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Use your career in public service to lead change

Thursday, October 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM

One of the most rewarding careers can be found in public administration, keeping businesses and governments running while serving others and helping make a difference in the world. Public administration has a direct impact on people's lives and communities. As a professional with a career in public service, you can take a leadership role to create, implement and manage governmental policies and programs; manage human resources and budgets; and drive institutional and community change.

The field of public administration is varied and broad, allowing you to pursue numerous career opportunities to work for the public good. You may find a satisfying career in public service at the federal, state or local level, including working with city governments, Homeland Security and the United Nations; with a nonprofit organization; in a community health program; in urban development or criminal justice; or with a public transportation system. If you are a professional already working in public administration and want to move into a higher-level position or if you are interested in entering a career in public service, you need to develop flexible and diverse skills to help you advance. You will be able to enter the field with a bachelor's degree, but a Master of Public Administration degree could be a springboard to advancing your career and your ability to influence change in your community.

Develop and grow your public administration skills with an MPA degree

A program leading to an MPA degree – these programs are steadily become more available online – will provide you with foundational administrative concepts and competencies necessary for a public service career, whether in an area of government or in the private sector. Core coursework for an MPA degree provides the latest theories, issues and trends in public administration and usually includes the study of the fundamentals of public administration, administrative leadership and decision making, public finance, law and ethics, strategic planning and communications, human resources, financial management, and program and policy evaluation. General areas of study also teach the skills of problem solving, research and analysis, while specialization options in your area of interest can include budgeting, program implementation information systems and intergovernmental relations.

Earning your MPA degree not only can help you advance to a higher executive position in the public or private arena but can also boost your salary, depending on your position. According to, an online community for students interested in Masters of Public Administration degrees, graduates who only pursued a bachelor's degree had a maximum earning potential of $50,000. Those who received an MPA degree are looking at an average salary of $68,000. Executive directors of nonprofit organizations, city managers, government affairs directors and top research executives can expect to make six-figure salaries, reports in its latest survey dated April 11, 2015. In any position in the public or private sector there is plenty of room to advance and earn more than the average salary if you have a Master of Public Administration degree.

If a career in public service is something you are considering, an MPA degree can provide you with leadership skills and brighter salary prospects and give you the chance to make a difference in the lives of other people.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online MPA program.


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