Colleges and universities offer graduate programs designed to help prepare you for advanced roles in many fields. As enrolling in graduate school is such a significant investment of time and money, you want to make sure you're selecting the right programs for you.
No one can tell the future, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides employment prospects that can give you a good sense of which fields are expected to grow in the years ahead. Here are a few occupations that typically require a master's degree and are projected to see positive growth:
Market research analysts
If you've got strong analytical and critical-thinking skills, you may have your sights set on pursuing a career as a market research analyst. In this role, you'd keep track of market conditions to better understand what types of goods and services consumers would want to purchase.
Typically, your employers require you to hold at least a bachelor's degree. However, the BLS states that it's not uncommon for some companies to ask that you have a master's degree. This is especially true of top research positions within an organization.
Through 2022, job opportunities for market research analysts are expected to increase by 32 percent, according to the BLS. This faster-than-average growth is the result of various industries' need for more data and market research.
If you have an interest in helping ill, injured or disabled individuals get through the day with a little more ease, a career as an occupational therapist could be right for you. In this role, you assist these patients with everyday tasks, while also evaluating their conditions and setting specific goals for them.
The American Occupational Therapy Association states that helping patients regain skills following an injury, assisting adults with the process of adjusting to physical changes and getting children with disabilities to participate in regular school activities are common interventions.
This particular profession requires you to hold at least a master's degree. In addition, you'll need to be licensed or registered to practice. With these credentials, however, you may be setting yourself up for a positive employment outlook. According to the BLS, job prospects are expected to increase by 29 percent through 2022. This strong outlook is due in part to the aging baby boomer population and its health needs.
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor
Whether individuals' problems are related to substances, such as drugs and alcohol, or their behavior, they can receive assistance working through their issues from substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors.
While substance abuse often takes its toll on individuals who use alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs, it also has a major impact on the country as a whole. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. loses more than $600 billion each year to problems related to these substances. For this reason, those who become counselors have the potential to make a greater impact than they may realize.
With a master's degree, counselors will be able to offer a wider range of services to those in need, states the BLS. If you want to enter this field, you're looking at a 31 percent increase in job opportunities through 2022, thanks in part to ever-changing insurance policies.
Of course, job prospects will depend on your level of experience, location and several other factors. It's important to keep in mind that going to graduate school may have the potential to give your career the jumpstart it needs in an economy that's anything but predictable. Whether you wish to work in business or health care, there may be opportunities waiting for graduates of advanced degree programs.
Select one of the links below to browse graduate programs in one of these thriving fields:
Market Research Analysis
Substance Abuse Counseling
About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for GradSchools.com. She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.