Social workers considering a master’s in public administration online may wonder if online MPA programs will help them net higher-paying jobs in management. An online MPA degree certainly provides the basis needed for students looking to upgrade their skills in leadership and technology. For social workers with a few years of experience, this could be a great career move.
A master of public administration degree focuses on management within the public sector at the federal, state, or local levels. Attending full-time, students can typically complete an online master of public administration in as little as two years. With an online master public administration, graduates can choose from a multitude of jobs in government agencies or for nonprofit groups. There are a wide variety of jobs available under the umbrella of an MPA degree, which makes it easy for students to tailor their careers to match their personal interests.
How We Ranked the Best Master’s in Public Administration Online Programs
To rank the best online MPA programs, the editors at Social Work Degree Center researched legitimate, accredited institutions offering an online master of public administration. Programs are ranked according to their tuition rate, student satisfaction, and graduate salay, using data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. Villanova University
Villanova University offers the best Masters in Public Administration online in the area. Students receive a quality education that provides them with both leadership skills and the ability to effectively manage large projects. Students are taught valuable lessons when it comes to public speaking and dealing with large community events. Earning an online MPA degree gives students the flexibility they need to succeed in any event they choose to participate in.
Villanova University is a leader in its field when it comes to offering accredited degree programs that both teach and inspire students. The university has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence that gives each student an opportunity to advance within their chosen career field. Faculty members have real-world experience that provides students with a new perspective on their chosen career field. Earning an online Master of Public Administration degree from the university opens doors to new opportunities in many areas.
2. Clemson University
Clemson University offers online MPA programs that are designed to provide students with all of the skills and resources they will need to pursue a career in public administration. From public speaking to the organization and management of large community events, students will be able to handle themselves in a professional and ethical manner. With a Masters in Public Administration online degree programs, students can continue to maintain their current employment while finalizing their education.
Clemson University has won numerous awards over the years for offering advanced, accredited degree programs to its students. The university welcomes students from across the world who are now able to enroll in their state-of-the-art online programs. By offering online MPA programs, the university is able to provide students with every possible advantage when it comes to advancing their careers and working with public officials and municipalities.
3. San Diego State University
San Diego State University offers the best online MPA degree program on the West Coast for students who are looking to find work in the field of public administration. These degree programs are designed to provide the knowledge and information graduates need when working within the public administration system. Graduates who earn an online Master of Public Administration degree can find work while still taking their classes.
San Diego State University is one of the country’s most advanced schools of higher learning when it comes to providing state-of-the-art learning environments and academic excellence. The accredited degree programs are taught by award-winning faculty members who have spent many years honing their professional skills. Students can count on receiving the guidance they need, especially during times when they are facing challenges. Faculty members are able to direct them and provide them with the advice and encouragement they need to succeed.
4. Marist College
Marist College offers the best online MPA programs available for students interested in finding work in the field of public administration. Students receive leadership skills and abilities that allow them to effectively manage large projects and take on new responsibilities. With an online Masters in Public Administration, students are ready to move forward with their career much sooner and can continue working at their current job while they attend school. This is important, especially if they have already found work in the field and want to use that position as a starting point.
Marist College offers the highest quality of education possible. Advisors are able to assist students with financial aid and any difficulties they may have when using the online learning platform. Each student has access to all of the tools and resources the school has to offer as well as faculty members who are committed to helping them succeed. Graduates leave college with an online MPA degree that they will be able to rely on throughout their career and whatever professional path they choose to take.
5. Rutgers University Newark
Rutgers University Newark offers an online MPA degree for students who want to work in local government or in public administration. Online learning platforms provide students with everything they would have access to as if they were in a classroom. Each student is given the management and leadership skills they will need to have if they are to be effective at their jobs. The opportunity to learn online allows them to find a job while they are attending class and completing their career.
Rutgers University Newark is a world leader when it comes to providing a quality education both in the classroom and online. It has won numerous awards for outstanding degree programs and state-of-the-art teaching methods that allow students to excel in whatever career path they choose. Students and faculty work together to ensure that no challenge or obstacle slows down their progress or keeps them from achieving their personal and professional goals.
6. University of Baltimore
The University of Baltimore offers the best online Master of Public Administration for students who are driven to succeed. No matter what their career goals are, each student will receive the skills and knowledge they will require to move forward and take on new challenges. The flexibility of an online MPA degree program makes it possible for students to care for their families and still try to reach their educational goals. If they need to work, they can remain on the job while they attend class.
The University of Baltimore is well-known for its professional faculty and award-winning curriculum. The online learning platform uses cutting-edge technology that allows students to study any time, any place. Students have the opportunity to learn what they need just the same as if they were in a classroom. Once they graduate, they have a sense of accomplishment that will give them the confidence to go after the type of jobs they want.
7. American University
The American University offers the best Masters in Public Administration online programs available in our country’s capital. To work in the field of public administration, a student must be well organized and have excellent management skills. They must be able to work well with the public and understand what a community’s needs are. With an online Master of Public Administration and Policy, graduates are able to accomplish all of their goals and be productive members of the public administration team.
American University offers many online MPA degrees for students who want to work with the public in some capacity. The online learning platform offers award-winning curriculums taught by accomplished faculty members who are always looking for new ways to support their students. As students move forward in their chosen careers, taking their courses online makes it impossible to utilize more of the school’s resources. Students are able to lay the foundation for their careers before they graduate.
Degree: Master of Public Administration and Policy
8. University of Miami
The University of Miami offers an online MPA degree program for students who want to make a difference in their world. Students learn how to work within a public administration environment where they will be required to help shape public policy and assist their community in overcoming goals. By earning their Masters in Public Administration online, students are able to take on more responsibility much sooner and are able to maintain a full work schedule due to the flexibility of their classes.
The University of Miami and Laureate Education provide students with the degree programs they need to keep moving forward with their careers. Students have more options available to them that will allow for advancement prior to their graduation. With the support of professional faculty members, students are able to learn from the best. Overcoming obstacles and challenges is much easier when you have a powerful support system.
9. Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University offers an online MPA degree that enables students to continue working and pursuing their careers while they are attending school and completing their education. By offering all of the required skills and abilities, the school is able to give students every opportunity for success. Students who choose to pursue an online Master in Public Health Administration are able to work, learn, and enjoy family time due to the school’s flexible schedule.
Florida Gulf Coast University is a smaller school that offers fewer students per class. Combined with the flexibility and convenience of an online classroom, students get the best education possible. Faculty members are able to work with students one-on-one, giving them the attention they both need and deserve. Each student graduates from the university with an ongoing support system made up of both faculty and their peers. Success is at their fingertips.
10. University of Delaware
The University of Delaware provides students with online MPA degrees that can be useful in terms of working with public policy and finding a job in the field of public administration. Students who enroll in the programs receive the necessary skills to be effective in a public setting. They are able to handle many different situations. With an online MPA degree, students can explore new opportunities within their chosen field, or they may choose to run for public office.
The University of Delaware offers quality degree programs and reputable faculty members who are always trying to support their students. Class size is small compared to most other universities and the online learning platform makes it easy for students to stay on track and keep moving forward. Students who enroll in the school’s online degree programs are offered a flexible schedule as well as a long list of valuable resources they can use whenever they are needed.
11. Syracuse University
Syracuse University offers one of the best Master of Public Administration online degree programs available in New England. The skills and knowledge the student receives enable them to take on new challenges and responsibilities while they are still in school. This makes it much easier for them to reach their career goals and still complete their education. After earning an executive MPA, students have everything they need to manage public events and help mold public policy.
Syracuse University is known for its academic excellence and for providing quality curriculums. Students who attend the school are able to take advantage of a full menu of resources. The online learning platform allows students to interact with their peers as well as faculty members. This creates a unified support system between everyone involved. Students are always connected to one another and to faculty members.
Degree: Executive MPA
12. Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University offers an advanced online Master of Public Administration degree program for students who are interested in working within the government structure of their community or as a community partner. This type of degree offers many different management and leadership skills students can rely on if they intend to succeed. Earning an MPA degree online opens up a new world of opportunity so that students can pursue any job they choose in the field of public administration.
Indiana Wesleyan University is a smaller university that offers big potential for success to students who are interested in taking advantage of every opportunity. Students enjoy smaller class sizes, professional faculty members, and the benefits of an online learning platform that allows them to take on new responsibilities while focusing on their education. Students have the freedom to continue to move forward long before they graduate with their degrees.
13. University of Illinois Springfield
The University of Illinois Springfield has one of the best Master of Public Administration online degree programs in the Midwest. Every student receives the knowledge and information that will allow them to become better managers and more effective leaders, no matter what type of public service they choose to take on. By earning an online MPA degree, students guarantee themselves the opportunity to advance at a much faster rate. They are able to pursue more opportunities and take advantage of them before they graduate.
The University of Illinois Springfield offers a smaller student-to-faculty number than many other schools. Students receive the attention they need and are able to take advantage of many school resources. The university is well-known for its commitment to excellence and strives to ensure that students will always be a top priority. When a student graduates, they leave the program with a long list of resources and a solid network of support.
14. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers an accelerated online MPA degree program that offers students both convenience and an advanced program they can count on to help them reach their goals much faster than ever before. Lessons are condensed so that the material can be absorbed much faster. This results in less time in the classroom and more time for building your career. Students who choose to enroll in an accelerated MPA can expect to graduate six to nine months sooner than if they had signed up for a more traditional degree program.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley can provide students with a learning experience they can rely on. The convenience and flexibility of an online learning platform make it much easier for students to reach their educational goals in a timely fashion. They are able to find a job in the field they are interested in and start establishing a name for themselves. Students can thrive in an environment where they feel secure and valued.
Degree: Accelerated MPA
15. California Baptist University
California Baptist University offers one of the best online Master of Public Administration degree programs on the west coast. Students can enjoy learning over an online learning platform that is designed for both security and convenience. Each student has the opportunity to pursue their degree program in an environment where they feel most comfortable. With an online MPA degree program, students have the option to work and support themselves and their families while finishing their education.
California Baptist University is one of the best faith-based schools in the area that offers quality educational programs. Students and faculty alike are able to enjoy the convenience that an online learning environment provides. Smaller classes are also a plus. The university takes great pride in being able to offer a low student to faculty member ratio. Faculty members work hard to guarantee each student is able to face all of the challenges in their education and succeed.
16. University of Mary (ND)
The University of Mary (ND) offers an online MBA in Public Administration that students can use to build the career they want. Using the school’s state-of-the-art online learning platform, students are able to delve into all of the necessary skills and requirements they will need to be a better leaders and managers within the public sector. Students who enroll in an online public administration master’s degree program can rest assured, they will be on the fast track to success.
The University of Mary (ND) is a faith-based school for students who are closely affiliated with their religious beliefs. The university understands the importance of maintaining the highest possible standards for academic excellence and professionalism. Faculty members continue to go the extra mile to ensure their students are fully prepared for the future. Every student is groomed for success so that when graduation day arrives, they are ready to take on the world.
Degree: MBA in Public Administration
17. Norwich University
Norwich University is proud to offer the most advanced online MPA degrees in the New England area. Each student who attends the school is able to move much further faster due to the quality of the degree programs offered by the school. Students learn how to be effective and efficient leaders as well as how to manage a public office. Students with an online MPA degree are highly sought after since most are able to go to work prior to actually graduating.
Norwich University prides itself on having a limited number of students in each class. No more than 15 students is the rule, so that every student can take full advantage of their learning experience. Most degree programs can be completed in as little as 18 months, making it possible for students to take on more responsibilities and increase their earning potential in a much shorter period of time. They are able to pursue every opportunity without hesitation.
18. Troy University
Troy University offers one of the best and most advanced online Master of Public Administration degree programs available for students in the southeastern corner of the country. Students from all over can enroll in the online MPA degree programs the school has to offer. More students are pursuing their degrees online simply for the flexibility of the program and the convenience of the online learning platform. This makes it easy for anyone to continue their education and earn their online MPA degree.
Troy University gives students every possible advantage by providing them with the highest quality degree programs, valuable resources, and faculty members who bring many years of experience to the table. Students who want to succeed can move forward in their careers while they are still attending school. Job opportunities can be explored long before the student graduates, allowing them to gain valuable experience and earn higher pay.
19. Arkansas State University
Arkansas State University offers one of the best Master of Public Administration online degree programs available in the area. Each student is able to explore the requirements that are needed to be effective leaders within the public sector. Students are able to explore many avenues of public service ranging from holding public office to supporting the community as a member of a city or county management team. With an online MPA in public management, students are on the fast track to success.
Arkansas State University is a known leader when it comes to providing quality degree programs over an online learning platform. Students are able to interact with one another, as well as with faculty members ensuring that they are able to work through any obstacles they may face while pursuing their education. The school makes it possible for students to continue working in their current positions so they can gain experience and support their families.
Degree: MPA – Public Management
20. Kent State University
Kent State University offers an online Master of Public Administration for students who are wanting to explore career options that include service to their communities. Skills such as public speaking, organization, office management, and public relations are part of this diverse degree program. When students develop an interest in earning an online MPA degree program, they are oftentimes already employed within that field and feel that they could have a positive impact on their community.
Kent State University has offered advanced career options for several decades. By offering online degree programs, they are able to reach students far outside of their traditional limitations. Students from all over the country, as well as from around the world are able to take advantage of the quality degree programs and state-of-the-art technology offered by the university. Include the professional faculty members, and you have a win-win situation.
21. University of Alaska Southeast
The University of Alaska Southeast provides each student with the opportunity to enroll in the best online MPA degree programs available. Each student is guaranteed to have the required skills and abilities they will need to compete in the fast-paced environment associated with the field of public relations. Graduates get to be a part of the policy-making process as well as be able to assist city leaders in improving the community on many different levels.
The University of Alaska Southeast gives students a level of academic excellence that is unmatched in the area. Students are able to utilize the school’s vast menu of resources as well as remain connected through the online learning platform. Faculty members can provide each student with the help they need due to the small student-to-faculty numbers in each course. With the advanced online degree programs, students are able to accept jobs prior to graduation.
22. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University offers the best online Master of Public Administration degree programs available for students who want to work within their communities. Students can learn effective management and leadership skills while remaining on the job. They can take advantage of learning opportunities and also apply for jobs long before they are ready to graduate. Each student who earns an online MPA degree is paving the way for a long and lucrative career in the public administration field.
Eastern Kentucky University has a reputation for small class sizes, being military friendly, and offering support services to students so that they can take advantage of every possible opportunity that comes their way. Each student has the option to continue working while pursuing an online degree program. They are able to utilize multiple scholarship options to help keep their educational costs low. When it comes time to graduate, students are ready to take on the world.
23. Belhaven University
Belhaven University offers the best Masters in Public Administration online degree programs in the area. Students gain all of the skills that are beneficial when working in the public sector. From public speaking to office management, each student is given the opportunity to succeed. Students who are interested in holding public office, in any capacity, will greatly benefit from one of the university’s online MPA degree programs. They can begin to explore employment options long before their scheduled graduation date.
Through its advanced online learning platform, Belhaven University is able to reach much farther than the state of Mississippi. Students from all over the country can explore affordable degree options and low student-to-faculty ratios. They will receive a learning experience that will allow them to grow both personally and professionally. With every course they take online, they are able to build a stronger, more resilient career in the field of public administration.
24. Indiana State University
Indiana State University offers students an opportunity to enroll in an online Master of Public Administration degree that will allow them to make a difference in their community. Affordable degrees offer skills that will enable a student to be proficient in every task they take on. They will be able to successfully manage projects and offer sound leadership to those they work with. Earning an online MPA degree is the first step in the process.
Indiana State University is one of the most prestigious schools in the state. Although smaller than some, it offers a level of academic excellence that allows students to be successful in whatever career path they choose. The faculty and staff are experienced and have earned several awards while working in their own careers. Students are able to take on challenges and continue to work full-time jobs while completing their education. They will be ready to move forward long before they receive their diploma.
25. Barry University
Barry University offers one of the best MPA degree programs in the state of Florida. Students can enroll in an online course by using the school’s online learning platform. They can attend their classes from any location and even do their homework while they are on the job. With this type of online MPA degree, students are fully prepared to start working in public administration while they are finishing up their classes. They are only limited by the boundaries they set for themselves.
Barry University is a small school with big resources. State-of-the-art technology allows the school to offer an online learning platform so that students don’t miss out on gaining an education because they have to work to support their families. Each student receives a quality education taught by experienced and professional faculty members. This allows the student to take advantage of employment opportunities whenever they may occur.
Is an Online MPA a Good Choice for Social Workers?
Is a master’s in public administration online right for a particular student? An MPA makes a great fit for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in economics, public policy, political science, international affairs, and other sciences, including social work.
Students pursuing an online MPA program often feel a duty to serve the public. The sector can provide both professional and financial fulfillment. Additionally, an online MPA degree allows students to continue gaining work experience while completing their education.
MPA graduates soon find that their new degree opens a pathway to management with their current employer or a new one. Additionally, many of these management jobs come in rewarding sectors. So, social workers can increase their salary, continue to serve the public and grow professionally with a master’s in public administration degree.
Do I Need Experience for an MPA Program?
It depends on the program a student applies for. Some programs require between two and five years of full-time work experience before they will consider an application. Experience is extremely valuable prior to pursuing an MPA. However, some masters of public administration programs will allow students to complete the experience requirement while they pursue their degree. This may include counting internships as work experience. Other schools will waive the experience requirement in lieu of taking additional classes, while still others don’t require work experience at all.
Rather than pursuing jobs for MPA graduates with no experience, it makes sense to obtain work experience while pursuing the master’s in public administration. In fact, most MPA programs require at least two years of full-time work experience. On the other end of the spectrum, there are several part-time programs that allow students to game work experience through internships and other projects.
Jobs for MPA graduates with no experience include entry-level positions. Searching for “entry level public administration” on any of the major job boards will net a list of employers in the search area seeking new degree holders. If a particular program offers internship opportunities, that’s another way to potentially get a job offer.
ZipRecruiter reports salaries as high as $135,000, but some postings start at $19,500. The average salary for MPA jobs is $63,000, with a range of $38,500 (25th percentile) to $76,000 (75th percentile) for mid-career professionals.
Examples of MPA careers include:
- U.S. Government Cabinet Member
- City Manager
- County Executive
- Financial Manager
- International Finance
- Policy Expert
Do I Have to Take the GRE?
There are many online MPA programs no GRE requirement. However, these schools typically require work experience in place of test scores such as the GRE or GMAT. For students looking for a master’s of public administration degree that waives the GRE requirement, it’s relatively easy to find online MPA programs no GRE requirements.
Instead of GRE scores, students can sometimes submit their undergraduate GPA, an admissions essay or documentation of their work experience.
Both midcareer professionals and students just starting their careers can benefit from an online masters of public administration. These programs teach students the importance of data and research and analysis to aid in decision-making.
The admissions process in every school varies. Some universities like to review an applicant’s statement of purpose rather than basing their judgement on standardized tests. Additionally, other schools waive the GRE requirement for students who have two to years of experience, depending on the program. Further, students with at least 3.0 GPA and their undergraduate program may not have to submit GRE scores.
Social workers who choose to pursue an MBA can do so online. Some schools do not require a GRE or work experience, making it easier for students to further education. Salary data indicates that social workers with an MPA can increase their salaries significantly while working in the same field or pursuing a different career path.