Online Master’s Degrees
Although some students may choose to complete their online masters degree immediately following completion of the bachelors degree, many students choose to work for several years and then return to graduate school part-time to complete their masters degree. Part-time completion of a masters degree can take between three and four years. Overall, the course work required to complete a masters degree is similar to that required for a bachelors degree. However, individuals graduating with a masters degree will be required to complete a Masters Thesis before being awarded their degree. The Masters Thesis is typically an applied research project that brings together the student’s knowledge in his or her area of study.
Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree
The benefits of an online masters degree are both personal and financial. Financially, Masters Degrees provide professionals with a wealth of career opportunities as well as the potential for career growth and higher salaries. Professionals with a Masters Degree achieve a high level of competence in their fields are often held in high regard by colleagues and peers. Additionally, masters degrees can provide professionals with the ability to change careers without completing an additional bachelors degree. Although a bachelors degree is needed to apply for a Masters Degree program, the bachelors degree does not have to be in the same field as the masters program. What this suggests is that if a business manager, who has completed a bachelors degree in business, decides that he would like to switch careers and become a counselor, the manager does not need to spend another four years in college obtaining a bachelors degree in counseling. Rather, the manager can seek a two-year masters degree in counseling and switch professions. This benefit provides individuals with considerable flexibility in choosing a new career. Masters degree programs, because they take less time to complete than a bachelors degree program, can provide an affordable solution for career change, development and growth.
Types of Master’s Degrees
Masters degrees can be awarded in various subject areas. However, in general these degrees are classified based on broad areas of study. Specifically, masters degree types include: the Master of Arts (MA), the Master of Science (MS) and the Master of Business Administration (MBA). The Master of Arts degree is a general Masters Degree for students that have completed courses of study in areas that include: psychology, English, the humanities, education or counseling. Students seeking an MA can focus on a course-based degree or a research-based degree. Course-based degrees do not require the completion of a Masters Thesis for graduation. The Master of Science degree is awarded to students studying subjects in physical sciences and mathematics. MS degrees are typically awarded in medicine, computer science, information science, engineering and environmental science. Most MS degrees require a research-based path that culminates in the writing of a Masters Thesis for completion of the degree. Students seeking a Masters Degree can also choose to acquire a Master of Business Administration. The MBA degree is awarded to students that study in fields directly related to business. Examples include: accounting, management and marketing. MBA programs must be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
The potential careers for the graduate with a Masters Degree will be dependent on the specific area in which the degree was conferred. Although an online masters degree will not assure a graduate a particular job in a specific industry or profession, the addition of MA or MS to a title or resume can provide the graduate with access to career positions further up the career ladder. Mid- and upper-level positions in the organization can be more easily access with a masters degree. These positions often carry with them more responsibility and flexibility in the workplace. Individuals with masters degrees will also have access to peers that are higher up in the organization. This can enable the graduate to successfully network and build a foundation for future career advancement. When evaluated in this context, it becomes evident that the Masters Degree will provide the graduate with a host of potential career benefits. The experience of acquiring a Masters Degree may further provide the graduate with insight into how a chosen field of study fits with other disciplines. This too may enable the graduate to expand his or her career opportunities and acquire a high-paying job that is both financially and professionally rewarding.