Students who currently have jobs but want to pursue advanced positions in the field of public service or in the nonprofit sector could benefit from the flexible learning options available through an online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. Earning an MPA through distance learning means students can take courses at their convenience, uploading assignments and quizzes to an online learning platform, rather than having to go to campus for lectures and assignments. While there are some programs that can be completed fully online, other programs are offered in a hybrid format that require specific courses or projects to be done on campus. In some programs, students may also be required to complete in-person professional experiences or practicums.
Master of Public Administration
This graduate degree program emphasizes training in organizational theory, public leadership, public administration analysis and legal concerns. Students are usually required to complete professional experiences or practicums in an area related to their studies. Key courses can provide the necessary educational background and the professional competencies needed to pursue managerial or administrative positions. This program will also prepare students for further study, such as a doctoral degree in public administration, or for possible careers in research or in teaching at the college level.
Students can expect to study the following subjects:
- Public management
- Administrative theory and behavior
- Public personnel and labor relations
- Public financial management
- Ethical administration
Job options for those who have earned MPAs include careers in budget management, nonprofit management or city and county management. Degree holders might also find careers in law enforcement or human resources administration. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that social and community service managers could see 10% job growth from 2014 to 2024, while top executives might see only 6% increase in job opportunities during this decade. Strong competition is expected for these positions.
Online Master of Public Administration programs prepare students for a variety of leadership roles in the public sector. While some of these programs can be completed entirely though distance learning, other programs may have on-campus or residency requirements.