Want to advance your law enforcement career? The objective of the Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree is to prepare graduates for advanced careers in public service. There is currently a demand for law enforcement professionals who are familiar with criminal justice theories and practices, and have management skills that are required for leadership positions. For established law enforcement professionals, an MPA graduate degree provides the foundation for administrative and managerial positions within the criminal justice system.
Master Of Public Administration
The MPA degree is frequently referred to as a professional degree, which means it’s meant to be the highest-level diploma for professionals who intend to apply what they learn in the workplace. Students in MPA programs come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds. Many law enforcement officers who hold an undergraduate degree in a technical subject, such as criminal justice, earn an MPA degree in preparation for increased responsibility and career mobility. The MPA provides the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as an administrator in a public sector career.
In addition to advancing into managerial positions in city and state law enforcement agencies, MPA graduates can move into positions with the U.S. Department of Justice. They are qualified for leadership roles with federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshall Service, the Secret Service and the Border Patrol.
The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration sets the standard for MPA program curriculum. Top MPA programs typically include core leadership courses as well as courses related to an area of concentration. The general topics covered by the core curriculum include management concepts, ethical decision making, research methods, public finance, policy formulation and program implementation.
The MPA curriculum also focuses on governmental topics that are especially relevant for law enforcement professionals, including constitutional rights and procedures, policy development and implementation, and organizational behavior. Graduates of MPA programs have gained perspective on the collaboration between private citizens and the public sector, and are prepared to solve public sector problems through policy analysis and program management.
Many top MPA programs that offer a concentration in criminal justice allow students to focus on legal and ethical issues, community relations, criminal justice policy, and public financial management for law enforcement agencies. The concentration prepares graduates to meet the growing demand for trained and educated law administrators in law enforcement, criminal law, the court system and corrections.
Besides an MPA with a concentration in criminal justice, law enforcement professionals have the option of earning dual graduate degrees in public administration and criminal justice. The graduate degree in criminal justice allows students to focus on theories related to criminology, law and society. Students typically enroll in separate programs at the same university and earn a master’s degree in criminal justice as well as an MPA.
A wave of upcoming retirements will open up middle- and upper-management positions in the public sector in the coming decades. Law enforcement professionals who are ambitious and want to be seen as viable candidates for management positions can benefit from a graduate-level professional degree. An MPA with a criminal justice concentration is one of the best graduate degree choices for law enforcement professionals since it provides advanced knowledge in criminal justice as well as the skills required for effective administration of public agencies.
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