Preparing to earn a specialized degree in a field of interest can be an overwhelming process. This can prove even truer when two degrees have certain overlapping similarities, making it confusing to decide which one is best suited for your specific job interests. In the paragraphs that follow, we will discuss the difference between an MBA and an MPA degree and how to decide which one is right for you.

What is an MBA Degree?

An MBA is a Masters of Business Administration degree. The core courses that are required in earning an MBA degree cover important areas of business management such as accounting, marketing strategies, financial aspects of business planning, statistical analysis, and human resources. Most MBA programs will also require a variety of elective classes that will cover subjects such as science, math, and English skills as well.

Accreditation organizations work to ensure that all MBA programs cover the necessary skills required to perform the duties associated with this type of employment, regardless of whether the degree is received in a traditional university or an online setting.

What is an MPA Degree?

An MPA degree is a Masters of Public Administration degree. This degree prepares employees to serve in management positions within various branches of local, state, and federal government.

Courses required for an MPA degree cover such areas as teaching the principles of public administration, managing public policy, and the process of implementing these policies in a variety of platforms. MPA graduates leave school with a wide range of skills covering economics, public finance, research methodologies and statistics, ethics, and much more. Whether you obtain your MPA degree online or through a traditional university setting, you will finish your schooling with the skills and reasoning ability necessary to perform management level tasks in a variety of government and official public settings.

What are the Major Differences Between these Degrees?

There are five distinct differences between an MBA and MPA degree. Here we will cover these main differences in a little more detail.

* An MPA is more research centered

A Masters in Public Administration requires a great deal of focus on the research required to create public policies and implement them successfully. Therefore, individuals seeking this type of degree must be comfortable with the concept of spending a lot of time conducting thorough research and implement the policies that are created from the results of this research.

* An MPA is more focused on the public sector

Recipients of an MPA degree will have to be comfortable performing extensive research, but they will not necessarily be the ones to systematically analyze the data that is received from this research. They will, however, be responsible for taking these policies that result from the accumulated research and implementing them in the public sector in which they’re employed.

* An MPA is an academically heavy degree

MPA degrees are very academic centered degrees. This means they require many hours of classroom seminars, studying, testing, and learning to analyze and organize data in specific ways. A good understanding of microeconomics is required to perform the diverse roles that will be filled by employees in this field. If spending hours of studying and practicing statistical analysis of data do not sound appealing, this may not be the right degree for you. Good time management throughout the time spent in college will help you ensure you have the appropriate amount of time to spend on acquiring the necessary skills to perform well at your future job.

* An MPA degree requires development of interpersonal skills

Developing and implementing complex policies and programs on a management level involves being able to effectively communicate with a wide variety of groups of people. An MPA degree requires that the recipient is extremely skilled in their interpersonal relationships and communication techniques. Additionally, since the holder of an MPA degree is employed on a management level, he or she must be comfortable with the concept of dictating and managing a large group of people on a daily basis. Both written and oral communication skills must be top-notch to perform well in this area.

* An MPA degree requires development of leadership skills

An MPA degree requires a number of classes and subjects dedicated to the development of advanced leadership skills. Individuals working in the public sector, especially on a government level, are responsible for the actions of large groups of people. Leadership skills go far beyond the basic interpersonal skills of good communication and public speaking techniques. Leadership skills require in-depth study, practice, implementation of these skills, and constant honing of them to remain well equipped to manage this amount of people successfully. An outgoing personality is a big plus for this type of work.

How do I Determine Which Degree is Right for Me?

The right degree for you will really depend on what your career goals are and where you see yourself working in the future. If you are more interested in remaining behind the scenes and focusing on the research aspects of this field rather than the implementation aspects, you may be more comfortable with an MBA degree.

However, if you have a vivacious and outgoing personality and prefer to lead large groups of people as a part of your daily work, an MPA may be the right degree for you. Keep in mind that while some aspects of these two degrees do overlap, there are also major differences to consider and these can mean the difference between you being content in your field or feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled. In the end, it’s important that you consider the difference between an MBA and an MPA degree when planning your educational and professional future.

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