If you are interested in pursuing a career path that leads to local government, completing an online MPA degree is a great first step. Entry-level public administration jobs are readily available, but when it comes to moving up the ladder and into positions like city manager, community health director or police commissioner, it’s critical to have a deeper understanding of how the system operates and how it is affected by the other levels of government. Here are five public sector jobs in which it could be beneficial to complete a Master of Public Administration degree.
1. City Manager
A city manager runs the administrative operations of a community so that it remains viable and efficient. This office works closely with the city council and oversees the implementation of policies voted on by the members. Outstanding interpersonal communication and management skills are highly recommended. This position also benefits from public policy and budgeting courses covered in an online MPA degree program. With a median national salary of $93,373 and many locations with higher pay ranges, city manager positions are a lucrative option.
2. Urban Planning and Development Director
As the population continues to grow, so does the demand for improving existing communities and developing new ones. In conjunction with the city council and city manager, the urban planning and development director oversees the use of land in that community. In older cities, revitalization programs are the norm, while in new communities you may work with a blank canvas. No matter the city size, if you are interested in urban planning, you will benefit from courses in economics and public administration research that are part of an online MPA degree program. Director positions pay in the $100k range and up, making this a career path that offers you the opportunity to make an impact on your city while making a good living.
3. Local Transportation Board
The local transportation board deals with issues involving a municipality’s public transportation system. With changes in public transportation needs and a rise in remote work, it's important for those working in this field to be in tune with urban transit trends. In order to have your finger on the pulse, it's vital to be able to collect and assess feedback from the public via forums and other informal means. Knowledge of public administration research, analysis and evaluation are beneficial and are topics that are discussed in online MPA degree coursework. If you have a passion for how people move through their communities, this career path, with a median salary of $73,827, could be a great fit to pursue with an MPA.
4. Community Health Director
Community health directors oversee all aspects of community health issues, assessing community data, creating policies and communicating initiatives aimed at preventing disease and ensuring access to healthcare. Possibly the most important task the community health director will deal with is the prevention of disease within the municipality. If a disease does become a problem, the director must be able to develop strategies to prevent the spread of the disease and provide informational health campaigns to help educate residents and protect their health. These skills can be acquired through an online MPA degree program. Median pay is $74,371 for community health directors, but the wide ranging salaries commonly seen indicate that skill level has a significant impact on pay.
5. Police Commissioner
Ensuring the safety of the general population and those sworn to protect the law is the number one priority for the police commissioner. As the city’s top officer, a successful commissioner will possess solid human resource knowledge, administrative leadership and public policy insights gained by completing an MPA. The average pay for this career is $68,835, with much higher salaries in urban areas
On-the-job training is great preparation for the challenges of working in a bureaucratic organization, but an MPA will expand your horizons by covering topics related to administration behavior, economics and leadership to help round out your resume. An online MPA degree may be the best option for your busy schedule.
Learn more about the A-State online MPA program.