A Master of Public Administration degree is one of the most versatile graduate degrees. The broad curriculum gives students insight into economics, budgeting, finance, organizational behavior, data analytics, and human resource management. Graduates are able to apply their studies to public policy and administrative management decisions. After graduation, many learners pursue careers in government, nonprofit management, and private entities that have significant interaction on public policy issues. The MPA credential can be utilized towards established career paths, but also used to move into upper or executive management.
Governments, non-profit entities, and private businesses can all hire public policy analysts. Typically public policy analysts that work outside of government are tasked with raising public awareness on societal issues and the impact public policy has on the issues. Think tanks, charity organizations, and businesses can then propose potential policy solutions that government officials can put in place entirely or with adjustment. Policy analysts that work for governments are also tasked with creating policy solutions. These analysts often do critical work in evaluating public policy proposals for efficiency and effectiveness. This analysis is then presented to decision makers for final action.
Proper budgeting is essential for any organization to thrive. Budgeting in the public sector is more complicated because of statutory requirements that dictate mandatory and discretionary spending. Most legislative bodies retain a full time budget staff to help legislators budget effectively, follow legal precedence, and understand the financial impact of new laws. Budget analysts may be asked to assess policy, help draft budget-related legislation, and attend committee hearings.
Interested in pursuing one of these jobs as your long term career? You can now study for your Master of Public Administration completely online!
Lobbying and Government Affairs sit at the intersection of private and public sectors. Many businesses hire professionals to help them navigate the public policy process. Lobbyists and Government Affairs professionals can meet with elected officials and their staff to influence policy. They can also help companies navigate the government bidding and contracting systems to win additional business. Government officials often rely on lobbyists to help educate them on the real world impacts of potential changes to policy or the law.
Non-profit founders need a passion to help their community but can come from any background. As the organizations grow, management and financial decisions become more complicated. At this point, a founder must decide if they are going to become a non-profit manager themself or hire someone to help them budget, advocate public policy, and bid for government contracts. Many long established non-profits have full executive suites and a large non-profit management staff to pursue their goals to support the community. Many non-profits, once regarded as low paying, have raised their total compensation packages that may include increased time off and work flexibility.
Healthcare administrators and healthcare managers help power our nation's health systems. Many health systems are founded as private business and non-profit partnerships that are highly involved with government regulating bodies and billing. Administrators, unlike clinicians, do not interact with patients or give medical advice. Instead this group manages the business operations, policy creation, community engagement, and government advocacy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a projected 32 percent growth in healthcare management positions from 2019 to 2029. This faster than average growth is powered by the aging of the baby-boomer population that is remaining more active later in life.
Human resources managers are critical parts of many organizations and are employed in almost every industry. HR managers help to place each worker in the best role, oversee benefit programs, and coordinate communication between workers and executives. Often, HR managers will be called on to write policies for their organization that follow legal standards and best practices developed over time. A Master of Public Administration helps graduates in this role with its focus on human resource theory and the practical impacts on organizations and their policies.
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