Career Prospects with a Master’s Degree
While not all master’s degrees are created equal, earning a postgraduate degree does bring merit to most career paths. In addition, studying for a master’s degree increases a student’s critical thinking skills, provides contacts within their desired industry, and focuses generalized undergraduate studies into a particular area of interest. Career prospects can bloom for graduates of an accredited master’s degree program, particularly in one of the following fields:
- Master of Science, Physician Assistant Studies: In a time of increased health care budget freezes, even nurses can have difficulty in finding work. Physician’s assistants often have more autonomy than registered nurses, and their pay is significantly more than registered nurses, at an average yearly wage of $98,880. Master’s in physician assistant studies are typically 2-year programs.
- Master of Science, Computer Software Engineering: Graduates with advanced skills in computer software engineering can find work as managers, developers and trainers, with a median salary of $110,550 per year. Job prospects for computer software engineers are growing rapidly, with an expected 27% increase in the next decade. Master’s degrees in computer software engineering are 2-3 year programs, and are offered at both private and public institutions, giving students many options for schools.
- Master of Business Administration, Finance Concentration: Not all MBAs offer the same job prospects, and focusing an MBA in the financial arena provides the best career opportunities for graduates. With the possibility of becoming financial managers, department supervisors and consultants, MBA graduates with a focus on finance earn an average of $124,000 per year. In addition, many schools offer MBA programs online, which give the student the possibility of attending school part-time and working, reducing student loan debt.
- Education: Many states require teachers to earn a masters of education, a masters in teaching, or a master’s in arts, to earn a permanent credential. While teachers do not earn a great deal more for their efforts, the degree is transferable within states and districts and gives teachers far more job opportunities in an area of the field they feel is especially important. Teachers should be cautioned, however, to avoid pricey private schools, as their teaching salary is not likely to increase enough to meet heavy student loan payments.
- Social Work: Employees in the field of social work will reach a point in which they are unable to advance their careers without a masters in social work (MSW). While a master’s is not required to retain employment, it gives graduates the freedom to pursue a field of social work that particularly interests them, and gives job stability. As with education, social workers are cautioned against taking out heavy student loan debt as they rarely increase their pay significantly with this degree.
- Master of Nursing: Nurses can move their careers into areas that fit their scope and interest with an accredited MSN degree. While a master’s degree is not required for nurses, it is the vehicle for working nurses to become nursing managers, clinic managers and educators. Nurses holding a master’s degree earn an average of $99,000 per year, significantly more than their counterparts.