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Where do MPA/MPP graduates work?  What do they earn?

Employment Trends

MPA/MPP graduates are found in a wide variety of workplaces, but are especially attracted to the public and nonprofit sectors.

NASPAA's Alumni Survey allows us to gather valuable information about graduates of schools that provide public affairs education. 

The data we collect in this survey provides important information to our schools regarding alumni's thoughts on the education they've received and how getting their MPA/MPP has impacted their job prospects. In addition, the data we collect will allow us to provide more detailed information to prospective students in the field regarding the types of jobs and earning power they can expect upon receiving an MPA/MPP.
(For NASPAA Data related questions please contact

Download the full results of 2015's Inaugural Alumni Survey!


Salary trends

Starting salaries for MPA/MPP graduates vary greatly by sector, geography, and work experience, among other factors.  We present salary data supplied by several NASPAA member schools, which are great examples but may not be applicable to all MPA/MPP graduates.


What could be my starting pay working for the federal government?
The federal government has a General Schedule (GS) pay scale that is based upon “grades” and “steps.” The links below show how much an individual earns at each grade and step. MPA/MPP graduates usually enter the federal government at GS-9, or at GS-11 if they have relevant work experience. In 2017, a GS-9’s annual pay starts at $43,251, while a GS-11’s starts at $52,329. Federal workers are usually promoted within their grade in 1-2 “steps” per year.

You can view the whole table by clicking here. Pay is also based on cost of living (geographic area). For example, a GS-9’s annual pay in Washington, DC starts at $54,972, a GS-11 at $66,510.  See the whole table for the DC Metro area.


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