Stephanie Small - October 2013
Some careers require individuals to earn a graduate degree in order to work in the field. As you plan for your professional future you should keep in mind the educational credentials you will need to earn in order to practice. Understanding the educational requirements for your chosen career may help you develop your long term goals. For example, if you want to work as a psychologist you will need to make sure you are concentrating on earning high marks in your undergraduate classes, developing strong relationships with your professors, and participating in research that may help you get into a good graduate program. You will also need to seriously consider how you will manage your finances in order to afford the training required. Here are a few careers that will require you to earn a graduate degree. If one of these fields listed below sparks your interest, start planning now for your future as a graduate student
Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None – it has to want to change itself.
Psychologists study, research and treat processes involved in human and animal thought, cognition, memory and emotions. Psychologists typically pursue a Ph.D. or a Psy.D.. These degrees take anywhere from three to six years to complete. After coursework, a dissertation, an internship and a residency, psychologists are eligible to apply for licensure; licensure requirements vary by state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2010 median yearly salary for psychologists was $68,640. Job growth between 2010 and 2020 is projected to be 22%, which is faster than the average.
Q: Why can’t you trust atoms?
A: Because they make up everything.
Physicists study and develop technology and theories related to the fundamental nature of the universe, from the microscopic to the galactic level. They research space, time, energy and matter. Physicists must hold a Ph.D. which takes four to six years to complete. In 2010, the BLS reported the median annual pay for physicists was $106,370. Between 2010 and 2020, employment is expected to grow by approximately 14%.
“I will now demonstrate what I have in mind,” said the professor as she erased the board.
Professors teach and conduct research at the colleges and universities. While a few programs require that their professors have only a master’s degree, by and large, a doctoral degree is usually preferred. Following completion of their bachelor’s degree, aspiring professors spend three to six years completing coursework, a dissertation, and in many cases, research and/or internships. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average median salary for professors in 2010 was $62,050. Job growth between 2010 and 2020 is expected to be 17%, which is about average.
Patient: “Doctor, after you finish the operation on my hand, will I be able to play the piano?”
Doctor: “Of course; your hand will be as good as new.”
Patient: “That’s funny – I never could play it before.”
Surgeons operate on patients to treat diseases and/or deformities. In addition to an undergraduate degree, they must complete four years of medical school and three to eight years of residency. Following that, aspiring surgeons must obtain licensure. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 median salary for general surgeons was $343,958 (median earnings vary by specialty), and between 2010 and 2020, jobs are expected to grow by 24%.
Q: Why did the guru refuse Novocain when he went to his dentist?
A: He wanted to transcend dental medication.
Orthodontists examine, diagnose and treat dental problems. They also design and recommend appliances for jaw and teeth alignment. Orthodontists must attend dental school, followed by a graduate program and postgraduate residency in orthodontics. Combined, graduate school and residency can take up to four years to complete. Licensure and board certification follows. The BLS states that in 2010, the median annual wage for dentists was $187,199 (the median earnings of an orthodontist may vary due to their special training).
Earning a graduate degree may help advance your career in many fields, but for those fields that require practitioners to complete a minimum level of education planning for your future as a graduate student is of paramount importance. The earlier you can start planning the better off you may be when it is time to make decisions about your graduate education.
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