Earning a graduate degree can help you gain more skills, attain a higher position and earn a greater salary than heading into the workforce with an associate or bachelor degree. A bachelor degree will typically give you the general knowledge to get some experience working in your desired field. As you continue to work, you may find that you would like to learn more about a specific aspect of your industry or work in a position that requires a more advanced degree. Below are the most popular graduate degrees in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 25 percent of graduate degrees were concentrated in business, and 22 percent were focused on education from 2012 to 2013.
One of the most popular graduate degrees in business is the Master of Business Administration program, or MBA. These programs generally take two years to complete and provide a well-rounded foundation of managerial and leadership skills. Students earning an MBA will learn more about accounting, management, data analysis, marketing and other proficiencies necessary to run a successful business. However, if you’re interested in a more specific area of study, you can earn an alternative master’s degree in a concentration such as economics, organizational behavior, taxation or accounting.
Business Insider lists elementary education and special education graduate degrees among the top 10 most useful. Earning a graduate degree in elementary education can position you for a salary increase of approximately $10,000 per year. In fact, some teachers are required by their school district to earn a master’s degree within 5 years of entering the profession. Some education degree concentrations are mathematics education, curriculum and instruction, special education and educational leadership.
3. Health Professions
If you are interested in entering the healthcare industry, a master’s degree will help you enhance your skills as a practitioner or manager. Nurses and other assistants will have more opportunities available to them if they have earned a master’s degree. Healthcare administrators with a master’s degree will be more qualified to run larger organizations or to serve as the CEO or CFO of a hospital or healthcare facility.
4. Public Administration and Social Services
Students who have graduated with a master’s degree in this field can work to help people in need. Social workers utilize their background in psychology, counseling and sociology to help individuals who need help overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction or integrating themselves into the workforce. Graduates with a master’s degree in public administration can also help manage the organizations that provide social services to the public.
The various engineering graduate degrees prepare students for occupations that require engineering skills, including research and fieldwork. Most master’s degrees in engineering take a year or two to complete. You can earn a master’s degree in a specific concentration, such as aerospace, civil, nuclear and biomedical engineering. A Master of Science in Computer Science is a popular concentration. Some programs combine an engineering degree with an MBA. Students who earn this degree will be ready to manage a company that focuses on engineering.
Related Resource: 50 Most Affordable Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Online 2015
If you’re wondering whether a graduate degree is right for you, you may wish to talk to other professionals in your field. Find out about their educational path and the factors they considered before earning their degree. A graduate degree can help you enhance your existing knowledge and set you up for a successful career in your field.