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The MPA is the public sector's equivalent to the private sector's MBA. The degree is a professional degree that prepares individuals to serve as managers in the executive arm of local, state, and federal government, and increasingly in non-governmental agencies (NGO) and non-profit sectors. The degree teaches students about executive organization and management.
The core curriculum of a typical MPA program usually includes courses on microeconomics, public finance, research methods / statistic, policy process and policy analysis, public financial management, managerial accounting, ethics, public management, leadership, planning & GIS, and program evaluation / performance measurement.
Depending on their interest, MPA students can focus their studies on a variety of public sector fields such as urban planning, emergency management, transportation, health care, public health, economic development, urban management, community development, education, non-profits, information technology, environmental policy, cultural policy, and criminal justice.
According to Payscale, the average salary for a worker with a Master of Public Administration ranges from a low of the mid-$40,000 to a high of $140,000, depending on the occupation. Highest salary opportunities are for Executive Directors and Director of Operations positions. See http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master_of_Public_Administration_(MPA)/Salary for more information!