Thursday, October 31, 2013
Looking to Get Ahead? Try an Online Master's Degree or MBA Program
Thinking about earning your master's degree online? There are many benefits associated with having a graduate degree. Earning a masters of science, arts or one of the coveted master of business administration degrees could put you in a better place professionally and financially. If you are a working professional or have a family, you have a lot to consider but an online masters degree may help ease the burden of a busy life. Let's talk about the advantages of earning an online Master's or MBA degree first.Looking at figures and income projections for various masters degree credentialed worker:- Individuals with a master's degree average $11,300 more a year than bachelor's degree holders.- The net present value of a master's degree versus a bachelor's degree is $216,000.- The future value (over 40 years) of a master's degree versus a bachelor's degree is $1,520,900. (Certain professional and MBA degrees will yield more)If you choose to pursue an online masters degree program you will be building on the knowledge base you already have while adding skills, credentials and perhaps accomplishing a personal milestone.Online Graduate Degrees The availability of online masters degree programs are plentiful. Make sure the schools and programs are accredited! It is important to note that:- The quality of education from accredited online colleges is the same as their on-campus counterparts.- Most colleges and universities do not indicate on graduate certificates or transcripts whether a course or program was earned on-campus or online.- Online courses operate with the same syllabi and deliver the same end product as on-campus courses.- A survey of 2,500 online students and professors indicated that online courses were at least as rigorous as, and many times more rigorous than, traditional face-to-face courses.- Preference for one setting over the other will depend on your life circumstances and whether or not you are able to move or find a graduate program nearby that offers exactly what you're looking for.- Diplomas from accredited online programs are honored by employers, licensing agencies and certification boards. Note: Make sure the schools you are interested in are accredited. There are many non-accredited master's programs cropping up, particularly online MBA programs. Check with the U.S. Department of Education to make sure the school is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.)Graduate studies are characteristically more specialized and intense in focus than your typical undergraduate programs. It is very important to choose the program that most closely matches your personal goals and area of desired expertise. Take some time to consider the types of graduate programs available.Master's Degree Programs - What's available online?Master of Arts (M.A) and Master of Science (M.S):Master's degree programs are available online and in hundreds of subject areas. A master's degree will give you continued depth and expertise in an area, and open up doors for higher paying jobs. Master's level programs are usually 30 to 60 credit hours long, depending on the discipline or profession. Correspondingly, it will take from 1-4 years to complete. The work is more focused within a specialty area and research of some sort is ordinarily involved. Sometimes a master's level degree will be included within a doctoral program, but most times a master's degree is completed independently of a doctoral degree. Three popular types of master's programs are listed here.Master of Education (M.Ed.): Online graduate degrees in education are becoming a popular option for teachers already in the profession seeking to further develop their skills and move to a higher salary bracket. A M.Ed. or M.S. in Education usually requires the completion of 36 -48 credit hours. Some programs will accept a limited amount of transfer credits. Those graduating from 4-year colleges who go directly to a master's degree program enter the working world equipped with an advanced degree. Others may want to have a few years of on the job experience first. Every state has its own licensing and certification requirements for teachers, so be diligent and check with your state for specific course requirements.Master Of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.): An advanced nursing degree that allows a registered nurse to become certified in a clinical specialty or as a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthesiologist, or nurse midwife. The pay scale for this degree is substantially higher than the BSN, and prospects for advancement are very good.Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.): An M.B.A degree is an advanced degree in business management and is a highly valuable asset to the person who desires a leadership role in the business world, in higher education or in industry. M.B.A. programs do an excellent job of preparing professionals for the top paying jobs that will be available to them. Core topics in any type of M.B.A. program will include economics, accounting, marketing, quantitative analysis, and organizational management and psychology. It may be worthwhile to consider one of these specialized M.B.A. programs, as income and level of position will likely be higher than a generic business M.B.A.. Some options are: Executive MBA for those with substantial management experience who want to obtain higher, top paying positions.MBA in IT Management d esigned for the experienced IT professional seeking mid- to upper-level positions in various fields.MBA in International Business for those interested in global issues and economy.MBA in Project Management designed for mid- to upper-level management positions in industry and business.MBA in Organizational Psychology prepares you for positions in business and higher education.MBA in Health Care Management - an extremely valuable degree in health care with sub-specialties within this degree type.MBA in Human Resources designed to prepare you for mid- to upper level human resource positions.MBA in Marketing designed for those whose specialty is specific to sales, marketing advertising.MBA in Accounting and Finance for those looking to advance in the world of banking, investing and finance, among other settings. You will need to do some research and thinking about your own background and goals to make sure you find the M.B.A. program that will get you where you want to go.Cost & Financing Cost of online master's degree programs (MA and MS degrees) vary, but average about $22,000. An MBA varies more widely, but averages around $30,000. Financing options for accredited online master's programs are the same as accredited on-campus programs and include:- Federal Financial Aid Programs- Scholarships and private financing- Employer reimbursementRequest Information from online schools you are interested in to obtain financial aid information specific to each school. You will need to fill out a Graduate FAFSA form.