2022 Guide: Online NASPAA (Public Administration) Accredited Degree Programs

NASPAA approval signals that a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program upholds the highest educational standards, making this accreditation a valuable addition to any resume. Now you can study NASPAA-accredited online MPA programs and earn your degree from home without attending a physical college. 

Enrolling in an online MPA program with NASPAA approval prepares you for a new career in public administration and could increase your earning potential in job roles such as economist, city manager, and urban and regional manager. Learn more about these online degrees below and the career opportunities they provide. 

What Is NASPAA?

The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) is a not-for-profit organization that accredits master’s degree programs in public administration. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes NASPAA as the leading accreditation agency for MPA degrees in the United States. 

Studying for an MPA degree with NASPAA accreditation provides students with various benefits. Many employers in the public administration sector value this accreditation and only consider job applicants who have graduated from NASPAA-approved programs.

Founded in the 1970s, NASPAA promotes educational excellence for the public service and has accredited more than 280 public administration, policy, and management programs in the U.S. 

NASPAA Accreditation

NASPAA-accredited programs have passed a stringent peer-review process, and these degrees comply with the highest standards of public service education. Students looking to kick-start their careers in public administration, therefore, find MPA programs with NASPAA approval highly desirable.  

Graduates with NASPAA-accredited degrees have learned the skills required for high-paying public administration roles. These skills include:

  • High-level analysis
  • Leadership abilities
  • Knowledge of public administration in a global context
  • A deep understanding of administration, economics, finance, and urban planning 

The Accreditation Process

Any school that offers an MPA program can apply for NASPAA endorsement. NASPAA reviews applications annually and adds approved programs to its Roster of Accredited Programs. Even after a school has achieved accreditation, it must abide by NASPAA’s high standards of educational quality. Otherwise, a school can have its accreditation revoked. 

What Is an Online NASPAA-Accredited MPA Program?

An online NASPAA-accredited MPA program lets you study for a master’s degree in public administration over the internet. You won’t have to commute to a physical college or live on campus. 

Students of NASPAA-accredited online MPA programs take part in webinars, video tutorials, and online workshops via a learning management system (LMS). Communication with tutors, academic staff, and other students takes place online. 

These online programs might benefit students who want to:

  • Maintain work, family, or travel commitments while studying for an MPA.
  • Save money on travel and accommodation costs.
  • Enroll in a program at a college in another city or country without moving to that location.

Many employers value those who study an online MPA because these students often develop skills they can’t learn in a traditional classroom. These skills include self-motivation, effective time management, and independence. Students from online programs can apply these skills to their future careers.

Online Curriculum

NASPAA-accredited schools must conform to the organization’s educational standards. However, there are no stipulations about the specific courses these schools must teach. Online MPA programs, therefore, can differ depending on the learning provider. Here are some skills you might learn in one of these programs:

  • Public policy
  • Urban planning
  • Administration
  • Leadership
  • Human resources 
  • Financial management
  • Development management 

NASPAA also doesn’t stipulate any standards for grading an MPA. Some schools require you to complete a dissertation about a public administration topic that interests you. Other schools include examinations after each completed course or ask you to sit a final exam toward the end of the program. 

You might undertake an internship in a public administration role at a local government agency, federal government department, or not-for-profit organization during your studies. This work experience helps you develop additional skills that prove attractive to future employers, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. 

Before enrolling in an online MPA with NASPAA endorsement, research the school and talk to the program director about the career opportunities available to you when you graduate. 

NASPAA-Accredited MPA Program Requirements

MPA programs, both online and at physical colleges, typically expect you to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. Some schools require you to complete the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) before applying to their program. You might be able to forgo the bachelor’s degree requirement if you have several years of work experience in a public administration role.

When applying for NASPAA-accredited online MPA programs, you will submit required documents to the program director at the school of your choice over the internet. These documents might include academic transcripts, evidence of work experience, and references from tutors or previous employers. You will also submit a personal statement that explains why you want to study for an MPA at that school. 

Online NASPAA-Accredited MPA Program Costs

MPA program costs vary depending on the school. However, online degrees often work out cheaper than those at physical colleges because there are no travel or accommodation costs. You can also take extra classes at weekends or evenings and reduce the time to graduate. Applying for a scholarship or grant can lessen the costs associated with an MPA.

An online NASPAA-accredited Master of Public Administration at Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University, costs $1,001.69 in tuition per credit for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Career Opportunities

An MPA with NASPAA accreditation could lead to various high-paying job roles. The mean annual wage for an urban and regional planner — a popular job for MPA graduates — is $79,410, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (Data correct as of May 2020.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $38.18.

The top-paying states for urban and regional planners are:

  1. District of Columbia: $113,680 (mean annual wage)
  2. California: $95,840
  3. New York: $93,330
  4. Washington: $86,460
  5. Oregon: $86,380

The top-paying metropolitan areas for urban and regional planners are:

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $109,910 (mean annual wage)
  2. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA: $108,860
  3. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $107,810
  4. Santa Rosa, CA: $104,780
  5. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $103,940
  6. Salinas, CA: $100,170
  7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT: $99,940
  8. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA: $98,660
  9. Bakersfield, CA: $98,490
  10. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA: $97,380

The mean annual wage for an economist — another popular job for graduates from NASPAA-accredited MPA programs — is $120,880, according to BLS. (Data correct as of May 2020.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $58.11.

The top-paying states for economists are:

  1. New York: $150,160 (mean annual wage)
  2. District of Columbia: $144,110
  3. California: $131,500
  4. Maryland: $126,960
  5. Vermont: $118,230

The top-paying metropolitan areas for economists are:

  1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: $153,610 (mean annual wage)
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $148,980
  3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $142,580
  4. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD: $137,200
  5. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: $132,430
  6. Cleveland-Elyria, OH: $130,190
  7. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL: $126,600
  8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: $123,600
  9. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $121,650
  10. Ogden-Clearfield, UT: $119,370

What Are the Benefits of an Online NASPAA-Accredited MPA Program?

Here are some benefits of enrolling in NASPAA-accredited online MPA programs:

Flexibility

NASPAA-endorsed online MPA degrees provide more flexibility than those taught at conventional colleges. You can balance work and family commitments with your online studies, learn public administration topics at a time that suits you, and further your education from any location in the world. You won’t have to travel to a physical location or pay campus accommodation costs.

Attract Future Employers

Online MPA programs with NASPAA accreditation prove to employers you have the required skills for a high-paying role in public administration. Recruiters highly value these accredited degrees because they prove graduates have a deep understanding of topics like economics, administration, public policy, and urban planning.

Increased Earning Potential

Because recruiters value graduates with NASPAA-accredited degrees, you could increase your chances of landing a high-paying job with a local government department, federal government department, not-for-profit agency, or similar organization.

NASPAA Accredited Schools in the US

SchoolLocationDegree Program Name
Baruch College, CUNYNew YorkMaster Of Public Administration
California State Polytechnic University, PomonaCaliforniaMaster Of Public Administration
California State University, Long BeachCaliforniaMaster Of Public Administration
Columbus State UniversityGeorgiaMaster Of Public Administration
Marist CollegeNew YorkMaster Of Public Administration
Norwich UniversityVermontMaster Of Public Administration
Nova Southeastern UniversityFloridaMaster Of Public Administration
San Diego State UniversityCaliforniaMaster Of Public Administration
Southern Illinois University at EdwardsvilleIllinoisMaster Of Public Administration
Texas A&M UniversityTexasMaster of Public Service and Administration
The Ohio State UniversityOhioMaster Of Public Administration
University of Colorado DenverColoradoMaster Of Public Administration
University of Southern CaliforniaCaliforniaMaster Of Public Administration

Summary 

  • NASPAA-endorsed MPA programs take around two years to complete full time. If you enroll in an online program, you can reduce this time frame by taking extra classes in the evenings or on weekends. 
  • NASPAA-accredited online MPA programs take place entirely online so you can further your education from any location in the world. 
  • Completing an internship during your studies could help you develop new skills for future public administration job roles. 
  • You will learn various topics during an MPA program with NASPAA accreditation. These topics include administration, public policy, urban planning, and financial management. 

  • Many recruiters favor job applicants who graduate from NASPAA-approved MPA programs.  
  • Enrolling in an online MPA program could increase earning potential and lead to various career opportunities. 
  • Studying for your degree online lets you maintain any family, work, or travel commitments. 

  • The cost of a NASPAA-accredited MPA degree varies. Online programs can be cheaper because you won’t have to pay for travel or campus accommodation costs.
  • An online NASPAA-accredited Master of Public Administration at Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University, costs $1,001.69 in tuition per credit.
  • Applying for a scholarship or grant can reduce the cost of your education.

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