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Master of Public Affairs: Salary & Jobs

A graduate degree in public affairs can be applied to many jobs in different levels of the government, social services and more. We discuss a few of the career options for those with a Master of Public Affairs.

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A Master of Public Affairs is a flexible degree that prepares graduates to address the public good via collaboration across private and public sectors. Here we explore a handful of possible careers for those with a Master of Public Affairs and how the degree applies to each career.

Related Careers for a Master of Public Affairs

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Management Analyst $81,330 14%
Social and Community Service Managers $64,680 10%
Political Scientist $114,290 -2%
Urban and Regional Planners $70,020 6%
Operations Manager $103,950 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Descriptions

Management Analyst

Those working as management analysts generally help an organization, whether in the private or public sphere, increase their efficiency/profitability and streamline their systems and procedures. In the field of public affairs, work can be found in a number of government agencies, with work duties being specialized to that agency. You might also be responsible for developing and reporting on new organizational structures, analyzing financial data, and conducting follow-up meetings to ensure that any changes are having a positive effect. A master's degree is often preferred by potential employers when applying.

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers may be required to have a master's degree and some work experience to develop and promote programs and services to a community. These managers identify the specific needs in their community and create and implement programs to meet those needs, such as battling hunger, mental health issues, and homelessness. They usually oversee the budgets for their programs and are responsible for managing the various staff members involved. Social and community service managers are constantly evaluating their programs for effectiveness and making improvements and changes as needed.

Political Scientist

The job of a political scientist is to analyze political data and develop trends based on current and historical political findings. You will also do research to develop theories exploring the historical role of politics, understand contemporary events and their political causes, and make economic predictions. Some political scientists work within particular topical fields, which could include comparative politics, political theory, national politics, or international politics. Many political scientists earn a master's of public affairs.

Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners need a master's degree, and a background in public affairs could prove beneficial as these planners must work closely with public officials and the public. Urban and regional planners need to understand the developmental needs of a community to help them plan for growth or to revitalize various areas of the community. This requires planners to meet with officials, analyze data, review proposed plans and make suggestions on what plans may be best for a particular area or community. These planners also make presentations about the projects to the public and ensure that all projects comply with current regulations.

Operations Manager

An operations manager oversees the operations of any organization. Responsibilities might include preparing work schedules; managing personnel, services, and the movement of goods; developing relevant organizational policies; and reviewing budgets and other financial data. Someone with a master's in public affairs might work in this position for a governmental department or agency, or for a non-profit or community organization. While a graduate degree may not be a minimum requirement for all jobs with this title, many do require a certain level of experience which a master's degree may count towards.

A Master of Public Affairs can be applied to several careers that involve managing the public good and actualizing community-oriented projects. These careers vary across the fields of management, social services and community planning, and opportunities tend toward the government and non-profit sectors.

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