According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the Fall of 2014 -- 25% of graduate students were enrolled in exclusively online courses![a]
Is an online graduate degree right for you?
There are several nuanced reasons why people may choose to attend grad school, but according to Aslanian Market Research, one tried and true theme remains constant. In their most recent study it remained unchanged that the primary driver for online students seeking to further their education is for career related reasons. More than 75% of respondents to their study cited career as their motivative.[vi]
Below are 4 reasons why going to graduate school may benefit you.
While a profession may not require an advanced degree, it may be helpful to advance or to distinguish oneself from the pack. Some people may choose to specialize in certain areas of a particular subject such as a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) or a Masters of Taxation (MTax), MS in Strategic Human Resource Management (MSSHRM), an MS or a MHA in Gerontology just to name a few.[i]
While advancing in a field could sometimes lead to higher pay, attending and completing grad school also has the potential to increase a person’s earning potential in certain fields.[ii]For example, in the education field, the level of education one obtains could determine the pay scale they are on in combination with the number of years one has worked.[iii]
If you are considering this reason, be very careful to weigh the costs (including the loss of earnings if you are enrolled full time) with your potential salary after graduation. In particular, research the career center of the program you are interested in, to get a feel for the job opportunities available.
For some occupations, in order to even be considered for employment, an applicant must hold a graduates degree in their respective area. This is not only applicable for doctors and lawyers, but for professions such as Physical Therapists, Counselors, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, and Social Workers.[iv] In education, a teacher cannot become an administrator without earning a Supervisors Certificate or a MA in Educational Leadership.[i]
According to Aslanian market Research, this is the #1 reason for continuing education[vi]. Despite an individual's level of educational attainment, very few people stay in the same career throughout their entire work life. Reasons for changes vary from being laid off, burn out, or change of interest. However, when the time comes to look for a new opportunity, one's past experience may not be relevant enough to switch careers without training.
Fortunately, most programs do not require an applicant to have majored in the same content area. This makes it easier for someone to pursue a graduate school program in a new field as long as they at least hold a bachelor's degree. Some do however have prerequisites that a student must take before matriculating. nursing is a great example here.
There are direct entry MSN programs where the applicant does not need a BSN but might need to complete prerequisite math and science academic courses in order to have the foundation to handle the rigors of a the program.
If you're interested in learning more about what it means to be a graduate student, or you are interested in finding out more about financing options, check out our grad advice articles. We have enlisted the services of several subject matter experts to help us bring you information and tips about the application process, and how to survive and thrive once you enroll in a graduate school.
Business Administration & ManagementBusiness
Social WorkSocial Work
Education Leadership & AdministrationEducation Leadership & Administration
Healthcare Administration & ManagementHealthcare Administration Management
Sports ManagementSports Management
Organizational PsychologyOrganizational Psychology
Communications & Public RelationsCommunications & Public Relations
Computer ScienceComputer Science
Graphic DesignGraphic Design
According to a recent study done by Aslanian Market Research, the top 3 Graduate Majors are: Business Administration, Computer Science & Engineering and Nursing.
Are you ready to start your Grad School journey?
Ok let's take a step back for just a moment and take the time to define what graduate school is. Simply said, a grad school is a college or university that offers students programs at a higher level of education than a bachelors degree. Some schools focus only on the graduate level, while others offer separate 'schools' for graduate and undergraduate work. The purpose of attending a grad school is to earn a graduate degree.
A graduate degree is often referred to as 'postbaccalaureate', meaning a degree that you earn after your bachelors degree. A graduate degree is intended to focus a student more in on a specific subject area, to become more knowledgeable and specialized.
Making the decision to go to graduate school is no easy task. You will have to ask yourself a lot of questions, such as: "Do I want to earn a master's degree or PhD?" "What field of study interests me most?" "What course of academic study will help me reach my long-term career goals?" "How can I pay for this?" Since 1996 our team has been working to compile the most comprehensive listing for prospective students.
This site offers a large list of graduate schools! Thousands of options at hundreds of colleges and universities, across masters degree programs, PhD programs, and certificate programs.
GradSchools.com helped more than 6.4 million students research programs last year. You can use our degree finder above to get matched to your perfect grad school program. Or you can search our directory of 70,000 programs for programs by subject area, program format, and location.
When you find programs you are interested in select the "request info" button next to the university, fill out our simple form and your information will be sent to counselors at that college or university. Then those counselors will contact you with more information about their academic program.
There are two main types of graduate degrees. That being the Masters Degree and the other being a PhD. Within those degrees there are different nuances which further distinguish degree types. For example, some degree types are course and lecture based while others are research based.
Research based programs are more independent and require the student to conduct their own research projects in a specialized area. Primarily you will find that most research degrees are at the doctoral level, however there are a few masters programs out there such as the Master of Research (MRes).
Each type of degree also offers further distinction typically based on the subject or career being pursued. And even within a subject there can be different degree options available.
Masters Programs: Require the completion of a bachelor's and typically take one to two years of full time study to complete. Common types of degrees are the Masters of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS), which can be applied to a wide range of content areas. Other common types at a more subject oriented level would include the MBA, Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and Master of Social Work (MSW).
If we take a look at a subject such as Education, you can also see that there are several different types of degrees available within a subject such as the M.Ed. M.S.I, M.A.T. or M.Ad.Ed., just to name a few.
Doctorate Programs: Even though most research based programs are doctoral programs there are still professional degrees offered at this level. Examples of research based degrees would be Doctor of Theology (ThD) or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). Examples of professional degrees would be Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.), Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Time to complete a doctoral program varies by institution and type of degree, however it is typical that a doctorate degree program can take about 4 to 6 years to complete after the Bachelors degree. If you already old a Masters degree in that subject area it may be possible to complete your doctorate in about 3-years of full-time study.
Certificate Programs: Though not a 'type' of graduate degree, a certificate program offers many students the opportunity to gain advanced training in a specific area. They are not often required to pursue a position per se, but give alumnus added credentials that make them more marketable to future employers as well as become specialists in certain areas within their field.
Once an applicant has built their list of grad schools to apply to, the application process is fairly similar to the college admissions process.