The Future Matters, The Importance of The Master Degree

Your future matters, and there are few things that can have as much of an impact on it as your education. Earning a good degree will provide you with numerous benefits throughout the rest of your life including better pay, more job options, and being happier with where you are in terms of your professional life. Working in a field you love is important, and so is earning a solid salary when doing so. As a result, it's important that you take the time to consider all of your education options. One that can't be overlooked is earning a master's degree.

A master degree is a graduate level degree that signifies to employers and peers that you have gained a mastery of a particular area of focus, hence the name 'master's' degree. The program that leads to this degree provides students with a high level of knowledge in terms of not only practical topics but also theoretical ones. Those who graduate with a master's degree will have high critical thinking skills, a deep level of knowledge about their subject of focus, and be able to solve highly complex problems related to their field.

Earning a master's offers numerous advantages to you. These include:

  • A master's can help you earn higher salaries and better benefits. Those with master's degrees are often the highest paid employees at a company or organization.

  • The degree can make it easier to find employment throughout the world.

  • It also opens up numerous advancement opportunities for you to take advantage of.

In general, earning a master's will allow you to move your career forward even further. And unlike doctorate degrees, which are often more research oriented, your master's degree will allow you to use your skills in a practical setting on a regular basis.

The master's degree is often offered in one of two types – the Master of Arts and the Master of Science. Depending on the subject and the school, students will often focus on research, practical coursework, or a combination of both during the process of earning their degree. They're offered by the most respected schools in the country including MIT and Harvard, and will focus on virtually any field of study.

Master degrees are available for subjects including:

  • Art

  • Architecture

  • Engineering

  • Healthcare

  • Humanities

  • Nursing

  • Public affairs

  • Biology

  • Science

  • Business

  • Computer technology

  • Information systems

  • Communication

  • Law

  • Criminal justice

  • Behavioral sciences

  • Social science

  • And more

Essentially, if there is a particular subject you're interested in or if you're looking for a way to take your career further, there is likely to be a master's degree that will match your needs. Start by identifying the place you want your career to lead, and then determine what kind of master's degree you'll need in order to achieve that goal. The next step is determining which program offers that degree, and choosing the right school and program is one of the most important things you will do when pursuing a master's degree.

These degrees won't be offered by most community colleges or trade schools, and students hoping to earn them will need to enroll in a college or university that is respected and fully accredited.

To find the right program for you, remember the following things.

  • Accreditation is vital. There is no way to avoid the fact that accreditation is probably the single most important aspect of any school and its degree program. Accreditation is awarded to schools that have met the appropriate guidelines for educational excellence, and it's a way for employers to ensure that they're hiring someone who has the skills to fill the position properly.

  • Pay attention to costs and financial aid. College can be expensive, but looking at the costs of different programs could help you find the one that offers you the best value. Additionally, financial aid is very helpful and readily available for those seeking a master's degree.

  • Be sure to understand everything about a program before you enroll. An online masters degree will help you move your career forward in a big way, but you'll want to ensure that you know what to expect in terms of your education. Some programs may be offered online, some could require a final thesis project, some may require hands-on clinical training, and more. Once you know how the program works you'll be better prepared to enroll in it with confidence.

If you're considering a master's degree and you're a working professional, you could be concerned about fitting your education into your current schedule. This is a very valid concern and one that you'll want to consider carefully. Luckily, today it's much more possible than ever before to fit a graduate level education into your life. The biggest reason for this is that online education is available, but there is also the fact that many employers are supportive of their employees going back for a better education.

This is evidenced in the numerous employers who provide tuition reimbursement and other forms of financial aid for their employees. In some cases, you may have an employer who will help you pay for your master's degree as long as you agree to work for them for a specified length of time. Obviously, this is still a fairly rare option but it's worth noting that it does exist, and the number of companies offering it to employees is growing.

Beyond paying for your degree and getting employer support, fitting your master's degree education into your day is much easier thanks to online programs. Many schools today offer master's degree programs, and there are thousands of them available online for you to choose from. As mentioned above, online education offers plenty of other benefits including the ability to work at your own pace and the chance to fit your education into your schedule, no matter how busy it is.

Online programs use things like videos, chat rooms, and message boards to help replicate the traditional experience of learning. Today's online programs are as respected as those earned through the brick and mortar method, and as a result they're gradually growing in popularity. 

If you're considering earning a masters degree online, there are a few key things to pay attention to.

  • Financial Aid – In most cases financial aid will be readily available. However, some scholarships, grants, or loans may not cover online classes. Pay attention to the specifics of the financial aid you're considering so you can ensure that you pay for your education properly.

  • Accreditation – Again, just as with offline programs you'll want to ensure that you verify the accreditation level of the school you're hoping to attend. Without accreditation you're wasting your time.

  • Offline Requirements – The nature of some master's degree programs means that in some instances you'll have to complete hands-on training offline. This is usually handled at the school's campus, though it could be completed at a local hospital or other facility depending on the class and the situation. Be sure you know how you can finish your offline requirements before you enroll.

  • Prerequisites – Obviously, you need to make sure that you qualify for the class before you enroll. A surprising number of people assume that since the class is online, there won't be any requirements for entry. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it's important that you make certain you meet all prerequisites before enrolling.

Earning your master's degree can help you in a big way, and could ensure that your future is incredible. However, it does take a lot of work and will require sacrifices as well as commitment of time and energy on your part. This is true even with online programs, and no matter the subject or the way that you're taking the program, you should plan on putting forth a lot of hard work. In the end it will be worth it.

Accredited Colleges and Universities offering MA / MS Degrees

Programs By Subject