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Arkansas State University

What is the value of an MPA?

Just like bachelor’s degrees, there seems to be an endless number of options for graduate degrees. For those seeking to run businesses and climb the ranks in the for-profit sector, an MBA is a natural choice. But what about those who want careers in government and public administration?

A Master of Public Administration, or MPA degree, gives candidates a big-picture view of public affairs — something that can be difficult to achieve with job experience alone. But that is just one of the many reasons that people decide to return to school to earn their MPAs.

The Benefits

When people with careers simultaneously earn graduate degrees, they are telling their employers that they can handle a high workload, manage time very efficiently and have the drive to succeed. They make an investment of time and money in their futures, which can greatly benefit anyone for whom they work. Plus, those with MPA degrees have had management-level training that they otherwise may not have had at this point in their career, adding even more value.

They take courses that teach them how to think at a higher level and organize information. This set of skills alone can easily make a candidate more valuable in roles that would otherwise not be an option, such as lobbying or policy analysis. Those with a firm understanding of management and a well-rounded academic background in public administration also tend to make more money and advance more quickly than their peers who have only bachelor’s degrees.

The MPA Degree

Of course, the thought of putting a career on hold to sit in a classroom for two years removes some of the appeal of earning a master’s degree. However, an online MPA program provides the same curriculum and comes from some of the same schools that offer traditional MPA degrees. In fact, schools like Arkansas State University offer online MPA degrees that mirror their on-campus programs. The fact that you can finish the program in as little as 18 months is an added benefit.

With an online MPA degree, you can return to school without leaving your career and quickly reap the benefits once the diploma is in hand. Employers value workers who can juggle school and work without skipping a beat. An employee enrolled in an online MPA program sets a great example of dedication, desire to succeed and ability to manage significant responsibilities.

Those who want to serve others are prime candidates for government careers, and they make great candidates for an MPA degree. Students will learn more about the inner workings of various government agencies and jobs — far more than they learned during their undergraduate studies.

Just like an MBA can benefit someone working in the for-profit sector, an MPA adds an extra feather in one’s proverbial cap that employers cannot ignore. For people wanting to climb the administrative ladder in government or nonprofits, a graduate degree is worth exploring.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online MPA Public Management track.


Colleen Dilenschneider: 5 Reasons Why I Chose to Pursue an MPA Over an MBA

Houston Chronicle: What Can You Do With an MPA Degree?

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