Deciding to pursue a Master of Public Administration is the first step to furthering a promising career in the public sector. But before selecting an online MPA program, there are many things to consider, one of the most important being accreditation by Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
Why should you look for an accredited program? Pursuing an advanced degree isn't a decision to take lightly, and it's important to get the most out of time and money spent.
Not every program qualifies for accreditation, and employers recognize the value of programs that have put forth the effort to maintain good standing with the NASPAA. In fact, each program has minimum requirements — including faculty numbers, credit-hour requirements, and mandatory self-assessment — to make the program as valuable as it can possibly be.
If a master's program has NASPAA accreditation, you can be assured that it is a quality program.
The workplace is a diverse place, so it makes sense that the educational environment should be the same way. The NASPAA encourages schools to have diverse faculties and student bodies in order to introduce different perspectives to the students. The result is a culture where healthy conversation and discourse are common and where everyone learns a new point of view and is able to take away more than textbook knowledge.
The best MPA programs are committed to the students they serve, which means they must also be committed to the curriculum. Self-assessment is an important part of maintaining accreditation, which helps schools maintain their strengths and address weaknesses. They are able to keep their methods and practices up to date and in line with the world of public administration.
4. Global Relationships
NASPAA is worldwide and peer organizations around the world are invited and encouraged to collaborate and communicate in order to learn from one another. There are groups in Canada, Colombia, the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and many other countries. Together, these groups can support international dialogue and idea-sharing to give MPA students a global perspective.
It is important to remember that potential employers never see you in the classroom; they only see your resume and the name of the program next to your degree. The title MPA means more if it is backed up by a school that has earned NASPAA accreditation.
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