Many citizens in this country are advocates for change in their society and communities. Are you that person and that wants to grow your professional career by obtaining a degree in Public Administration? Whether you are an entry-level student with internship experience or a professional who seeks advancement in their careers, there are MPA programs that are fit for all walks of life. If you want to pursue an MPA degree, you should want to learn how to take a problem solving approach to public management. An MPA degree can also prepare you to meet the needs and overcome challenges of public service. As you maybe excited to want to pursue public service, there are some challenges that you should consider when making the best choice for your advanced degree.
Traditional vs. Online Degree
To get the most out of your educational experience, you first need to decide whether or not you want to go to classes on campus or online. Many recent graduates who may not be working full time usually prefer the traditional method of classes because that is the most recent learning environment that they are accustomed to. On the other hand, those students who already work in the field may decide to pursue their MPA degree online. Schedule restraints at the job, raising a family and other life priorities can make attending a class on campus a challenge. An online degree program allows you the flexibility of time to learn at anytime, 24/7, with online support with digital books and libraries.
Minors and Dual Degrees
As you continue to search for a degree in public service, an important factor to advancing your career is choosing a career path. Many programs offer minors in other subjects. School programs also call them “tracks.” You could schedule particular classes tailored to your career track in public service. These tracks may include law, non-profit, environmental management, and healthcare. For those who seek to obtain a dual degree, there are programs that offer Public Policy degrees, J.D. degree, IT, and criminal justice. It is a challenge choosing a program with additional specializations as many of the dual degree programs are commonly in traditional classroom settings.
Internship, Capstone, or Colloquium Requirements for Graduation
Based upon your lifestyle, learning preference, and geographical location, a very important challenge that you also may face is completing the graduation requirements for your degree. Depending upon your program, you may have to complete numerous hours of paid or non-paid field experience related to our MPA degree. For working professionals who are seeking advancement find that the internship requirements are easier to finish because they are already working in a profit or non-profit experience. For recent graduates with little or no experience, completing an internship will be tough because the organization that you may want to intern at may not be approved by your program, you may need to work and internships your qualify for are un-paid, or you live in an area where interning at a profit or non-profit organization may be limited due to a rural area.
Capstone and Colloquium courses are usually a 1-2 week collaboration courses with fellow colleagues of the program. Usually this class is a requirement for online programs and offered twice in a semester or quarter. The administrators schedule workshops to discuss numerous topics in public service that includes local, state, and federal government. Guest speakers from numerous organizations present their knowledge and experience in their organizations with offering sound career advice in how to utilize your MPA degree. Even though these courses are informative, the challenge is the duration of the course. Federal financial aid doesn’t cover the cost of this class. If you are enrolled in a online degree, you will have to travel to the main campus of the university to complete these courses. Be prepared to pay for the class, travel, and accommodations for the duration of the course.
With facing these challenges as you pursue your MPA program, not all programs are the same, and there is a program out there for you to meet all of your career goals and objectives. You want to ensure that your advanced degree that you will pay for, spend a lot of time studying for, and training for will benefit you in the end and that you can finish and advance so that you can challenge issues of public service today.