Obtaining a Master’s in Public Administration and Affairs can open up a diverse range of career opportunities in the field of public policy. These degrees equip graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate complex policy environments, analyze societal issues, and develop effective strategies for addressing them. In this article, we will explore 6 public policy jobs available to individuals with a Master’s in Public Administration and Affairs. Here are 6 career paths graduate students may follow:

  1. Policy Analyst/Researcher (Average Salary: $69,509): One of the most common career paths for MPA and MPAdmin graduates is that of a policy analyst or researcher. Policy analysts work in various settings, including government agencies, research organizations, think tanks, and nonprofit advocacy groups. They conduct in-depth research on policy issues, analyze data, assess the impact of existing policies, and make recommendations for policy improvement. Policy analysts play a crucial role in informing policymakers and influencing decision-making processes.
  2. Legislative Analyst (Average Salary: $78,925): Individuals with a master’s degree in public affairs or public administration can pursue careers as legislative analysts. These professionals work closely with lawmakers at the local, state, or federal level, providing research and analysis to inform legislative decisions. Legislative analysts track proposed bills, conduct research on relevant policy issues, draft legislative summaries, and provide recommendations to lawmakers. They play a key role in shaping public policy through their expertise and analysis.
  3. Policy Advisor/Consultant (Average Salary: $69,430): MPA and MPAdmin graduates can work as policy advisors or consultants, providing expert advice and guidance to government agencies, politicians, and organizations. Policy advisors analyze complex policy challenges, assess the feasibility of proposed solutions, and provide strategic recommendations. They may work independently or as part of consulting firms, offering their expertise to help clients develop and implement effective policies and programs.
  4. Program Evaluator (Average Salary: $61,803): Program evaluation is a critical component of the policy cycle, ensuring that implemented policies and programs achieve their intended outcomes. MPA and MPAdmin graduates can pursue careers as program evaluators, assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of government initiatives. They design evaluation frameworks, collect and analyze data, measure program impact, and make recommendations for improvement. Program evaluators play a vital role in promoting evidence-based decision-making and improving the effectiveness of public policies.
  5. Government Relations Specialist (Average Salary: $52,716): Government relations specialists, also known as lobbyists or advocacy professionals, work to influence public policy on behalf of organizations, interest groups, or corporations. MPA and MPAdmin graduates with a strong understanding of policy processes can pursue careers in government relations. They engage with policymakers, conduct research, monitor policy developments, and advocate for the interests of their clients. Government relations specialists play a crucial role in shaping public policy by providing expert advice, building relationships, and advocating for specific policy outcomes.
  6. Nonprofit Policy Analyst/Manager (Average Salary: $87,423): Nonprofit organizations often engage in policy analysis and advocacy to address societal issues. MPA and MPAdmin graduates can work in nonprofit organizations as policy analysts or managers, analyzing policy implications, advocating for change, and developing programs that align with their organization’s mission. They may collaborate with government agencies, community groups, and other stakeholders to drive policy change and address social challenges.

These are just a few examples of the public policy jobs available to individuals with master’s degrees in public administration and affairs. The skills and knowledge gained through these programs provide a strong foundation for careers in policy analysis, legislative support, program evaluation, government relations, and nonprofit policy work. Whether working directly within government agencies, research organizations, or nonprofit advocacy groups, MPAA graduates play a vital role in shaping public policies, improving governance, and making a positive impact on society.

Merrimack College’s Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Affairs equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in these career paths. The program’s curriculum is developed by industry experts to align with the skills and competencies sought by hiring managers.