Master's Degree Programs Online
More Opportunities, Better Pay.
What is a Master’s Degree?
It is an academic degree granted to those who have demonstrated advanced mastery of a specific area of study or practice. Generally the degree is earned after a Bachelor’s has been awarded, and typically takes about two or three years to finish the programs.
There are many different types of degree programs available. The most common include the Master of Arts (MA) and the Master of Science (MS). The difference between them depends on the school; in some cases, all graduates are given an MA or there is no significant difference between the two. In others, an MA designation is reserved for degrees in the humanities, while MS degrees are given in science and math subjects. In still others, a few liberal arts requirements, such as a foreign language class, will be waived for MS degrees.
Why earn a Masters degree?
For some careers, this type of degree is required and for others, it is highly suggested. In some states, you must earn a Master’s in Education to teach in public schools—either prior to hiring, or within a certain number of years after.
Engineering and scientific research positions typically require an advanced degree, if not a PhD. Some advanced nursing positions require a Masters in Nursing. Other positions, including physical therapist, require a graduate degree as well.
Even in careers where graduate degrees are not required, holding one can help with career advancement and qualify you for better pay. If you want to earn a Doctorate and don’t have the grades or test scores to gain admission, earning a Master’s can be a good strategy—it demonstrates your commitment to the field and allows you to show schools a stronger GPA record in graduate school. Many students who don’t gain admission to PhD programs with a Bachelor’s degree can earn it after successfully completing a Masters program.
How much can you earn with a Masters degree?
Of course, earnings vary widely depending on a situation, industry, and job, but in general, graduate degree holders earn $400,000 more in their lifetimes than those with a Bachelor’s.
What is entailed in earning a Masters?
Most traditional and online programs take approximately two years to complete. During the program, students take seminars and classes, and may be required to complete a thesis at the end.
Professors generally expect a higher level of critical thinking and analysis from this level student than undergraduates, both in writing and in class discussions. Some programs include comprehensive written and oral exams. Others may require a period of applied clinical practice.
How much does a Masters degree cost?
Degrees can be quite expensive—as much as $50,000 per year at some top schools.
Federal grant and loan aid is available to graduate students, although not as wide a range as there is for undergraduate students. Graduate students are assessed based on need; however, typically a parent’s income is not included in the calculations. Some programs offer research and work-study grants for their students, that can subsidize a significant amount of tuition. Working professionals may be able to get tuition assistance from their employers.
Can you earn a Masters degree online?
There are many different online degree programs available, some from traditional schools with an online component. Online programs are often ideal for working students who need to fit their studies around a full-time job.
A degree can be a great investment—whether you’re looking to advance in your career, earn more money, or get into a top doctoral program. Traditional and online degree holders tend to earn more and have more opportunities open to them than those with an undergraduate degree.
Although tuition can be expensive, it’s sometimes possible to get tuition funded—either by the school itself or by an employer. With some research, you should be able to find a traditional or online program that works for you.
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