Master of Public Administration (MPA)
If you would like to change the educational landscape by implementing policies and developing programs, then a career in public administration might be for you. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a degree that focuses on public service or nonprofit management. The program prepares students for management and executive organization on a local, state and federal level in different sectors, which include government service, education, community management, nonprofit organizations and more.
If you choose to specialize in education in the public administration field, you will manage policy issues in leadership positions of primary, secondary and higher educational systems. Some MPA programs require you to participate in field internships to hone your administrative, policy making, communication and research skills.
A master's degree from an accredited institution may be required to become a practicing school administrator. This, along with state certification, will allow you to become an administrator at any grade level.
Before you begin the application process, be sure to contact your accredited institution for information about any prerequisites you may need to fulfill. Depending on the requirements of the program you are applying to, you may be asked to submit some or all of the following items:
- Application: Fill out an initial application, which you can find on the website of the accredited institution of your choice. Paper and online forms are both generally accepted.
- Bachelor’s degree: You should have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution prior to applying to an MPA program.
- Transcripts: Request transcripts before the application deadline, and upload one official copy of each transcript from any postsecondary schools you have attended.
- Experience: Include any relevant work experience in public administration.
- Personal statement: Write a personal statement, which is typically in the form of an essay. You may be required to submit multiple essays to fully express the intent and purpose of your application. Below are some common topics that should be mentioned in a statement.
- Your main academic and personal interests
- Experiences in school or work that have helped to prepare you for this course of study
- Why you wish to study for the degree you’ve chosen
- Why you wish to study at the university
- Your plans for the future after you earn your degree
The curriculum and number of credits required to complete a master’s program vary widely depending on your school and specialization. However, a typical MPA program includes courses in:
- Policy process and policy analysis
- Public management
After completing an MPA program, the next step is to get licensed. This certification will enable you to officially work in the field of your choice. Every state has its own licensure requirements for becoming a school public administrator. The average annual salary for school administrators in elementary and secondary schools ranged from $70,840 to $107,900 in 2015. School administrators can work at the elementary through high school level.
In addition to these common school administrator roles, there are also specializations and different roles that a graduate with an MPA degree can pursue:
- District administrator: This role provides service to a school system as a district level administrative officer.
- Principal: This role provides service to a school system as a district level executive officer.
- Supervisor: This role oversees and maintains daily activities within a school system and ensures that standards are being met.