Did you recently complete your bachelor’s degree, but you are finding that you still aren’t quite satisfied with your level of education or training? Or, perhaps you completed your bachelor’s level degree quite some time ago and now that you have gained some relevant work experience you are ready to add to your level of training and education? Maybe you are the student who knew that pursuing a master’s level degree would always be in your educational future. No matter which of these scenarios best fits your situation, a master’s level degree program will surely increase your marketability in the work place. In addition, you should be able to experience a higher rate of pay, as you can expect to have less educated employees working under your direction and supervision.
It is important to understand that before a traditional college or university will accept you into their graduate level program you may be required to have completed an undergraduate degree program in a relative field of study. However, there are some learning institutions that will allow students to have an undergraduate degree in a field that is different from the one they are pursuing their graduate level degree in. Although the specific length of a master’s degree program will vary from one student to another and from one program to another, you can expect a program such as this to take between two and three years to complete. It is also quite common for students who are working on a master’s level degree to be required to complete an in-depth research paper, a thesis, or perhaps even an internship.
While the specific prerequisites will vary from one learning institution to another, and perhaps even from one degree program to another, an aspiring graduate student will likely be required to have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0. You can also expect to be required to submit numerous letters of recommendation that will vouch for your character attributes and your abilities, your college transcripts that will attest to your academic performance, as well as a written selection that will describe your goals, dreams, aspirations, and your complete career and educational plans. It is also common for students to be required to earn a successful score on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). However, if you plan to pursue your graduate level degree in the field of law then you will likely be required to complete the LSAT (Law School Admission Test).
These days one of the most important things when researching what type of program you want to enroll in is the strength of the job market in the vertical you want to enter into. With the current unemployment rate ranging between 4-8% depending on your location it is vital that you choose are area of education that gives you the highest chance for employment.
Master of Science Degree – Earning your MS, M.S, S.Sc, M.Sci are those individuals who study areas in science medicine and engineering. You’ll study mostly areas in mathematics focused on concentrations in humanities and social sciences. The average graduate these days will learn school with over $42,000 in debt. The different type of careers available with your Master’s degree include: Software Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Software Developers, Project Manager and even Mechanical Engineer.
Master of Arts Degree – Many who enter into getting their M.A or A.M degree typically study areas in linguistics, communications and political science. Career possibilities after graduation include: Human Resource Manager, Executive Directors, Marketing Managers, HR Specialists and Licensed Counselors. Salaries range from $44,000 to over $150,000 depending on career.
Master of Fine Arts Degree – Also known as a MFA degree it is a graduate level degree that requires usually 2 years of course work. As the name would suggest the degrees offered range from the performing arts to graphic design type degrees including: photography, dance and theatre.
Professional Science Master Degree – When earning your PSM degree it focuses on those interested in a career in mathematics, chemistry and bioinformatics. There are over 250 different PSM programs available with over 6000 people who have earned their degree. The median salary ranges from $65,000 to over $95,000 for those who earn their PSM degree.
Why Accreditation Matters When Choosing a Master’s Degree
It is vital that when you decide to start school that you find a colleges that is fully accredited. The Master’s program needs to be accredited by the Department of Education. Only they can fully approve an accrediting body that eventually accredits a school. Not all accreditations are created equal and many have higher standards and are harder for schools to belong to than others. Regionally accredited schools tend to be harder for colleges to get approved from than Nationally accredited school. When it comes time to transfer credits, students usually find that colleges will accept credits from other accredited colleges and universities if they were granted by a Regionally accredited school.
In the US there are essentially six regionally accredited agencies that approve colleges and universities. These bodies include: Sothern Association of Colleges and Schools, Higher Learning Commission, Northwest Commission of Schools and Colleges, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Credit transfers are just one of the reasons why finding the best accreditation is important to you as a student. An active accrediting body is involved in things such as learning outcomes and even best practices in education for schools. The accrediting body verifies programs are being taught at a professional level and that the programs lead to job opportunities. They also review and set standards as it applies to completion and placement rates for the college. This information is provided to all students prior to enrolling so you fully understand what percentage of students graduates and more importantly how many of them get jobs in their field.
Top Online Master’s Degree Programs
When researching the right Master’s degree for you be sure to look into all of the different areas. The below 4 areas of concentrations are the most common.
Business Master’s Degrees – One of the most popular areas of concentration of post graduate degrees are in business. This area contains some of the highest salaries for any Master’s degree ranging from $61,000 to over $160,000. Graduates often go into fields of study in accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality management, human resources, risk management, management and public administration.
Education – With your Master’s in Education degree (M.Ed.) or Master of Arts in Technology (M.A.T) it will allow you to apply for more administrative management and special education rules at a school. You’ll more likely to be chosen to be a team leaders with your new advanced degree.
Psychology – Nowhere is it more important to have a higher end degree than in the psychology field. Areas of study include forensic psychology, marriage and family therapy, sports psychology and addiction psychology. Be sure to first confirm your state’s licensing requirements first before enrolling in any advanced degree in psychology.
Healthcare – Although most careers in healthcare don’t require a Master’s degree if you are interested into going into the administrative side of healthcare then a Master’s is recommended.