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Arkansas State University

Career Outlook for Public Management Graduates

For professionals drawn to the ideals of community service and social good, pursuing a career in public administration and management is a natural next step. The field offers burgeoning leaders a chance to forge real change in how government agencies, nonprofit institutions and corporations tackle fundamental policy challenges.

Graduates of the online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Public Management program from Arkansas State University (A-State) will develop the skills necessary to pursue jobs across the public and private sectors, including opportunities in policy analysis, human resources and city management.

What Kind of Jobs Do MPA Graduates Pursue?

Earning an MPA provides in-demand career opportunities that span government agencies, corporate and nonprofit spaces. Depending on academic background and work experience, public management professionals may find themselves writing grant applications for a major nonprofit institution or influencing policy within municipal government.

Many MPA graduates pursue roles in the public sector, choosing to serve as department directors and, eventually, as city managers. Whether overseeing public works projects or economic development policy for the city, department directors identify high-level goals for staff and ensure that their employees have the resources to meet project deadlines and deliver key services.

A city manager, who typically has experience in departmental roles, serves as the most senior member of a city administration. City managers have a dual responsibility to ensure smooth daily operations of the city and work with elected officials to deliver on their priorities, according to Indeed. The position is public-facing and requires significant interaction with residents and the media.

In comparison, policy analysts take on a more behind-the-scenes role by researching policies to help government agencies cement their positions on solutions to problems like childcare access or food insecurity. Policy managers may be charged with launching campaigns to generate support for those positions and advocating for those priorities at different levels of government.

MPA graduates also often become human resources managers and personnel directors who spend their days cultivating strong relationships between colleagues and employers. They must guide prospective employees through the hiring and interview process. They also handle payroll duties, benefit enrollment and organizational culture-building activities. Those skills are transferable to roles in government as well as those outside of the public sector.

As their careers progress, many MPA graduates find opportunities working outside of government as well, including with human rights advocacy groups, schools, charitable organizations, public media and more.

Building Leadership and Analytical Skills

Leaders with a background in public management often find themselves at the center of the action, where ideas for solving public problems turn into innovative solutions. To accomplish those goals, MPA graduates develop a well-rounded knowledge base in policy, law, business, management and finance.

Through A-State’s online MPA program, students can develop their skills in the areas of public budgeting and finance, techniques of political and public administration research and grant writing and administration. They also study how first-time managers can successfully employ communication and decision-making strategies to complete projects with the assistance of politicians, staff and citizens in the Administrative Leadership course and Administrative Ethics course.

The program also offers internship credit and a final capstone course, allowing students to put their newfound skills into practice. In the MPA Capstone Experience course, students construct a professional portfolio showcasing the skills and competencies they have developed in a single document. The portfolio and the work experience gained through internships in city departments, government agencies and other public administration roles put graduates on track to take their careers to the next level.

Upon completing A-State’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) Public Management program, graduates will know how to lead diverse groups of people to accomplish ambitious goals. By honing their communication and leadership skills alongside their policy knowledge, professionals will be ready to take on senior-level roles in the public management field.

Learn more about A-State’s online MPA Public Management program.

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