Well before any post-secondary educational endeavors were ever planned, a master’s degree was part of the plan for many people. Others might contemplate the idea of getting a master’s degree while in pursuit of their bachelor’s, and for some, the idea of pursuing a mas degree didn’t come until well after they earned a bachelor’s degree. These pursuits also prompt many questions, beginning with what is a master’s degree exactly?
Questions like what is a master’s degree, how do you get one, what is the cost, and how to choose the right school demand answers and explanations. Investigating these and other questions starting with where it begins, this is a quick guide to understanding what a master’s degree is and understanding how they work.
What is a Master’s Degree?
The textbook definition of a master’s degree would be an advanced and specialized graduate degree. While this type of post-secondary credential is often an extension of study within the same field, that isn’t necessarily a requirement. Many master’s degree programs will use other undergraduate degrees to envelop other disciplines into new fields of study.
These are a few areas of study that offer master’s degrees:
- Art & Design
- Business & Management
- Computers & Technology
- Criminal Justice & Legal
- Education & Teaching
- Liberal Arts & Humanities
- Nursing & Healthcare
- Psychology & Counseling
- Science & Engineering
These are some of the most common areas or fields of study that students pursue a master’s degree in, but the benefits of getting a master’s degree far exceed its definition.
The Real and Practical Benefits of a Master’s Degree
Yes, there is an instant level of prestige and honor that comes, as it should, with putting in the effort and time it takes to earn a master’s degree. In addition to having the honor, privilege, and right to hang that plaque on the wall, are the real and practical benefits of having a master’s degree.
There are more than a few dream jobs that can only be made a reality with the help of a master’s degree. If a career in the medical field such as a Director of Nursing or anesthesiologist position is the goal, then a master’s degree is the only way to get there. Dreams of being a CEO are only dreams until an MBA is in hand, as most companies require a master’s degree in business for these roles, and the list goes on. Landing that dream job is one of the greatest benefits of getting a master’s degree, and in many cases, it is the only road to that dream job.
It is no secret that many positions that require advanced degrees or specialized training typically pay better than most average jobs. With a master’s degree, not only is that true, but the world of six-figures is also a realistic and common arena of people who have earned their master’s.
Here are a few numbers from a recent report regarding six-figure positions for master’s degrees:
Biochemists and Biophysicists – $114,930
Astronomers – $105,680
Architectural \ Engineering Managers – $140,760
Anesthesiologists – $267,020
Computer and Information Systems Managers – $142,530
Economists – $104,340
Financial Managers – $127,990
It doesn’t take long to realize too, however, that these aren’t your typical everyday store clerk or cashier positions. And with that comes the benefit of being part of a rare and select group.
Based on recent census reports, earning a master’s degree instantly puts people in rarified air as only 13 percent of collegians go on to earn a master’s degree. Along with that special group of people also comes the prestige and respect of peers, neighbors, friends, and the community. It is difficult to quantify how much that is worth, but some might say it’s priceless.
Reaching that rare stratosphere, however, begins with choosing the right path of flight. When it comes to how to get master’s degree information, there are nearly as many options as there are courses of study.
The Different Types of Master’s Degrees
This is a look at some of those aforementioned fields of study and their corresponding master’s degrees.
Art & Design
This degree is generally given the Master of Arts (MA) designation and includes several fields of study. Those areas include English, Sociology, Geography, and Communication, to name a few. The primary teaching mediums for MA programs typically involve lecturing, research, and writing. Like most all mas degree programs, a thesis should also be an expected requirement. Most Master of Arts programs can also be finished within three years.
Business & Management
The Master of Business Administration degree, or MBA degree as it is more commonly known, is a highly-sought degree. In large part that is due to its flexibility in career options that can span nearly any industry. In addition to this being the natural next step for those in the study of business and administration, but also for those in fields such as finance and market research analysis.
Education & Teaching
One of the most respected degrees and most noble endeavors any student can make is to become an educator themselves, and few honors rank higher than the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree. These honored degrees often involve special teaching certification or licensing, and can complete these programs within three years. For career educators, the pursuit of doctoral studies is often the next step.
Liberal Arts & Humanities
Those pursuing degrees in the liberal arts are likely going to find themselves seeking a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in any advanced graduate degree programs. This type of master’s degree is nearly hyper-focused on artforms. These can photography, dance, creative writing, and many others, which open this type of degree to many bachelor programs in the arts and humanities arena. These types of degrees also lead to careers as educators or in the arts, from artist to art director.
Nursing & Healthcare
A Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is one of many routes someone in the medical field can pursue. Many MPH programs are the stepping stones for careers as healthcare administrators, epidemiologists, and other medical areas of study. These are generally two-year programs, and doctoral studies are also an option following the successful completion of the MPH program.
Psychology & Counseling
Most everyone who ends up pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, has at least some background and schooling in the studies of either psychology or counseling, if not both. As it might be expected, MSW degrees are most often found working in the arenas of mental health, social work, healthcare, and family services. The MSW program can often be completed in under two years depending on the applicant’s earlier educational criteria. Licensing is also required for social work in many states.
Science & Engineering
There is a vast field of opportunity for anyone seeking a Master of Science (MS) degree. While these programs typically take up to three years to complete, MS degrees often lead to careers in exciting vocations like political scientists, economists, and information research scientists, among others. Graduates in the fields of study that include chemistry, engineering, and computer science are often strong candidates for MS degrees.
Of course, this isn’t an extensive list or even a thorough review of each type of master’s degree. There are many more types of postgraduate degrees and master’s programs, and finding the right one will require more than a read or an overview. And it will also require meeting some requirements too, remember, this is rarified air.
What are the Requirements for a Master’s Degree?
The different requirements for obtaining a master’s degree will vary from each type of degree to each educational institution. Arts and Medical degrees may require the completion of certain projects or the performance of certain tasks. Common themes among master’s degree requirements include writing a thesis, having completed a bachelor’s program, and fulfilling the specific credit hours for the master’s degree program.
How Much Does a Master’s Degree Cost?
The average cost of a master’s degree is in the range of $25,000, with plenty of variables to sway that medium. While that might seem somewhat high as the typical master’s degree is typically completed within two to three years, it isn’t all that surprising considering graduate students have always had higher tuition costs.
Online Master’s Degree Programs
Today there are more than a few accredited and quality online master degree programs, and part of the key is getting reliable help when figuring out how to get master’s degree information such as cost, requirements, and program details. The great news is that the difference in level of instruction and benefits of an online program in comparison to classroom and campus settings are essentially non-existent. That is, of course, unless the benefits of reduced cost and convenience of online degree programs count.
To learn more about online degrees, from associates to bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, contact bestvalueschools and let us help you to make sense of finding the right school and the right programs for you and your future.
Choosing an Online Master’s Degree Program
There are many aspects to factor when considering an online master’s degree program. These include verifying the school’s accreditations and credentials, to learning about the qualifications of the instructors, and even about the requirements and demands of the class and coursework of the program.
Don’t worry, there is help and there are answers, and it also gets easier the more you learn and the more you understand, you know – a lot like education. If you have questions or if you are looking for help choosing the right master’s degree program, we can help. Contact us today, and let us help to put you and your career on the right path.
There are many common questions regarding the different types of master’s degrees. Below are some of those questions along with some basic answers, but always be sure to confirm the details about the school and the program you are looking at.
How Difficult is the Curriculum for a Master’s Degree?
There are inevitably going to be challenges within a master’s degree coursework. The level of difficulty of that work, however, is generally no more difficult than the road to earning a bachelor’s degree, and arguably less difficult without requirements such as typical prerequisite courses.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Master’s Degree?
In some cases, some master’s degree courses can be completed in less than two years, although that isn’t typical. While every schedule and master’s degree program will be different, it generally takes two to three years to complete a master’s degree with most programs completing in under three years.
Is a Master’s Degrees Worth the Time, Effort, and Money?
The easy answer is yes, but in the end, it is a personal decision. Master’s degrees open up careers that can considerably increase our income, they carry a level of prestige and honor, and the present opportunities we would never have without having one. Are they worth it? Only you can answer that question.
What are the Differences Between Online and Classroom Instruction
The difference in the classwork, assignment, and even material studied are minor at most, and there is typically no difference in the type of studies, demands, or time involved in actual studying, instruction, and testing. If there is any significant difference at all, it is the convenience of being able to attend class from home and the money and time saved traveling to and from classes.