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Career Outlook: Master of Arts in Public Administration Jobs and Salaries

Apply Your Skills and Knowledge to a Wide Variety of Public-Facing Positions

  • 2018 annual median pay for an Administrative Services Manager was $96,1801.
  • Public administration positions are expected to see stable job growth at an average of 6%, depending on the industry1, 2&3.
  • The nonprofit sector, which commonly employs public administration professionals, has grown 20% over the past 10 years.4

With your Master of Arts in Public Administration (MAPA), you will be well prepared for an impactful career, whether you’re helping the public through a public agency, taking on a role in local government, or supporting an organization in the private sector.

The skills you take away from this program are applicable to employment in a variety of fields and in an enormous variety of positions nationwide. Let’s take a look at what you can do with a master in public administration across the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

“I have learned many new skills that I am already putting into practice. For example, the capstone course is conducted in real-time at my employer and I am working to create new licensing processes and procedures for the city where I work. Eventually, this will lead to some ordinance amendments as well as the production of a new licensing manual for the city.”

– Karin Derauf, Public Administration, M.A. ‘20

What Can You Do With the MAPA?

Employers such as Anthem Blue Cross, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Amazon, Deloitte, Accenture, and General Electric are all on the lookout for graduates with a master’s in public administration.

Compensation varies widely based on industry, your experience level, and other factors, but here are a few master’s in public administration jobs and salaries:

Top Executives $104,9805
Program Manager, Nonprofit $51,1676
City Administrator $71,4717
Human Resources (HR) Manager $113,3008
Director of Development, Nonprofit $64,4369
City Mayor $56,48810
Operations Manager $64,34111
Program Director, Nonprofit $55,12512
Management Consultant $87,55213

Nonprofit Organizations

In this rapidly growing sector, which has grown 20 percent over the past 10 years4, you’ll find a wealth of career opportunities. With a master’s in public administration, you could join a nonprofit as an administrator, program manager, policy analyst, or researcher.

You’ll find opportunities in numerous charities, foundations, trade associations, NGOs, research organizations, and more. If you’re interested in nonprofit work, first identify a field or cause you’re passionate about, then look for nonprofits working toward that cause.

Career Snapshot: Social and Community Service Managers

In this position, you might work at a social or human service organization, and you would typically focus on assisting one specific demographic, such as children, veterans, people who are homeless, or older adults.

You’ll work with your community to identify the most essential programs and services, report on program effectiveness, write proposals for social services funding, and more.

Average annual income: $65,32014

Government and Politics

  • As more municipal and regional entities assume administrative responsibilities, you will find many opportunities in local and state government. You could work as a city manager, financial administrator, budget analyst, social services administrator, urban planner, community affairs manager, and more, for counties, towns, school districts, and municipalities.
  • The master’s in public administration has career applications in the political world as well. You could work as an administrator for a political action, educational, or public interest group; for a political party or lobbying organization; or on a campaign.
  • The federal government needs individuals with administrative skills to keep agencies and departments running efficiently. You would be well qualified for administrative and policy positions in federal departments, the offices of senators and representatives, the U.S. court system, and independent agencies.

Career Snapshot: Urban Planner

As an Urban and Regional Planner, you would develop community spaces, help revitalize area facilities, and manage initiatives to solve community issues—from planning parks and attracting new businesses to building homeless shelters.

You’d confer with public officials regarding land usage, review developers’ site plans, and keep up to date on zoning and building codes and regulations, among other daily duties.

Average annual income: $75,05015

The learning outcomes of this program are applicable to privately owned businesses as well, especially ones that work with the public or public-facing organizations. Examples include companies that do government consulting and handle hiring and training for local governments, or profit-driven pursuits that meet the needs of nonprofits and public agencies.

Career Snapshot: Human Resources Manager

As a Human Resources Manager, you would oversee hiring, recruiting and benefits programs, act as a liaison between employees and upper management, mediate disputes, and plan and direct your organization’s administrative functions. You would also consult with your employer’s top executives around strategic planning and talent management.

In smaller organizations, you might oversee all aspects of human resources, while in larger ones, you could manage a specialized focus, such as compensation.

Average annual income: $113,3008

No matter your sector or role, your master’s in public administration will prepare you to do meaningful work that positively impacts your colleagues and your community, and Saint Mary’s can help you get there.

Find out what your career can look like with the online M.A. in Public AdministrationRequest more information or contact an enrollment counselor at 877-308-9954.


1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Administrative Services Managers. Retrieved from

2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Top Executives. Retrieved from

3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Human Resources Managers. Retrieved from

4(2016). Nonprofit Sector Growing Faster Than For-Profit. Retrieved from

5Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Top Executives. Retrieved from

6Payscale. Average Program Manager, Non-Profit Organization Salary. Retrieved from

7Payscale. Average City Administrator Salary. Retrieved from

8Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Human Resources Managers. Retrieved from

9Payscale. Average Director of Development, Non-Profit Organization Salary. Retrieved from

10Payscale. Average Mayor Salary. Retrieved from

11Payscale. Average Operations Manager Salary. Retrieved from

12Payscale. Average Program Director, Non-Profit Salary. Retrieved from

13Payscale. Average Management Consultant Salary. Retrieved from

14Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social and Community Service Managers. Retrieved from

15Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Urban and Regional Planners. Retrieved from