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Master’s Programs for Escaping the Career Rut

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Why Earn Your Master's Degree?

When talent and perseverance aren’t enough to break professional barriers, that’s when you start thinking about earning your Master’s degree. And you’re not alone in your motivation. In 2018, 25% of online graduate students said they enrolled to raise their salary; 21% wanted a promotion or new position in their field; and 19% wanted to transition to a new career field.i:

With the right skills and credentials, you could prepare to tackle the demanding job market while refining your plan for the future—whether that’s enhancing your current career or changing fields entirely. While a Master’s degree may not be required for all specialized roles, earning that higher credential—as well as the potential knowledge you’ll gain in the best Master’s programs—might be exactly what sets you apart from other job candidates:

Are you an accountant? Consider earning a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) – some employers actually prefer to hire candidates with their Master’s!vi
Are you in human resources? Think about where earning your MS in Strategic Human Resource Management (MSSHRM) could take you.
Are you a nurse for an aging population? How about sharpening your knowledge on the elderly with a Master of Health Administration (MHA) in Gerontology.

See? The possibilities to expand your credentials are nearly endless.

Potentially Earn More:
$77,844 median annual salary for Master’s degree-holders (2019)iii

Experience Fewer Setbacks:
The 2019 unemployment rate for Master’s degree-holders was just 2.0% (lower than the average of 3.0%)iii

Set Yourself Apart:
Just 11% of the current U.S. workforce has earned a Master’s degreeiv

Break into the Field:
85% of all Master’s degree-holders work in management, professional, and related fieldsiv

Potential Benefits of Online Master’s Programs

No Cause to Pause

These days, so many online Master’s programs are designed for working adults. Don’t pause your life or current career to achieve your next education milestone—online programs often utilize the most modern education tech.

Worth Your Time & Money?

90% of online graduate students in 2018 found their graduate education worth the time it took, while 90% agree they’ll earn more in salary over their lifetime because of their graduate degree.i

Finish On Time

The flexibility and convenience of online degree programs allow the majority (62%) of online Master’s students to complete/expect to complete their degree on time (2 to 3 years, the typical length of a Master’s program).i

What Master’s Degree Should I Earn?

Most Popular Master’s Degrees in 2018
(According to the National Center for Educational Statistics)v

  • Business Administration and Management, General: 106,001
  • Engineering: 51,721
  • Social Work: 29,127
  • Psychology, General: 27,841
  • Education, General: 20,231
  • Accounting: 19,637
  • Educational Leadership and Administration, General: 18,500
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences: 17,180

GRE vs. GMATvi, vii

Not every graduate school requires online students to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Be sure to check the requirements of the schools you’re applying to, but consider in the meantime:

Considering an MBA?
7,000 business programs at 2,300 universities worldwide accept the GMAT. Many universities also have business programs that accept the GRE.

Invest in the Right Test
U.S. GRE-takers spend $205 to take the test, while the GMAT costs $275. Although the GMAT costs more, it’s probably more practical if you’re applying to business programs.viii,ix

Know Your Formulas!
The GRE allows you to use an on-screen calculator for the Quantitative portion, but the GMAT doesn’t permit calculators—so you’ll need to perform basic arithmetic.x

National vs. Regional Accreditation

When combing through the best online master’s programs, a key factor to consider is whether the Master’s program holds national, regional, or programmatic accreditation. Regional accreditation is awarded by a regional agency that presides over the institution’s home state. Instead of focusing on location, national accreditation is awarded by CHEA-approved agencies that look at the type of education (be it technical, vocational, distance learning, etc.). And programmatic accreditation deals with specific programs based on subjects (for example, if you were applying to MBA programs, you’d want to aim for a program recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business [AACSB]).

CHEA-Recognized Regional Accreditation Associations

New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Western Association of Schools and Colleges

National Accreditation Associations

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training

Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

Council on Occupational Education

Distance Education Accrediting Commission

Examples of Programmatic Accreditation Associations

American Medical Association (AMA) accredits medical programs

Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits engineering programs

American Dental Association (ADA) accredits dentistry programs

National Nursing League (NLN) accredits nursing programs

American Bar Association (ABA) accredits law school programs

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredits business and accounting programs

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