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Arkansas State University

Careers in Public Service

According to the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), “The Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree is the professional degree for students seeking a career in public service or nonprofit management. MPA programs develop the skills and techniques used by managers to implement policies, projects, and programs that resolve important problems within their organization and in society.”

MPA graduates are represented in all the following sectors of employment and job types.



Job Types



Federal Government

Federal departments, agencies, congressional offices, federal court system, accounting offices, commissions, presidential departments, service agencies, intelligence agencies, United Nations

Administrator, manager, IT administrator, legislator, committee member, cabinet member, President, Vice President, Congress member (House and Senate), departmental staff, program manager, secretary, researcher, investigator, foreign service officer, public policy analyst

CIA Officer: Conduct classified investigations of foreign and domestic issues of the highest concern.

State Government

State departments, legislative agencies, service agencies, offices, commissions, committees, judicial courts

Administrative services manager, legislator, committee member, administrator, program manager

State Comptroller: Conduct internal audits of the state budget, including revenues and expenses.

City or Municipal Government

Departments, legislative agencies, service agencies, offices, commissions, committees, judicial courts, school districts, counties, towns

Economic development manager, city manager, financial administrator, budget analyst, social services administrator, urban planner, community affairs manager, program manager, police commissioner, board member, health director, budget director, school superintendent, public housing manager



Parks and Recreation Director: Develop programs, prepare budgets, seek funding, and implement plans.

Political & Media

Political action committees, lobbying groups, associations, public interest groups

Administrator, speaker, lobbyist, activist, manager, policy analyst, researcher, media spokesperson, news writer, news reporter, data analyst, public affairs director

News Reporter: Provide insider’s political perspectives and analysis.

Nonprofit and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Charities, think tanks, trade associations, research associations, nonprofit organizations, groups, and foundations

Developer, administrator, program manager, policy analyst, executive director, researcher, budget director, charity manager or director, association executive, consultant


Policy Analyst: Assess policies for timeliness and efficacy, re-evaluate policies in effect for performance.


Corporation, business, law firm, consulting firm, association, management company, healthcare organization or facility

CEO, COO, director, president, vice president, human resource manager, budget analyst, sales or marketing manager, consultant, administrator, service provider, public relations consultant

Public affairs director: PR role, representing business during crises and improving public image.


While public service professionals can excel in all the mentioned fields, here are four specific positions that represent the diversity of career options for this degree:

CIA Officer: There are five career paths within the CIA, including science, technical and engineering; national clandestine service; language opportunities; analytical opportunities; and support services. CIA agents often work undercover to collect foreign intelligence in leadership, terrorist activity, technology and economic trends. There are many specializations and many tiers of positions based on education, training and experience. Higher-level positions typically require extensive experience and/or master’s level training.

Public Policy Analyst: This position establishes federal, state or local policies and assesses the efficacy of government programs. Policy analysts collect data to investigate issues and explain proposed solutions. They often conduct surveys or compile data into analyses. Some policy analysts are contributors in deciding which private sector organizations should be awarded public policy grants. This position can also be employed by think tanks, special interest groups, consulting firms and research organizations, as well as the national and local levels of government.

Economic Development Manager: This role in a municipality or city is responsible for reviewing and coordinating plans and reports, managing economic development projects, supporting the economic base of the city or municipality and participating in leadership efforts and on various committees. The role provides guidance to the Chief Executive Officer regarding policy planning and makes decisions on loans and terms for development projects.

Lobbyist: This role persuades members of Congress and other elected officials to support legislation favorable to their employers’ or clients’ interests. They study legislation to determine effects on constituents and often perform consulting or advisory duties to collaborators in the process of developing, proposing and passing legislation.

An advanced degree in public administration with a public management track offers the potential for delving deeply into one specific area of public service or enjoying the challenges of pursuing diverse interests over the course of a career.

Learn more about Arkansas State’s online Master of Public Administration Public Management Track Online program.


Careers in Government: Public Policy Analyst

Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration: MPA/MPP Degrees
Economic Development Manager

Study: How to Become a CIA Agent: Education & Requirements

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