Graduate Education and Federal Career Success: How Well Does the MPA Stack Up?
25 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2008
Date Written: August 2008
Using a one percent sample of federal personnel records for 1983 through 2003, we compare the career success of employees with master's degrees in public administration to those of employees with bachelor's degrees or graduate degrees in other fields - especially law, business administration, and the social sciences, the degrees most likely to compete for our students. Federal employees with master's degrees in any field tend to be one grade higher and to earn 13 to 16% more than comparable employees with bachelor's degrees. Although federal employees with law degrees earn substantially more than other graduate degree-holders, MPAs have salaries, grades, and supervisory authority comparable to those of MBAs and those with master's degrees in the social sciences.
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