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Masters Public Administration - For those seeking a masters, public administration is a great choice

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In a competitive job market many people are realizing the necessity of getting advanced degrees. There are numerous graduate degree programs from which to choose. However for those looking for a versatile masters, public administration is an option that will offer new opportunities. Public administration professionals have opportunities for a wide range of jobs in federal, state, county and municipal government. Jobs performed by public administration graduates include county manager, city manager, planner and other administrative positions in federal, state, or local government. With a masters, public administration graduates can also find opportunities in policy work or as executive directors of non-profit organizations.

To prepare for obtaining a masters, public administration hopefuls would do well to have an undergraduate background with courses such as political science, psychology, accounting, communications, strategic planning, and policy development. Knowledge of political science provides valuable insight into the workings of local government. Courses in psychology or organizational behavior are beneficial for any professional studying for a masters. Public administration is no different. Those working in this field should have a good understanding of human and organizational behavior, especially when involved in working with groups to accomplish community goals and objectives.

Accounting or financial courses provide the foundation for assuming fiduciary duties necessary for managing large budgets and implementing policies that result in transparency and public trust. Good oral and written communication skills are a must for completing the masters. Public administration professionals are called upon to communicate with diverse individuals and groups. Additionally, public administrators must be effective in writing proposals and policies. Strategic planning is another valuable skill for public administration professionals. By gaining strategic planning skills while earning the masters, a public relations professional will enter an organization with the ability to lead employees through goal setting, planning and reorganization if necessary.

Another important skill for an individual who desires to be a public administrator is public policy development. When choosing courses for the masters, public administration students should not underestimate the value of public policy education. Changing public policy is the means by which community problems are addressed on a broad scale. This includes advocating for changes in laws at the local, state and federal level.

There are many schools that offer masters public administration programs. Some offer the MPA or Master of Public Administration degree. Others refer to the same degree as a Master of Public Affairs. Both programs include the previously mentioned core courses. It generally takes about two years to complete a masters public administration program for those who matriculate full time. Part time students can expect to take three to four years to complete the masters.

Public administration graduate degrees may also be earned through online schools. Online programs offer the flexibility of completing courses at home, at the workplace or anywhere a student has access to the internet. These programs are usually self paced, meaning that if they choose to work toward a masters, public administration graduate students can do so at a pace that is comfortable for them. This makes it possible to complete the degree in a shorter time than required for traditional campus-based masters programs. For those who might need a little longer to meet their program’s degree requirements online programs may offer extensions beyond what a campus based program might grant.

A masters degree in public administration can open doors to great opportunities. Graduates should be prepared to put in long hours with meetings and other duties required in such positions. However the financial rewards can be worth the effort. After earning a masters, public administration professionals with work experience can often learn $60,000 per year or more. Once in a government organization, public administrators who gain advanced skills are usually promoted to higher paying positions or they are sought by other organizations. It is not unusual for those with exceptional skills and political savvy to find themselves working as city or county managers with salaries of $100,000 or more annually. They may also receive perks such as cars for use at work, travel stipends and relocation assistance.

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