practicum at a local public agency or nonprofit.

Upon enrollment, students are given instructions on how to access their online classes via the Sakai LMS. In addition to the convenience of online coursework available to e-learners worldwide, students in UNC's online MPA program may participate in real-time video conferencing to join classes and access lectures from their home computer, laptop or mobile device. MPA candidates enjoy small class sizes and are encouraged to interact and collaborate with peers via online chats and social forums.

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2

Johns Hopkins University

 5/593.08%Baltimore, MD

campus_Johns_Hopkins_University

Johns Hopkins University currently offers a partially online Master of Arts in Public Management; this program will be available 100% online as of Summer 2015. The degree program comprises 12 courses in policy analysis and evaluation, financial management, public policy and administration, among other topics, and requires a capstone course demonstrating practical, real-world skills learned throughout the course to complete the degree. Graduates are prepared for jobs across government, private and nonprofit sectors.

Online students enrolled in JHU's Master of Arts in Public Management use Blackboard to access courses, participate in group assignments and join discussion boards. Students are automatically signed up for an online orientation upon enrollment, to familiarize themselves with the e-learning platform. In addition to the flexibility online learning provides, distance learners at JHU have applauded the high levels of interaction that online coursework incorporates into each class; many online students have stated they learn "…as much from their classmates as they do from their instructors and assignments."

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3

University of Illinois at Springfield

 2/548.68%Springfield, IL

campus_University_of_Illinois_at_Springfield

The online Master of Public Administration at the University of Illinois - Springfield is geared toward professionals working in the field who are looking to advance their careers and build a stronger foundation in public administration foundational subjects, including analytical tools, budgets, finances and human resource management. Starting fall semester 2015, students enrolling in the online MPA at UIS are required to satisfy 36 course credit hours in basic core competency in the order in which they are provided; they must also complete a capstone course. Full-time students typically finish the degree in two years.

Distance learners at UIS use Blackboard to access all coursework and interact with instructors and peers. Staff at the university's traditional on-campus departments are well-versed in online learning tools and can assist all students with gaining online access to the library, registrar, financial aid and career services. Online courses are delivered through streaming video, and students may access a wide variety of other online support tools, including online tutoring software, IT workshops and cloud-based storage options.

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4

Indiana University – Bloomington

 3/577.64%Bloomington, IN

campus-indiana-university-bloomington

The online Master of Public Affairs at Indiana State University - Bloomington is a combination of the Master of Public Administration and the Master of Public Policy. While completing the 48-credit-hour program, students study globalization, organizational management and strategic analysis and action, among other topics relevant to public administration professionals. MPA candidates are also required to complete an experiential component to complete the degree, which may include an internship, research program or prior experience.

Online MPA coursework at is delivered through Oncourse learning platform. Distance learners are afforded the flexibility of a fully online program, including downloadable PDFs of course materials, video-based lectures and fully integrated communication tools for interaction between faculty and peers.

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5

Northeastern University

 5/581.62%Boston, MA

campus-Northeastern-University

Students enrolled in Northeastern University's fully online Master of Public Administration are administered the same courses, resources and tools as those in the on-campus program. Online students are prepared for both public- and private-sector jobs in management and leadership through rigorous coursework comprised of 42 credit hours, including required core classes and an elective curriculum of the student's choice. Part-time distance learners may complete the MPA program in three to seven years, while full-time students may finish the degree in just two years.

Online MPA coursework at Northeastern must be completed according to weekly deadlines, delivered through the Blackboard learning platform. E-learners have a multitude of high-tech tools at their disposal, including discussion boards, multimedia lectures available through Articulate Presenter, streaming video lectures and podcasts combined with printable lecture transcriptions in Adobe PDF format.

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6

California State University – Long Beach

 2/565.17%Long Beach, CA

The online Master of Public Administration at California State University-Long Beach is designed for students already employed in the public administration field. Distance learners are required to satisfy 39 units and may complete the program in as little as 24 months. Candidates are provided the opportunity to expand on core concepts, including research, development, budgeting, surveying and communication skills, among others, to potentially increase professional opportunities and encourage advancement.

Through CSU Long Beach's distance learning program, students receive a comprehensive, extended education in public administration, using interactive learning tools and with round-the-clock access to faculty and peer communication. Mentors and special support coordinators are assigned to online students to help guide them through the online learning interface.

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7

Villanova University

 5/589.37%Villanova, PA

Villanova University's online Master of Public Administration degree program is designed to build skills needed to lead and manage teams, develop programming and public planning strategies and make effective decisions. Online MPA candidates must complete 12 required classes in core curriculum for a total of 36 credit hours, in addition to passing a final exam, which demonstrates the knowledge, skills and abilities learned during the course of their degree. Full-time students enrolled in consecutive terms may earn their degree in about two years.

Online MPA distance learners at Villanova can enjoy increased flexibility, completing assignments on their own schedule. Virtual learning for this program is video-based, incorporating live, interactive, instructor-led courses, real-time discussion forums, downloadable course lectures and digital animations and simulations. Students receive 24/7 IT support and customer service for any technical issues and are assigned a designated program representative to assist with meeting individual requirements and setting learning objectives.

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8

University of Colorado – Denver

 2/539.96%Denver, CO

Colorado-Denver's online master's in public administration program empowers students with the knowledge, skills, and ethics they need to lead in public governance or nonprofit organizations. The program accommodates students' lifestyles and schedules, and gives them the freedom to design programs tailored to fit their professional goals. Students can choose to concentrate in gender-based violence or environmental policy, management, and law. They can also participate in community leadership programs that provide valuable hands-on experience. Distance learners are expected to complete capstone projects in which they work with a public agency or nonprofit organization to present solutions to a problem; students then defend their work and research findings before a panel of professors.

Pursuers of a master's in public administration online must complete a minimum of 36 hours of graduate work with a total grade point average of “B" or better to graduate. Most students take nine to 12 credit hours per semester. Out-of-state students looking to enroll in the online program will pay less than the non-resident tuition rate.

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9

Marist College

 5/578.19%Poughkeepsie, NY

The online Master of Public Administration at Marist College offers full-time or part-time classes in fully online, hybrid or traditional on-campus course delivery. The MPA program incorporates both theoretical and practical coursework to prepare candidates for a career in public and non-profit organization management. Students are required to complete 42 credit hours and may select a concentration in public management, ethical leadership or health administration.

Marist College offers its online MPA via asynchronous curriculum on the iLearn platform, which features comprehensive distance learning tools to cultivate a collaborative educational experience. Students are encouraged to take advantage of a variety of communication methods in order to access assignments and interact with instructors and peers, including online discussion forums, group chats and designated virtual "office hours."

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10

DePaul University

 5/571.21%Chicago, IL

DePaul University's online Master of Public Administration provides a broad education to those seeking a career in the public sector. MPA candidates at DePaul may select from one of three specialty concentrations: public management, international public management and metropolitan planning and urban affairs. Students are required to complete 52 total course credits, including a combination of core and concentration-specific curriculum. For this program, DePaul University adopts a "cross-sectoral" approach to learning, which incorporates professional skills needed for both domestic and global sectors of public administration.

Online MPA students at DePaul complete their degree both asynchronously via Desire2Learn course management system and synchronously with live streaming video and audio technology. E-learners are encouraged to contribute to the highly interactive virtual learning community, taking advantage of DePaul's online communication network and social media tools, including discussion boards, online quizzes, communal work spaces and document sharing.

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11

California State University – Northridge

 2/546.76%Northridge, CA

California State University - Northridge's online Master of Public Administration is ideal for students who are either currently employed in the field of public administration or seeking a mid-career change. The online MPA program at CSUN offers concentrations in health administration, nonprofit sector management, public sector management and leadership, as well as an MPA cohort for executives.

The fully online MPA at Cal State Northridge depends on a weekly virtual meeting schedule to deliver coursework and offer communal and collaborative interaction. Through CSUN's virtual learning management system, students have the opportunity to access web-based video lectures, download supplemental materials and connect via the university's various social media platforms. Distance learners receive academic and technical support from dedicated departments across CSUN's Tseng College.

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12

University of San Francisco

 5/570.46%San Francisco, CA

The online Master of Public Administration at University of San Francisco engages students and faculty in a collaborative virtual environment. Students complete coursework in both core foundation topics and a concentration or specialty of their choosing. They may obtain their degree in as little as 24 months.

Faculty-student interaction is at the center of the online learning experience at USF. The faculty, online and on-campus, is dedicated to being fully accessible to their students through discussion boards and chat features via the university's virtual course delivery system, as well as through a variety of multimedia tools and technology resources.

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13

Nova Southeastern University

 4/546.11%Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern's online master's in public administration program prepares students to meet the challenges and needs that public sector, nonprofits, and the government encounters in today's dynamic world. The university designed its program and curriculum around emerging theory, employee surveys, and focus groups with professional administrators. The result is a modernized and relevant training program for administrative professionals.

Nova's MPA program has five different start times throughout the year (August, October, January, March, and May), and can be completed in just 21 months. Students pursuing a master's of public administration online complete core courses, select a specialization, and then finish a capstone project. Course offerings range from ethics in the public sector to cross-cultural perspectives in nonprofits to emergency management in governance. Distance learners can pursue specializations in criminal justice, disaster and emergency management, state and local administration, and nonprofit/non-government agencies. For capstone projects, students work with a public agency or nonprofit. Among the school's distinguished faculty members, Dr. Jack Pinkowski particularly stands out, and he was voted Florida's Public Administration Educator of the Year in 2013.

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14

California State University – San Bernardino

 2/547.96%San Bernardino, CA

Admission to the online Master of Public Administration at Cal State University - San Bernardino is rolling, enabling students to enroll at the start of any term throughout the year. This MPA program is intended for students with prior experience in public administration who are looking to advance their careers in the field. Students are required to complete 48 course credit units, as well as a comprehensive exam course. Graduates are prepared to strengthen core skills in communication, management and decision-making, among other professional abilities.

Students receive assignments and perform all course correspondence through Blackboard. As part of this 100% online program, faculty and students interact using video conferencing tools and through CSU's extensive intranet system. IT support is available 24/7 for e-learners; students also have direct access to academic advisors and career support specialists.

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15

University of Missouri – Columbia

 2/569.48%Columbia, MO

The online Master of Public Affairs at University of Missouri - Columbia is designed to expand skills in specialized areas of public affairs, such as ethical leadership, economic analysis and social entrepreneurship. The online MPA program comprises 33 course credit hours over nine-week-long terms. Intended for students with three to five years of experience in the workforce, graduates of UM Columbia's online MPA are prepared for high-level careers in public, private and nonprofit management.

UM Columbia's online MPA program uses Blackboard to deliver assignments and supplemental course materials. Through this virtual learning platform, students access grades, participate in group discussions, communicate with instructors and chat with fellow students. Lectures are recorded and shared online via Tegrity, providing distance students with an in-class experience in real-time.

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16

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

 2/538.57%New York, NY

The Master of Public Administration: Inspection and Oversight at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a unique program that prepares students for a career in the specialized fields of inspection and oversight. This MPA program comprises 42 credit hours over two to three years, including a mixture of foundational and elective courses, a capstone seminar and mandatory attendance at fall and spring on-campus conferences. Curriculum follows a cohort structure, requiring students to complete courses in a particular order. Graduates are prepared for positions in which they evaluate the performance of other public and nonprofit organizations.

Online MPA students at CUNY are assigned a dedicated academic advisor upon enrollment. E-learners are provided with the same comprehensive educational resources within CUNY's virtual classroom as their on-campus counterparts, including online access to the Lloyd Sealy Library, financial aid opportunities and career support services.

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17

University of North Dakota

 2/555.49%Grand Forks, ND

University of North Dakota's fully online Master of Public Administration provides real-time, weekly coursework in the evenings to working professionals looking for a convenient and flexible learning option to earn their degree. Students are required to complete 36 credit hours in subjects like ethics, public policy and management theories. The online MPA program accepts applications during fall, spring and summer semesters and typically takes two years to complete.

Coursework for UND's online MPA is conducted through "live" streaming video classes. As part of the fully-online degree, students are able to make use of a variety of academic support tools to supplement the virtual classroom, including advanced Web-conferencing technology, SmarThinking online tutoring services, career guidance, online access to the UND library and round-the-clock tech support via the NDUS Help Desk.

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18

University of Nebraska at Omaha

 2/544.62%Omaha, NE

The University of Nebraska at Omaha's online Master of Public Administration offers students a diverse selection of concentrations and specialties to choose from, including: public management, nonprofit and local government subjects. The online MPA comprises 39 credit hours and a capstone project; full-time students are typically able to complete the program in two years and one semester. Depending on individual concentration or specialty, students are required to complete core and mid-level coursework before focusing on specialized areas of interest.

Online MPA students at UNO participate in asynchronous coursework through the Blackboard course delivery system. UNO also subscribes to a number of other education-based portals and learning systems, including gMAV and MAVLink, both offering mobile apps for on-the-go student access; and MAVSync and MAVTrack, which offer interactive support and networking opportunities between faculty, students and education-oriented organizations.

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19

Concordia University – Wisconsin

 4/561.19%Mequon, WI

Concordia University's online MPA program provides a Christian-focused curriculum for students looking to work in organizational administration. Concordia provides maximum flexibility to students: individualized programs start at your convenience, and students are not required to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

Concordia emphasizes Christ-centered ethics, morality, and thought-leadership in all of its courses. Students seeking to earn a master's in public administration online can take classes in intergovernmental relations and business ethics, and are required to complete a 120-hour internship at an approved business site. Students are encouraged to design their programs of study to match their career ambitions. Concordia also features online student success advisors to help distance learners acclimate to the program. The attentiveness, flexibility, world-class faculty, and emphasis on Christianity make Concordia a stand-out choice for students looking to pursue their MPA online.

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20

Belhaven University

 3/550.21%Jackson, MS

Belhaven's online master's in public administration program prepares working professionals for leadership and management roles within governmental and nonprofit agencies. Belhaven's teachings are grounded in Christian principles, and the school's faculty augments their students' professional and personal growth.

Students working toward a master's of public administration online take 12 courses, which are offered in eight-week segments. They must complete a research capstone project, and they can also pursue a concentration in human resources. The program is designed to be completed in two years; transfer credits and previous work experience may allow students to complete their degree in even less time. Financial aid and VA/military benefits are available for all distance learners.

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21

Troy University

 2/534.98%Troy, AL

Troy's online master's in public administration program focuses on developing ethical, committed leaders who can effectively serve in the public's interest. Graduates must complete a 12-course, 36-credit hour curriculum. Students may transfer in up to 12 credits. All distance learners choose a concentration for their MPA, and can take a variety of classes, from organizational behavior to managing the public workforce. Students may need to complete an internship if they have not worked for at least one year in an administrative capacity. A capstone project is also required.

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22

University of Baltimore

 2/542.94%Baltimore, MD

The University of Baltimore's online master's in public administration degree uses the same academic calendar as the onsite program does. Students can pursue specializations that best serve their career goals. Popular classes include negotiations and conflict management, urban politics, and globalization and social change. The 42-credit program can be completed in two years.

The University of Baltimore emphasizes a collaborative environment for distance learners, and classes feature plenty of opportunities for interactions between faculty members and other students. Baltimore's online MPA program provides an excellent foundation for those aspiring to managerial positions in public administration.

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23

Sam Houston State University

 2/553.06%Huntsville, TX

The online master's in public administration degree program at SHU gives students the opportunity to learn from renowned professors and network with other professionals in the program. The school has created an interactive, engaging online learning environment, and professors are able to provide individualized attention to distance learners.

Students pursuing a master's in public administration online must complete 36 credit hours and a comprehensive exam to graduate. Distance learners who do not have full-time professional experience are also required to complete an additional three-credit hour internship. There are three enrollment times (fall, spring, and summer) available to maximize flexibility for students. Students may specialize in disaster and emergency management. The school's online MPA program prepares students for leadership roles in governmental and nonprofit positions at the local, state, and federal level.

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24

Barry University

 4/535.96%Miami, FL

Barry's online master's in public administration program prepares students for career advancement in public service and nonprofit administration. The faculty fosters a sense for social justice and leadership in students amidst a spirit of collaboration.

Student pursuing a master's of public administration online must complete 36 credits to graduate; up to six credits are transferable from other accredited programs. A non-credit, no cost workshop is also required for students with an undergraduate GPA below 3.5, or those who have been out of school for more than four years. As part of the curriculum, students must complete a capstone project where they work with a graduate faculty mentor and a professional in their field to complete research relevant to their career goals.

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25

University of Texas – Pan American

 2/542.75%Edinburg, TX

The online Master of Public Administration at the University of Texas - Pan American comprises a mixture of comprehensive core and elective public administration courses in subjects like public policy analysis, grant writing and local government management. Through these 36 course credit hours, students are able to pursue a career in one of several types of government agencies, including non-profit, public and political administration.

Online MPA students at UTPA are provided with several key resources to complete their degree from anywhere in the world. Distance learners use Blackboard and ASSIST platforms to access coursework, connect with media technology used to deliver e-courses, securely view grades and financial information, use university library resources and connect with other students via social media and UTPA email. IT support is available 24/7 via the Help Desk at UTPA.

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How Long Is an MPA Program?
2 to 3 years
Program Costs
$20,000 to $40,000 for full tuition
Concentrations
Public Management, International Public Management, Ethics/Ethical Leadership, Health Administration, Environmental Privacy, Management and Law, City Planning and Urban Affairs, Public Sector Management, Nonprofit Management, Human Resources
Accreditation
Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs & Administration (NASPAA)

Job Placement: MPA vs Bachelor of Public Administration

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for employees who have earned a master’s degree in any subject is 2.4%. By comparison, those who complete their education with a bachelor’s face an unemployment rate of 2.8%. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce estimates a much higher unemployment rate for college graduates with a bachelor’s in public administration — 6.1%, according to a 2015 survey.

The BLS also notes that career pathways for MPA-holders are expected to grow significantly over the next decade — in some cases, much faster than the estimated growth rate for all industries. Using BLS data, the table below features growth projections for some of the most popular professions in public administrations. In the years to come, MPA-holders will fill a significant number of these occupational roles.

Occupation Projected Growth Rate for Industry (2014-24) Projected Increase in Number of Jobs
Social and Community Service Managers 10% 13,200
Emergency Management Directors 6% 700
Urban and Regional Planners 6% 2400
Management Analysts 14% 103,400
Human Resources Managers 9% 10,800
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers 7% 4,700
Training and Development Managers 7% 2,300

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earning a Living

In addition to more favorable employment rates and more job opportunities, graduates who leave school with an MPA also enjoy higher earning potential than their counterparts with associate or bachelor’s degrees. The BLS reports that candidates with a master’s degree stand to earn a median weekly salary of $1,341 — roughly 18% more than employees with a bachelor’s and 68% more than those with an associate degree. The next table looks at expected salaries in the public administration sector for employees with associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

Degree Earned Median Annual Salary for Early Career Employees (0-5 years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ years) Salary Premium for Master’s Degree-Holders
Associate Degree in Administration $29,800 $42,400 58% at Early Career mark; 48% at Mid-Career mark
Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration $40,600 $62,700 16% at Early Career mark; 23% at Mid-Career mark
Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) $47,100 $77,100  

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

However, the salary expectations for an MPA-holder at different career stages will depend on their employee specific professional field. The table below highlights the median salaries for different MPA occupations at four key career benchmarks.

Profession Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late Career Employees (20+ years)
Emergency Management Specialist $50,000 $59,000 $65,000 $70,000
City Manager $71,134 $81,704 $93,386 $105,193
Urban Planner $48,326 $58,039 $68,301 $82,874
Management Analyst $56,556 $67,123 $78,117 $80,273
Human Resources Manager $51,565 $62,068 $67,345 $69,298

Source: PayScale

Among the five professions listed on the table, city managers earned the highest salary at all four career stages. However, urban planners saw the highest career salary growth between the entry-level and late-career marks, at 71%.

Career Opportunities

Graduates from online master’s in public administration programs have plenty of opportunities awaiting them after they finish school. The skills students develop in MPA programs – such as leadership, critical thinking, and communication – prepare degree-holders for a variety of careers. Below, we’ve reviewed some of the most popular career pathways for MPA earners.

Urban or Regional Planner: Urban and regional planners build local communities through land-use plans, development proposals, and other projects designed to stimulate population growth and economic activity. They may work in small towns, mid-level cities, or metropolitan areas; others work at the county or regional level.

Emergency Management Directors: Emergency management directors lead teams that develop and implement contingency plans for natural disasters and other catastrophic events. They are also called to oversee evacuations when emergencies take place and supervise rebuilding efforts in affected areas. These directors work at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

Social and Community Service Manager: Social and community service managers supervise organizations and their attendant staff. They interact with stakeholders and human interest groups to identify and develop programs for the community. Managers may also act as public advocates for the programs and services they provide to a particular demographic or cultural group.

Management Analysts: Also known as management consultants, management analysts work with company leaders to improve efficiency and limit costs. They analyze financial data, make workplace evaluations, and interview employees in order to develop realistic, sustainable spending plans.

Profession Median Annual Salary
Urban or Regional Planner $68,220
Emergency Management Directors $67,330
Social and Community Service Manager $63,530
Management Analysts $81,320

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning more about the field is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent public administration organizations. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • American Planning Association: With the motto “Making Great Communities Happen,” the APA is a global organization representing more than 38,000 members in over 100 countries and 47 U.S. chapters. Members can choose to earn the American Institute of Certified Planners credential. Other member perks include access to a vast online resource library and links to job openings.
  • National Emergency Management Association: Founded in 1972, NEMA oversees emergency plan development and implementation across the United States. The association currently represents emergency directors from all 50 states, eight territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • Society for Human Resource Management: Considered the world’s largest HR-oriented professional organization, the SHRM boasts 285,000 members in 165 different countries. The website features a vast online resource library, along with links to continuing education opportunities and an events calendar.

Original Research

Best Online Master's in Psychology Degrees of 2015
Rank Name Location
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
2 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
3 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
4 Clemson University Clemson, SC
5 Northeastern University Boston, MA
6 Villanova University Villanova, PA
7 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
8 California State University – Long Beach Long Beach, CA
9 Indiana University – Bloomington Bloomington, IN
10 CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY
11 California State University – San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA
12 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
13 University of Missouri – Columbia Columbia, MO
14 California State University – Northridge Northridge, CA
15 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
16 University of Texas – Pan American Edinburg, TX
17 DePaul University Chicago, IL
18 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO
19 Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA
20 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
21 Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL
22 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
23 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
24 Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg Middletown, PA
25 Murray State University Murray, KY

Despite the relative affordability of online MPA programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about your financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce costs.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process of filling out the FAFSA, along with answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and school. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Here, you can learn more about these financial opportunities.