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Why an MPA Degree Is Useful for Those in Nonprofit Careers

Individuals in the nonprofit sector who wish to set themselves apart in a competitive job market should consider pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. Students in a degree program will learn from experienced faculty as well as informative internships and challenging practicums that will give them a competitive advantage over candidates who hold only a bachelor’s degree. Students can also gain valuable expertise by completing graduate coursework — expertise that they will use daily in careers in the nonprofit sector. As in many fields, professionals with advanced degrees find they can command higher salaries. As such, the investment in time and tuition for an MPA offers a significant return in the long run.

Skill Sets of MPA Degree Program Graduates

Students with an MPA degree are prepared with skill sets that are crucial to upper-level nonprofit jobs. These students develop expertise and knowledge in topics related to managing projects and personnel across a wide range of fields, from health and education to environmental agencies. No matter which field they choose, students benefit from an MPA program that also strengthens their oral and written communication skills. Students can also improve at problem-solving, organization, leadership, interpersonal relationships, analysis and time management. Graduates with these strengths have a distinct advantage when seeking director and executive jobs in the nonprofit sector.

Coursework Covered in an MPA Degree Program

Students in an MPA degree program complete coursework that equips them to succeed in careers in the nonprofit field at the managerial, directorial or executive levels. MPA coursework will prepare nonprofit workers to lead teams, manage projects and distribute the resources of their organizations. MPA classes also cover financial aspects of nonprofit work, including public budgeting, grant proposal writing and the administration of grant funds. MPA students study public information management, fundamentals of human resources management, leadership, ethics and administrative behavior.

Many MPA students find that the strongest benefit of their master’s degree program is the extensive practical experience they gain from internships and practicums in the nonprofit sector. Under the supervision of their professors, students have the opportunity to put classroom theory into practice in the daily ins and outs of the nonprofit sector. Their work supervisors and professors provide guidance and direction throughout the experience, and at the end of the practicum or internship, students have the experience to compile a professional portfolio for use in job searches and networking events.

Nonprofit Career Choices

Graduates from an MPA degree program can pursue careers in a variety of nonprofit areas, including public relations or fundraising management. Nonprofit organizations with charters as wide-ranging as public health, education, the environment, the arts and international charities all require public relations and fundraising experts. MPA graduates are also uniquely equipped for managerial and directorial jobs in community and social services at hospitals, clinics, shelters and agencies.

An MPA degree can be an important step toward career advancement for professionals already working in the nonprofit world, as well as a valuable learning opportunity for students who have just completed their bachelor’s degrees. Online degree programs work well for many individuals who wish to continue working while pursuing advanced degrees. Careers in nonprofit allow MPA graduates to use their skills and expertise to stretch themselves professionally while improving lives.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online MPA program.


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