No matter whether you want to advance or jumpstart your career in public service, earning a Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) is an excellent way to do so. The value of an MPA is well-recognized; in a world clamoring for leaders that create change, fields that call for MPA degrees are expected to see 7% growth in the coming years.
An MPA is a professional graduate degree for advanced leadership development. A well-rounded MPA curriculum mixes business classes, such as finance and change management, with high-level training in subjects like policy development, urban sustainability, ethics, and public leadership.
Typically, an MPA is a highly sought-after degree for professionals pursuing careers in community leadership, nonprofit management, government, and politics. At Claremont Lincoln University, our MPA program is built specifically for leaders seeking opportunities to create social change in their communities, even if you don’t have a specific career trajectory in mind.
For those wavering between an MPA and other degrees, such as a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA), here are five reasons socially-minded leaders should always choose the former.
You’ll gain expertise in areas other graduate degrees don’t address.
Many master’s degrees, including MPAs, teach advanced managerial skills. You’ll gain a focused understanding of organizational management, program evaluation, and strategic communication. But rather than learning how to utilize those skills in the for-profit sector, MPA students learn to apply them in public service.
For example, CLU’s MPA program supplements leadership curriculum with classes on policy analysis, urban development, public finance, and civic engagement. By diving deeply into essential areas of knowledge for work in the public sector, classes like these teach students how to address social problems from multiple perspectives.
You’ll open up a variety of career paths.
An MPA is for people who want to create social impact through administrative roles, which many read as “policymakers and politicians”. While that’s one way to use the degree, an MPA can be applied to virtually any role in public service. It acts as a springboard for aspiring urban planners and developers, nonprofit executives, environmental managers, HR managers, educators, and program coordinators, to name a few.
Because it’s so open-ended, an MPA is an extremely versatile degree. But if you have a specific interest, look for programs that offer concentrations in your area of focus. Claremont Lincoln University has two MPA concentrations: Public Service and Strategic Innovation for Collective Impact. While both concentrations build important skills for public administrators, they individually focus on different types of leadership. Read more about them here.
You’ll have more tools and opportunities to create social impact.
Public administrators at all levels share a desire to equitably address the needs of their communities. In an MPA program, you’ll learn strategies to take action on that vision. At CLU, our MPA is perfect for leaders who want to create solutions to urgent problems like housing shortages and climate change. The courses you’ll take will prepare you to unite communities, combat systemic inequities, and build paths to a sustainable future.
While you can create social impact without a specific degree, an MPA is a toolkit that gives you strategies for effective collaboration and ways to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. You’ll finish your degree with the ability to not only engage with complex social issues, but to navigate the dialogue surrounding them in a way that motivates others to be part of your change.
You’ll increase your earning potential and opportunities for leadership.
An MPA is designed specifically to prepare you for leadership roles. On a CV, it shows a deep understanding of the issues facing the public sector and the expertise needed to grapple with them. Graduates can leverage this to attain more prominent leadership positions in both public and private sectors after completing their degrees.
Because MPA graduates work in dozens of different positions, it’s difficult to pin down an exact change in salary resulting from the degree. Those who use their MPA to become top-level executives or politicians can increase their earnings (BLS).
You’ll remain relevant in your field.
The way we approach public service shifts rapidly in response to globalization, world politics, and technological advancement. Even if you’re not looking for a new career, it’s important to stay abreast of the changes. An MPA program teaches flexible strategies that can be applied to innovative solutions for both current and future problems.
MPA programs also give students a professional network with connections across generations and roles. For example, at CLU, our faculty of scholar-practitioners and dynamic MPA Advisory Council make up a network of powerful thought leaders. Not only do they guide and connect with our students, but they set an example for how to address the world’s most pressing problems.
Before you choose a university, make a list of qualities that are most important to you in a graduate program - cost, flexibility, network, and coursework might be a few. Then, request information from universities that fit your specifications. If you’re interested in a flexible, fully online, highly affordable program from Claremont Lincoln University, you can request information from us. Or, apply in under 30 minutes - no GRE or GMAT required.