As part of's series on Master's of Public Administration (MPA) programs and their importance to government administrators, talked to Ellen Rosell, an associate professor and MPA program director at Troy, Ala.-based Troy University.

Mid-career and upper level managers in public and nonprofit organizations can achieve an MPA degree at various Troy University locations in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, and through Troy's online delivery system, eCampus. All courses for the MPA degree are available online. Because Troy has MPA students all over the world and in numerous time zones, the online courses do not meet at certain times or days and offer opportunities to complete the entire MPA curriculum anytime and from any location.

The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) has accredited Troy's MPA program, including its online degree offering.

Govpro: Is 2011 a good time to earn a Troy MPA for government administrators and others in the audience?

Ellen Rosell: As civil service employees retire, a growing number of jobs in public sector organizations are opening up in federal, state and local governments; in international, national and local non-profits; in multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, UN, Asian Development Bank and other regional organizations; and consulting agencies. Jobs in government, education and health services continue to increase despite job losses in the private sector.

Govpro: Does Troy have any advice for the audience on choosing an MPA program?

ER: When considering an MPA degree, look for an NASPAA-accredited program, which successfully meets standards for professional master's degree programs in public affairs, policy and administration. The NASPAA standards are the quality benchmark used by graduate public service programs around the world. Graduating from an accredited program assures one's prospective employer of adequate training and preparation for a career in public service.

Govpro: Can you describe Troy's government contracting certificate?

ER: The Troy University MPA program's online graduate certificate in government contracting offers new opportunities for public and private sector professionals who want to strengthen their skills in managing government contracts and develop a more thorough understanding of the contracting process. The four courses for the certificate are designed for contract administrators, contract managers, sales or business development managers, project managers, or others responsible for contracting projects. Instructors who teach the courses hold a Ph.D. or J.D. and certifications from the National Contracts Management Association or Federal Acquisition Institute, Defense Acquisition University or Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act.

View a collection of Troy videos, including a video of Chancellor Jack Hawkins sharing his thoughts on Troy University's programs.

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