Last Reviewed: July 14, 2021

Consider an online MPA program currently accepting applications.

Click for online MPA programs that are currently taking applications.

The 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Public Administration

The Masters degree in Public Administration can provide careers in various fields throughout the United States. Depending on specialty, individuals may find that there are great financial opportunities available in very different sections of the private and public sector. From financial careers to careers in management, there is something for almost everyone in this line of work. Graduates wanting to make the most out of their public administration degree program can view some of the top online MPA programs, or you can continue on to read about the best paying careers prior to choosing a specialty.

Consider a Featured Online MPA Program

University / School Online Program Admissions
Johns Hopkins University AAP
Master of Arts in Government Website
Drake University
Master of Public Administration Website
Aurora University
Online MPA (one year) Website
Johns Hopkins University AAP
MA in Non-Governmental Organization Management Website
University of Delaware
Master of Public Administration Website

The guts of public administration degree programs involve a strong focus on leadership techniques and methods that are common in public agencies. In some cases, having a public administration degree can express higher education in topics that are necessary for effective leadership in many public organizations that are concerned with providing helpful services to society as a whole.

An Overview of a Career in Public Administration (then on to the list)

Some of the highest paying jobs for people with this degree are found within leadership positions at various companies in the U.S. The highest paid jobs list below shows how top positions in finance, education and healthcare can be the most profitable for those interested in pursuing this type of degree.


Consider an online MPA program currently accepting applications.

Read along in the list below to see if you would be qualified to obtain one of these high paying positions in the field of public administration. In each write-up of the highest paying jobs, we have included what might be the best MPA degree, as well as salary information in 2020 compared to a previous year.

List of the Top 10 Best Paid Jobs Within Public Administration

Listed below are the top ten highest paying careers within public administration for individuals with a Masters in Public Administration.

10. Financial Analyst – $81,590

Financial Analysts can be found in banks, nonprofit organizations, or even nationally known businesses. These professionals assist companies with making smart and beneficial investment and spending decisions. Financial planning is a necessity for companies that wish to get the most out of their business. Companies rely heavily on the expertise of financial analysts to monitor and track financial transactions so that business is conducted efficiently. On average, financial analysts earn $81,590 per year (BLS, 2020), vs. $80,310 per year back in 2015.

MPA Degree to Consider: MPA in Financial Budgeting


Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $81,590
BLS, 2015 $80,310

9. Urban Planners – $74,350

Urban planners are the leading source of information for accommodating growing communities and promoting proper utilization of resources throughout urbanized areas. These professionals are vital to cities that are experiencing a population growth or simply wanting to make their cities more comfortable for the community. By changing local facilities and upgrading existing structures, urban planners can create areas that are more functional for large communities. The salaries of these professionals vary depending on location and city size, so the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates salaries for this profession ranging from $42,940 to $102,200 per year, and an average of $74,350 as of 2020.

MPA Degree to Consider: Economic Development MPA


Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $74,350

8. Logistician – $74,750

Logisticians are found in nearly every industry. It is the responsibility of the logistician to monitor the transfer of products or services from the beginning stages of development to delivery. Since most employees within organizations are only responsible for specific sectors or branches of an organization, logisticians provide a very valuable service to the companies in which they work. Depending on location and industry, salaries can vary for this position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that logisticians earn between $45,830 and $115,960 per year, and a median salary of $74,750 as of 2020 data.

MPA Degree to Consider: Masters of Public Affairs


Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $74,750

7. Medical/Health Service Manager – $100,980

Medical/health service managers are a major part of the smooth operation of hospitals and medical centers. In the busy healthcare environment, medical or health service managers can be found overseeing a staff, planning effective policies, and coordinating healthcare services. These managers can potentially be found in specific clinical areas or overseeing operations for an entire hospital. On average, medical/health service managers earn around $100,980 per year as of 2020 compared to $94,500 per year in 2015 (BLS).

MPA Degree to Consider: Masters of Public Administration

Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $100,980
BLS, 2015 $94,500

6. Training and Development Managers – $113,350

Most companies require training and development for their employees. In order to incoming employees to learn the basic requirements or safety procedures for their company, training specialist must properly inform them of the company’s individual requirements. Training and development managers plan, coordinate, and implement effective training programs for employees in various organizations. These managers are vital to the efficiency of companies and have the potential to earn $113,350 per year as of 2020, compared to 2015’s statistics of $102,640 per year on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

MPA Degree to Consider: MPA


Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $113,350
BLS, 2015 $102,690

5. Executive Director – $104,690

Executive directors are the overseers of nonprofit organizations. These professionals are responsible for hiring new employees, budget management, and staff management. Executive directors monitor the company as a whole to ensure that the business practices being conducted are efficient and effective. The executive director is the leader of nonprofits and provides a great deal of service to his or her respective company. The BLS reports that executive directors earn $104,690 per year on average as of 2020.

MPA Degree to Consider: MPA


Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $104,690
BLS, 2015 $102,690

4. Public Relations Manager – $116,180

Public relations managers deal directly with public opinion. It is the responsibility of public relation managers to provide support to clients and provide a great influence into the opinion of others. Public relations can be an important part of how popular a business is within the public eye. Since all business is reliant on how involved the community is, the public relations manager is the lead source of publicity for a company. On average, Public relations manager can earn around $116,180 in 2020 vs. $104,140 per year in 2015, depending on their area and business (BLS).

MPA Degree to Consider: Masters of Public Relations or Online MPR


Average Salary Range: $104,140

Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $116,180
BLS, 2015 $104,140

3. Human Resources Manager – $116,720

When it comes to the administrative functions in a business, the human resource manager is the go-to person for information. It is this manager that plan, coordinates, and implements the various administrative factors that go into a successful business. Human resource managers are responsible for managing pay and benefits for employees as well as assisting in strategic planning for better business practices overall. Dealing with both intra-company employees and business clients, human resource managers having a variety of responsibility. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that these professionals earn $116,720 as of 2020, compared to $104,440 per year on average in 2015.

MPA Degree to Consider: MPA or Online MPA

Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $116,720
BLS, 2015 $104,440

2. Financial Managers – $129,890

Financial managers are responsible for monitoring the overall financial health of the organizations in which they work. Without an able financial manager, it would likely be impossible for businesses to exhibit successful financial planning. Strategy is the key to success in this line of work, as it is needed to plan and organize financial decisions that can have a direct impact on how well a business performs. Financial managers typically earn around $129,890 per year as of 2020 compared to $117,990 per year in 2015, according to the BLS.

MPA Degree to Consider: MPA in Finance or MPA in Economics


Average Salary Range: $117,990

Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $129,890
BLS, 2015 $117,990

1. Chief Executive Officers – $193,850

At the top of the private sector, chief executives, or CEOs, are the leaders of large private organizations. This career differs from the executive director in that CEOs are typically found in private organizations rather than public service or nonprofits. These directors are responsible for the everyday operations of various types of companies and provide strategies for reaching goals and meeting guidelines for future business. CEOs typically oversee hiring decisions and cooperation with other organizations. This is a top tier career option for individuals wanting the most out of their degree program. These directors have the potential to earn $193,850 (BLS, 2020), vs. $185,850 per year on average back in 2015.

MPA Degree to Consider: Masters of Public Administration, MPA in Finance or MPA in Economic Development


Year, Source Average Salary
BLS, 2020 $193,850
BLS, 2015 $185,850

A Few Other Public Administration Careers

  • Financial and Insurance Management: Public administration degree programs are great options for upcoming leaders in the public domain. One of the most chosen fields for administrative professionals is in financial departments of large-scale organizations all over the country. Finance and insurance managers may be a part of a large team of professionals that are responsible for undertaking the financial duties of the company in which they work. These professionals can earn around $102,070 per year in the U.S. (BLS).
  • Education Administration and Management: Another field that is highly influenced by public administration specialists is the field of education. In this field, professionals may investigate educational needs of social areas, implement policies and lead teams that guide school systems to educational success. Those that obtain a career involved with the field of education can work to make a difference in the quality of education within their area and can earn around $89,970 per year on average (BLS).
  • Healthcare Administration: Healthcare administration specialists may work in specialized medical fields or oversee the operations of busy hospitals in the country. These leaders may bear a large responsibility in their positions, including those that are concerned with financial management, employee training and patient care. The average income for healthcare administration specialists is $86,430 per year (BLS).

Top Public Administration Employers

Public administration is an incredibly widespread field that influences many different public organizations. The skills learned throughout degree programs in this subject can be applicable to many different professional areas, including those that apply indirect skills in this program. Some sectors of society are more popular for public administration graduates, since the topics and interests of these organizations are aligned with the main points provided in public administration degree programs. Healthcare, for instance, can allow professionals in this field to engage in policy review, development and leadership practices that are heavily focused on during the educational experience. Graduates of these programs can also regularly be found in non-profit agencies as well as state and local government offices.

  • Healthcare
  • Business/Non-Profit Agencies
  • State/Local/National Government

Public Administration Occupations – Wages, Growth by 2024

Below is a list of many different jobs that you may consider with a public administration degree.

Public Administration Career Program
% Employment Change
AVG Median
Chief executives Public Administration -1.20% $175,110
Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates Law 0.60% $126,930
Lawyers Law 5.60% $115,820
Law teachers, postsecondary Legal Studies 21.70% $105,250
Public relations and fundraising managers Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication 7.10% $104,140
Advertising and promotions managers Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication 4.70% $95,890
Medical and health services managers Health Policy Analysis 16.90% $94,500
Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers Law -3.60% $90,600
Transportation, storage, and distribution managers Public Administration 2.20% $86,630
Financial examiners Financial Forensics and Fraud Investigation 9.70% $78,010
Geographers Geography -1.60% $74,260
Sociologists Research Methodology and Quantitative Methods -0.70% $73,760
Postmasters and mail superintendents Public Administration -26.20% $70,640
Technical writers Technical and Scientific Communication 10.20% $70,240
Producers and directors Radio and Television 9.10% $68,440
Emergency management directors Critical Incident Response/Special Police Operations 6.20% $67,330
Broadcast news analysts Journalism -12.60% $65,530
Multimedia artists and animators Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects 6% $63,970
Social and community service managers Human Services 9.50% $63,530
Communications teachers, postsecondary Communication 9.70% $63,410
Social work teachers, postsecondary Social Work 13.90% $63,390
Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes Sports Communication 2.50% $62,940
Film and video editors Photojournalism 17.60% $61,750
Writers and authors Communication 2.30% $60,250
First-line supervisors of correctional officers Corrections 3.10% $59,720
Transit and railroad police Security and Loss Prevention Services 3.50% $59,670
Criminal justice and law enforcement teachers, postsecondary Corrections 21.40% $58,770
Social workers Social Work 3.80% $58,560
Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators Law 9.20% $58,020
Public relations specialists Communication 6.20% $56,770
Fire inspectors and investigators Fire Prevention and Safety Technology/Technician 5.50% $56,730
Editors Communication -5.30% $56,010
Legal support workers Legal Assistant/Paralegal -0.40% $53,920
Sound engineering technicians Communications Technology/Technician 7.60% $53,330
Healthcare social workers Social Work 19.30% $52,380
Health educators Health Communication 12.20% $51,960
Judicial law clerks Law -6.30% $50,740
Set and exhibit designers Design and Visual Communications 6.80% $49,530
Court reporters Court Reporting/Court Reporter 1.50% $49,500
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists Social Work 3.60% $49,360
Camera operators, television, video, and motion picture Radio and Television Broadcasting Technology/Technician 2% $49,080
Paralegals and legal assistants Legal Assistant/Paralegal 7.60% $48,810
Marriage and family therapists Social Work 14.80% $48,600
First-line supervisors of protective service workers Securities Services Administration/Management 4.60% $46,900
Meeting, convention, and event planners Facilities Planning and Management 9.90% $46,840
Private detectives and investigators Criminal Justice/Police Science 5.20% $45,610
Counselors Social Work 11% $45,530
Media and communication workers Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia 10.30% $45,220
Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers Legal Assistant/Paralegal -0.30% $44,370
Legal secretaries Legal Administrative Assistant/Secretary -4.10% $43,200
Eligibility interviewers, government programs Community Organization and Advocacy 1.60% $43,170
Social science research assistants Social Sciences 5.60% $42,480
Child, family, and school social workers Juvenile Corrections 6.20% $42,350
Mental health and substance abuse social workers Social Work 18.90% $42,170
Community and social service specialists Developmental Services Worker 8.20% $41,890
Bailiffs Criminal Justice/Police Science 4.70% $41,670
Correctional officers and jailers Corrections 3.70% $40,530
Prepress technicians and workers Graphic Communications -24.60% $38,270
Broadcast technicians Communications Technology/Technician -6.50% $37,490
Community health workers Health Communication 14.90% $36,300
Printing press operators Printing Management -12.50% $35,240
Photographers Photojournalism 3.10% $31,710
Radio and television announcers Communication -14.30% $30,960
Social and human service assistants Developmental Services Worker 11.40% $30,830
Etchers and engravers Graphic Communications -2.70% $29,810
Public address system and other announcers Speech Communication and Rhetoric 2.90% $26,930
Legislators Public Administration -0.70% $20,500

Search Online Colleges by State

There are over 2,500 colleges with online degrees in our database. Many students find that there are universities that offer their programs online, but are in their vicinity. The majority of students studying online actually chose a college that is close to them, or at least within their region. Simple click on the state of your choice to view all of the online colleges in your state.