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Job Options for MPA Graduates

When pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA), students have a number of career options. The varied background of students in an online MPA program may be one way for students to learn more about the different fields that they can enter. Internships can be another beneficial way for students to gain experience and an understanding of a particular career or a specific public affairs job. No matter which path they choose, the skills and knowledge gained in an MPA program helps students prepare for a management career.

A government position is often one of the first careers people think of when they consider public affairs jobs. This may encompass local, state or federal government jobs. Students who pursue this career path may be mayor, a legislator, or may work in a civil service position that focuses more on interaction with the public. The salary prospects for government positions is as varied as the type of positions available for an MPA.

Other students may aspire to a position in a nonprofit. With a degree from an online MPA program, those students looking to grow in this field may find themselves in a strong position to enter into leadership roles. The multi-disciplinary coursework can help prepare students to tackle complex issues involving funding, personnel and communications. These are attractive qualities to nonprofit organizations, which often are looking for innovative strategic thinkers to take the helm. While the salary prospects in the nonprofit sector can lag behind the private sector, many choose this career path in order to work in a specific type of job or with a specific group of people.

Some students may prefer to go into business or consulting roles. While an MPA doesn't always involve an intense focus on financial expertise like an MBA does, it often can give students much more varied interdisciplinary coursework. MPAs are particularly important as consultants to companies that work with the government or nonprofit organizations in sensitive areas such as IT, finance and accounting. Graduates of an online MPA program may find it rewarding to work as a consultant because they are able to quickly change gears and work and communicate across disciplines. This can be a lucrative career path for students who are quick and creative thinkers.

Politics is another area where public affairs jobs can be found. The critical thinking, human resource and communications coursework can help prepare students to work in various types of political jobs. Students could become communication managers, work in public relations or possibly even be lobbyists.

The coursework in an online MPA program can help prepare students for a wide variety of positions. Because so much coursework focuses on giving students a well-rounded approach, MPA graduates may be better prepared for advanced roles than those without a comparable education. Graduates can take those innovative and strategic skills and put them to good use in public affairs jobs.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online MPA program.


Earning Your Master of Public Administration (MPA). (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2015, from

Ivey, J. (2014, March 3). Should You Get a Master of Public Administration (MPA)? Retrieved October 21, 2015, from

25 Exciting Career Paths in Public Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2015, from

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