Deciding upon an appropriate major in college is sometimes an overwhelming and daunting task. While salary isn’t everything, it’s important to most students to find a career that suits their interests and pays well also. If you’ve been considering a degree in business or public administration , you may have wondered about the MPA degree salary. In the paragraphs that follow, we will discuss what is entailed in an MPA degree and the estimated salaries of MPA degree recipients across the board.

What is an MPA and What Does it Cover?

A Master of Public Administration is a post-graduate degree focusing on administrative and management roles within both the public and private sectors. Because the criteria and subject matter covered in the courses required for this degree are broad, the job possibilities are virtually endless.

Subjects that are mastered while gaining this degree include economics, sociology, human resources, research methodologies, statistics, urban development, criminal justice and many others. As a result of this broad array of skills that are developed while earning this degree, graduates leave school equipped to serve in a variety of vital roles including jobs within local, state, and federal branches of the government.

What Job Options are Possible with an MPA?

Job possibilities after obtaining an MPA degree can be further broken down into the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Each sector has its perks, and it really will depend in part of the graduate’s personality, interests, and skills.

Public Sector Jobs

Public sector career options are available in a wide variety of settings. For example, many graduates prefer to work for their local government serving in various aspects of management. Local government offices can offer exciting job titles such as police commissioner, community health director, or parks and recreation department leader. There are a multitude of programs and policies that are implemented on a local level to keep communities functioning in a manner that benefits everyone. These positions are often filled by those with an MPA degree because they have the knowledge necessary to create and enforce these programs and the leadership skills to handle large populations of people.

Private Sector Jobs

Jobs within the private sector will often include upper management positions within corporations or companies both large and small. Chief Executive Officers and Chief Operating Officials are vital to the daily operations of millions of businesses throughout our nation. MPA degree recipients have the skills and leadership qualities necessary to design and implement important programs, to oversee other employees, and to increase the overall productivity of the company.

Non-Profit Sector Jobs

Many non-profit organizations and charity groups require the advanced skills of MPA degree holders to help design the programs that allow them to become successful. Such organizations require effective strategies to raise funds for their cause as well as programs that allow them to keep their operating costs as low as possible. Proper advertising and the allocation of funds to each vital section within the organization are other important roles that an MPA graduate could fulfill in this particular career. Working for a non-profit or charity group also allows an individual to manifest their skills while working toward a cause that holds personal significance to them.

Related readingMPA and MPP Degrees: What Are They, and What’s the Difference? 

General Statistics of MPA Graduates

Statistics indicate that earning an MPA degree will significantly increase your earning potential over that of students who stop at a bachelors degree education level. It’s estimated that graduates who only earn their bachelor’s degree can earn a maximum of about $50,000 annually. In contrast, a masters degree can increase an employee’s annual income by approximately $18,000, a significant jump for the same job roles.

Specific Salary Rates for Public Sector Employees

Due to the wide variety of jobs that are possible with this type of specialty, the MPA degree salary covers a fairly big range. On the low end, entry-level positions in some sectors can pay around $35,000 annually. On the high end, upper management positions within specific sectors can pay as much as $100,000 annually. This wide range of annual salaries puts the median salary earned by MPA degree recipients at somewhere around $60,000 per year. Human Resource Directors earn around $80,000 annually, while mid-level management positions pay around $75,000 per year.

Specific Salary Rates for Private Sector Employees

The private sector of employment for those with an MPA degree focuses on jobs within businesses and other types of companies. The range of possible salaries in the private sector is very similar to those possible within the public sector. Program administrators come in on the lower end of the spectrum, with an average annual salary of around $40,000. Purchasing managers rank somewhere in the middle, with an average annual salary of around $53,000. Top research executives are at the higher end of the range, with an average annual salary of approximately $100,000. The type of salary you can expect to earn from your MPA degree will depend in part on your experience, the type of company you work for, the size of the company, and your unique skills and qualifications.

Is an MPA Degree Right for You?

Deciding upon the right major for you is a complex and sometimes overwhelming process. Most students want to find a type of degree that gels well with their personality and interests while still offering competitive rates of pay and opportunities for career advancement. The range of the MPA degree salary you can expect to earn will depend on many variables. However, the facts mentioned above indicate the range of possibilities that exist within this field.

The need for public administrators will continue to rise in the coming decades, making this a popular field with the potential for personal growth and high paying salaries.