The online Master's of Public Administration at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is an excellent program for professionals from any background. This is one of the few online programs that does not require prerequisite courses for students without any work experience in public administration. The MPA at UNC-Pembroke also offers four concentrations: Public Management, Emergency Management, Criminal Justice, and Health Administration. Students will find a robust program that focuses on the different aspects of public administration; the concentrations will provide further study into one particular area of the field. Students can expect to complete 42 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a comprehensive exam. Internships are also required, but students with Director-level work experience may apply for a waiver. Sample courses include Human Resource Administration, Leadership and Administration in Public Affairs, and Principles of Budgeting and Finance.
10 Most Affordable Master’s in Public Administration Online
An online Master’s in Public Administration may seem like an odd choice for working professionals, but for those interested in working with governmental agencies or not-for-profit charities will find that the degree is an exceptional choice to advance to mid-level and senior-level positions within the workplace. And with so many employers seeking graduate-level professionals, there has never been a better time to take a look at online programs.
The programs listed on this ranking will help any professional reach their career goals. Most offer various concentrations, fieldwork experiences, research opportunities, and more. These programs can also be completed faster and a professional’s own time, making it easier for them to reach their goals.
The ranking itself began with research done using the National Center for Education Statistics and it’s publicly available College Navigator database system. By researching tuition rates, online student retention, and more, NCES found an initial pool of 140 schools was created. The resulting ranking was narrowed down to the final 10 by looking at in-state graduate tuition rates.
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Most Affordable Master’s in Public Administration Online
Our Methodology, Explained
Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.
Metric Data Used Percentage Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 30% Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 10% Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 30% Program Offerings Number of program options 20% Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%
A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Master’s in Public Administration Degree?
An online Master’s in Public Administration opens the door to several different career options for working professionals, including:
- Public Administration
- City Manager
- Policy Analyst
- Urban Planner
- Nonprofit Director
- Grant Writer
- Budget Analyst
- Law Enforcement
- Human Resources Manager
There are several more, but these are just a few of the options available to public administration professionals. Whether a professional wants to enter the public or nonprofit sector, the military, or embark on their own freelance work, there is something available to everyone.
Most professionals work in the public or nonprofit sectors. They take on roles such as analyst, administrator, or executive of different bureaus, agencies, or nonprofit organizations. These are the two most common sectors for these public administrators to find work in. Those students that have earned a concentration may find other career options available to them; homeland security, public health, and intelligence are just a few of the industries that are currently looking for graduates in this field.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The current average salary for a student with an online master’s in public administration is approximately $80,000. This salary can range wildly, however, depending on how a student chooses to use it. From differences in working in the government or nonprofit sector, to a range of careers available to a student with this degree, the salaries can look vastly different.
For example, professionals who work in government agencies make an average of $40,000 to $95,000. This salary range encapsulates everything from public administration managers to directors of bureaus and everything in between. Additionally, these government professionals also have a great benefits package that includes health insurance; students will find plenty of jobs available at the local, state, and federal levels.
Professionals who work in the nonprofit sector can make anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000. Just like in government agencies, the actual salary depends on whether they have taken an entry-level or senior level position. While many nonprofit agencies cannot afford to provide a comprehensive benefits package, larger and international nonprofit organizations often have higher salaries than their government counterparts. These jobs can also be more competitive and often require a facile understanding of one or more languages.
Professionals with this degree are ready for a variety of careers, as evidenced in the above question. This means that graduates can interview for a variety of entry-level positions as well as mid-level to senior level positions. It also means that their salaries will fluctuate to meet the standard of the position they have taken.
Specializations, also known as concentrations, also play a vital role in salary. If a student has a concentration that is in high demand, they will find themselves with salary offers that are higher than a professional who has no concentration at all. Students are advised to consider concentrating in one core area of public administration in order to meet demand and earn higher salaries.
What are the Various Disciplines of Public Administration?
Public administration has several different disciplines associated with it, not least of which is administration. Because most who take on this role become public administrators, this should come as no surprise.
But there are several others. For professionals who work in the government sector, they are tasked with understanding United States government, economics, history, policy, law, politics, and much more. For those who work in the nonprofit sector, the disciplines of nonprofit management, law, international law, policy, advocacy, history, and policy play a role.
Nearly every public administrator will also have to contend with finance, accounting, human resources, data, analytics, computer science, and technology. Depending on a student’s chosen field of concentration, they will also be tasked with understanding all of the disciplines that fall under that subfield of public administration.
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Why is it Important to Find an Accredited Online Program?
Many online students think that the only difference between an accredited program and an unaccredited only program is the quality of education. However, there are a few critical reasons why every student should endeavor to find an accredited online program; in public administration, this should be mandatory.
One of the main reasons remains that yes, there is a quality of education that is delivered by accredited schools that unaccredited schools simply cannot guarantee. These schools have maintained a level of academic excellence that enables them to carry that accreditation; the application process can take up to two years and is very complex. And because both regional and specialized accreditation are distinctions of a quality education, they tend to also be preferred by employers.
Specialized accreditation isn’t as important as regional accreditation to the educator’s eyes, but the accreditation of a program can expand a student’s job opportunities. This is because many employers, especially in the public administration field, require someone who has received an exceptional education that adheres to the climate of the field. It can also be a distinction that sets students apart from other candidates.
A more important reason to find an accredited program, specifically regional accreditation, is that these schools can receive payment in the form of federal assistance programs. This includes FSA and FAFSA applications. For veterans, it means that their benefits and military tuition assistance funds can be used at these schools
While accreditation may seem like such a small thing at the beginning of the hunt for an online Master’s in Public Administration, it remains valuable to both students and employers. All students should only focus on accredited schools. Thankfully, there are many schools, including those on these rankings, that has just the accreditation that they need.
Why Do Schools Require an Internship for an Online Degree in Public Administration?
The field of public administration is difficult to comprehend without experiencing it firsthand. There are dozens of facets that make up this role. From politics to finance, economics to social services, the role of a public administrator can change from hour to hour.
That’s why many graduate schools require an internship for this degree, even for online students. Having work experience, while still in school, enables professionals to see the amount of responsibility and the duties they have waiting for them when they enter the workforce. It also gives them the chance to network, with a possibility of having a job offer when they graduate.
But not all schools mandate internships for students. Some, including a few on this list, offer internships as optional. Others do not require it all because their admissions requirements mean that all of their graduate students already have work experience in the field.
Public administration continues to be a large part of everyday life, even if most in the field don’t realize it. Without the help of these professionals, government services would not work, and so it’s important to understand how critical their education can be. More professionals will be ready to do the hard job of keeping the American government working with an online Master’ sin Public Administration under their belt.
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s in Public Administration Online.
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