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What is an MBA in Public Administration?

To prepare for a career in public service, a student will need an advanced degree in public administration or a related field, such as political science or public policy. Employers at research firms, PACs, and government agencies hire individuals who understand how government works on the local, state, and federal level and who excel at formulating change and inspiring action. Competition is projected to increase as more policy-makers, coordinators, and analysts enter the field; an online MBA in public administration can separate you from the pack.

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An MBA in public administration online programs are diverse and allow students to specialize in areas like economic development, policy analysis, or urban planning.

After earning an online master’s in public administration, expect your salary to grow throughout your career, nearly doubling by the time you achieve seniority. Given the increasingly competitive nature of the public-sector field, an online MBA in public administration is key to career advancement and job opportunity.

Comparison of Public Administration Master’s Degrees

An MBA in public administration online programs are diverse and allow students to specialize in areas like economic development, policy analysis, or urban planning. The curriculum of each public administration MBA online program differs in courses taken, length, and requirements, but all build upon a core understanding of the structure, policy, and protocol of the public sector.

Degree Description Average Salary (1-4 years experience) Length
Master’s Degree in Public Policy Students learn to evaluate, oversee, and implement public policies. This degree requires mastery of analytical method, with core courses covering the essentials of policy analysis, negotiation, and ethics. Students present competencies through fieldwork prior to graduation, and prior relevant work experience is required for many courses. $47,500 2 Years
Master’s of Arts in Political Science Political scientists are experts in governmental process and political systems. Social science’s core curriculum covers the quantitative method, including the use of polls and surveys. It also encompasses analytical writing and the ability to broaden perspective, assess alternatives, and implement policy. Graduates work in fields including law, business, and public service. $55,955 2 Years
Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Public Administration The MBA in public administration is equivalent to the general MBA for business students and creates more career options for graduates. The curriculum overlaps with the public administration master’s degree online program, but also tackles business-focused courses, such as marketing. $52,421 2 Years

Graduates of the online MBA with public administration concentration are equipped with core competencies that work across industries in the public and private sectors. Courses from the best online schools for public administration are designed to teach students how to analyze, assess, and implement solutions. Below, we look at typical MBA in public administration online courses.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Public Health Work with and in health agencies at the local, state, or federal level, and ensure public health programs are adequate, maintained, and ultimately improved upon. TITLE: Public Health Specialist

SALARY: growth of 4%

Strategic Planning Present plans of action that are effective and responsible; weigh the consequences of policy shifts, and implement change to transform an organization, program, or community. TITLE: Director of Development & Fundraising

SALARY: growth of 7%

Budget Management Develop organizational budgets and apply a comprehensive understanding of the fiscal aspects of management in the government and public sectors, including not-for-profit and nonprofit organizations. TITLE: Job Program Manager

SALARY: growth of 2%

Graduates with an MBA in public administration work across various industries, including jobs in the corporate world. Graduates typically pursue careers in the public sector. Here, we break down popular roles.

Program Coordinator, Non-Profit Organization Median Salary: $40,638
  • Civic society/group
  • Environmental NGO
Program coordinators ensure the success of nonprofit programs, handling all phases of development, including budgetary concerns, staff decisions, and implementation of strategy.
Policy Coordinator Median Salary: $41,356
  • Public health organization
  • University
Public policy coordinators assess, plan, and implement policy agendas. They also handle issues related to grants, special-interest groups, and stakeholders.
Program Outreach Coordinator Median Salary: $40,165
  • Public health organization
  • Community center
  • PAC
Program outreach coordinators develop and implement outreach efforts, targeting individuals, groups, organizations, and other donors. They also identify potential partners and submit proposals for engagement.
Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Adams State University

Location Alamosa, CO Tuition Tuition $15,120 % Receiving Financial Aid 63% Student Population 3,404 School Type Public
Concentrations
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Concordia University - Ann Arbor

Location Ann Arbor, MI Tuition Tuition $27,261 % Receiving Financial Aid 74% Student Population 899 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Concordia University - Wisconsin

Location Mequon, WI Tuition Tuition $27,261 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 8,268 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Golden Gate University - San Francisco

Location San Francisco, CA Tuition Tuition $54,810 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 2,735 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Liberty University

Location Lynchburg, VA Tuition Tuition $20,340 % Receiving Financial Aid 66% Student Population 80,494 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Lincoln University

Location Jefferson City, MO Tuition Tuition $10,476 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 2,944 School Type Public
Concentrations
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Northwest University

Location Kirkland, WA Tuition Tuition $29,055 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 1,236 School Type Private
Concentrations
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Southern New Hampshire University

Location Manchester, NH Tuition Tuition $22,572 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 61,285 School Type Private
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University of Mary

Location Bismarck, ND Tuition Tuition $15,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 65% Student Population 2,872 School Type Private
Concentrations
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If you’ve decided that an MBA in Public Administration is right for you, then it is time to start narrowing down the list of schools you are interested in. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school that is within a 100 mile radius of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy having the ability to visit campus if they want to. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area will have a better chance of helping you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools will readily provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, be sure to contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When looked at side-by-side, this information can give you an easy glimpse of program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Make sure you calculate the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate, and multiply that by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and time you will spend not earning an income. Additionally, compare financial aid options, different schools may offer better financial aid packages and/or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs will require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be sure that you are aware of all time commitments and that they will fit into your current schedule.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    The main objective of getting your MBA in Public Administration is to find a secure job with a healthy salary in a field you enjoy. To that end, attending school that is well connected with local businesses can be a fantastic leg up upon graduation. Many of these partners will offer internships to students that can lead to full-time employment or provide the network and experience you need to get a job elsewhere.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program adhering to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire job candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Public Administration program is actual students and graduates. They can give you an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, what they have liked, and what they have disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

Various scholarships have been established to aid the development of future leaders, policy-makers, and political scientists looking to forge careers in public service. Award amounts range from $1,000 to full tuition fellowships, averaging at $3,000. Scholarship programs for public administration students are competitive and favor those who show academic excellence and a commitment to public policy and a life of public service.