A master’s degree gives students training and education in a specialized field of expertise with greater depth than studying for a bachelors degree. Students pursuing a master’s degree traditionally need to hold a bachelors degree and commit to one to six years of study in a particular field. Online education masters degree programs make it easier for working business professionals to complete their education and attain advanced positions in their field.
Masters degrees definitely afford individuals an opportunity to increase their earning potential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average weekly earnings for a masters degree holder are $1,102, which is $200 more than people holding a bachelors degree. These statistics further reveal that only 5.9 percent of adults in America hold a masters degree.
Online education masters degree programs may consist of any combination of advanced study courses, internships and independent research, such as a thesis. Some master’s degree programs enable students to go directly into a career, others require internships or additional credentials and some prepare students to enter doctoral degree programs. To fulfill the requirements of a masters degree program, students must attend between 30 to 60 semester hours, which may be completed online between 15 and 36 months.
Masters degrees are differentiated by post-nominal letters that indicated the level of academic achievement, honor or office a student has earned. The most common areas of online education masters degree study are:
Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study determined that about one in five students seeking to earn a master’s degree pursue an M.B.A. The masters degree in business administration is research-oriented and involves independent study and achievement. Online education masters degree programs give business executives the ability to fit educational advancement into their schedules at their convenience. Further, according to “Taking the E-Train” by Douglas Bartholomew there are quite a few opportunities for business networking and making professional connections through online education.
Master of Education (MEd, MAT, MSEd). According to the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, about 28 percent of students study for a masters degree with a focus on education. There are several specialization that students can choose, including elearning, corporate training, teaching and administration. Graduates can pursue careers as teachers, in technology or as principals and administrators or pursue doctoral degrees to seek positions as education experts in their field. Online education masters degree programs provide educators with the opportunity to seek advanced education while maintaining their current positions and tenure in the field.
Master of Science (M.S.). A master of science can be earned in a variety of research, education and health care fields. Pursuing an M.S. degree usually involves independent study as well field work. Graduates are employed in careers such as research, health care, education and more. Certain M.S. Programs prepare students to enter doctorate study to become employed in positions such as physicians and health care administrators. Online education masters degree programs give busy doctors, nurses and scientists the chance to practice in the field while attaining higher degrees.
Master of Arts (M.A.). A masters degree in the arts is often considered to be a terminal degree. This means that graduates are prepared to enter their chosen field and no further degree is needed to advance professionally. For example, the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) enables graduates to enter directly into careers such as a photographers, sculptor, creative writer and painter. An M.A. gives a greater level of distinction, expertise accomplishment to those working in the fine arts and can even qualify people to educate others on artistic pursuits.
Financial aid is readily available for all types of online education masters degree programs. Students can find out about tuition reimbursement from their employers, especially in fields such as health care that need more certified people in certain professions. Federal and state grants and loans may be available, such as Stafford Loans. There are also private students loans through entities such as Citibank. Certain online education programs offer payment plans to students who are unable to pay a lump sum at the beginning of the semester. Finally, there are a wealth of scholarships available to students willing to apply and pursue them. Financial assistance is readily available for students who want to attend online education masters degree programs.
The increased availability of financial aid coupled with the convenience and flexibility of online education masters degree programs have made it easier for more people to earn advanced degrees. “Earned Degrees Conferred by Gender, 1870 to 2000” revealed that between 1970 and 2000, the number of masters degrees earned by women increased over 220 percent. The number of masters degrees awarded to men increased 53 percent. According to the College Board 2006, these graduates are certain to benefit from obtaining an advanced degree as only 6% of the population have one.