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6 Government Job Opportunities for Graduates with a Master’s in Public Administration and Affairs

August 8, 2023

Obtaining a graduate degree in Public Administration and Affairs can open up a world of opportunities for individuals seeking a fulfilling career in government service. These degrees provide a strong foundation in policy analysis, governance, and public management, equipping graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in a variety of government job roles. In this article, we will explore some of the government job opportunities available to individuals with a Master’s in Public Administration and Affairs. Here are 6 career paths graduates may follow: 

  1. Policy Analyst (Average Salary: $75,790): One of the most common career paths for MPA and MPAdmin graduates is that of a policy analyst. Policy analysts play a crucial role in assessing public policies, conducting research, and making recommendations to policymakers. They analyze the impact of existing policies, identify areas for improvement, and develop evidence-based strategies for addressing societal challenges. Policy analysts can work in government agencies, think tanks, research organizations, or nonprofit advocacy groups.
  2.  Program Manager (Average Salary: $97,351): With their strong understanding of policy implementation and evaluation, MPA and MPAdmin graduates are well-suited for program management roles in government. Program managers are responsible for overseeing the planning, implementation, and monitoring of government initiatives and programs. They ensure that programs align with policy goals, manage budgets and resources, and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve desired outcomes. Program managers can work in various government departments or agencies at the local, state, or federal level.
  3. Legislative Aide (Average Salary: $55,911): Individuals with a keen interest in the legislative process and policymaking may find opportunities as legislative aides. Legislative aides provide crucial support to elected officials, assisting in research, drafting legislation, and analyzing policy proposals. They help legislators stay informed on key issues, prepare briefings, and provide recommendations for policy decisions. Legislative aides work in legislative bodies, such as Congress, state legislatures, or local councils, contributing to the development and implementation of effective policies.
  4. Budget Analyst (Average Salary: $71,298): Government agencies rely on budget analysts to ensure the efficient allocation of resources and adherence to financial regulations. MPA and MPAdmin graduates with a strong background in public finance and management can pursue careers as budget analysts. These professionals analyze budgets, monitor spending patterns, develop budget proposals, and provide financial guidance to government agencies. Budget analysts work at various levels of government, including federal, state, and local entities.
  5. City Manager (Average Salary: $96,522): For those interested in municipal governance, a master’s degree in public affairs or public administration can pave the way to a city manager position. City managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of cities and towns. They work closely with elected officials, manage city budgets, coordinate departments, and implement policies and programs. City managers play a vital role in ensuring efficient service delivery, responding to community needs, and promoting sustainable development within their jurisdictions.
  6. Nonprofit and International Development: MPAA graduates can also find rewarding government-related careers in nonprofit organizations and international development agencies. They can work as program directors, managers, or policy analysts in nonprofit organizations that collaborate with governments to address social issues. Nonprofit salaries will vary depending on the role.

    For example, program directors’ average salary is $177,957 and managers can make $97,085. Additionally, international development organizations often seek professionals with expertise in public affairs and administration to work on projects related to governance, public sector reform, and policy implementation in developing countries. Similarly, different roles within international development organizations are going to vary in salaries. A program analyst can see on average $87,225 a year, and a program manager can make $111,863

These are just a few examples of government job opportunities available to individuals with a master’s degree in public administration and affairs. The skills and knowledge gained through these programs provide a strong foundation for a wide range of careers in government service. Whether in policy analysis, program management, legislative support, budgeting, or municipal governance, graduates can make a significant impact in shaping public policies, improving governance, and serving the community.

Merrimack College’s Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Affairs provides a flexible and convenient pathway for individuals with a civic-minded approach to enter or progress in their careers in the public sector. The program is tailored to accommodate students, where they can benefit from small class sizes, the guidance of a personal success coach, and interactive faculty members.