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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Master’s Degree

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Master’s Degree

Many people pride themselves on being a “jack of all trades but master of none.” Unfortunately, while it’s good to have a little knowledge and experience with multiple skills and tasks, today’s businesses are looking for well-rounded critical thinkers who are experts, or “masters” in their field. So, if you want to excel in your industry or rise to the top in your career, earning the credentials that put you in a category above the rest will serve you well. Before jumping into your program, however, there are some questions you should consider before pursuing your masters degree.

What is a Master’s Degree?

Unlike a bachelor’s degree that is more general and requires a minimum of 120 credit hours, a master’s degree targets a specific professional subject and typically requires between 30 and 60 credit hours to complete, depending on the program. Because the degree is a higher-level credential, many master’s programs require an internship, clinical fieldwork, volunteer hours, and/or a capstone course that demonstrates mastery of the subject matter. Many master’s degrees also offer concentrations that allow the student to further focus their studies on an area of expertise. A master’s degree is usually a prerequisite to pursuing a doctoral degree, which narrows the area of study even further through elite research that is usually showcased in a final dissertation. Ottawa University conveniently offers a wide range of accelerated online degrees at the both the bachelor and graduate levels.

Do I Need a Master’s Degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2020 to 2030, master's-level jobs are projected to grow by 16.4%, the fastest of any education level, as businesses increasingly see the value of advanced education. Employees are taking notice of the higher demand by going back to school. Since 2000, the number of people over the age of 25 who have at least a master’s degree has doubled and is up to 21 million. That’s an increase from 8.6% of the population in 2000 to 13.1% in 2018 – and it continues to rise! Read further to find out if you could benefit from earning a masters degree.

What Are the Benefits of a Master’s Degree?

There are no disadvantages to earning a master’s degree, but there are several advantages. Let’s take a closer look at the some of the top reasons our students earn their master’s degrees from Ottawa University.

Increased Job Opportunities

The job options that you unleash by having a master’s degree on your resume are almost reason enough. You will now be qualified for jobs in your industry that require an advanced degree. And remember, the demand for postgraduate degrees is rising.

Increased Salary

You’ll also be able to earn more money – no downside there. In fact, you will make an average of $13,000 to $17,000 more annually than your peers who hold only a bachelor’s. If you have a significant number of years left before you retire, that adds up to big money.

Expanded Professional Network

Another benefit is the ability to increase your professional network. At Ottawa University. you’ll be going to school with like-minded adults with similar career goals, and your professors are highly esteemed professionals who have extensive experience in their field. You never know where those connections might lead.

Personal Satisfaction and Self Confidence

Earning a master’s degree also demonstrates to yourself, your peers, and potential employers that you are driven, that you are dedicated, that you are a hard worker willing to go the extra mile. You can’t put a price tag on that.

Increased Job Security

According to BLS, master’s degree holders had a 4.1% unemployment rate in 2020, compared to 5.5.% for those with a bachelor’s and 7.1% for those with an associate degree. So, you’re more likely to keep your job when there’s an economic downturn.

Career Advancement

Finally, earning your master’s keeps you relevant in your industry, gives you up-to-date knowledge and skills, and keeps you competitive when new talent joins the team. Earning a specialized degree contributes to your professional development so you can move up the career ladder.

What are the Best Master Degrees for Jobs?

Indeed, the most widely used job-search site in the U.S., shares the most in-demand master’s degrees sought after by employers. Here are Ottawa University’s top five related degrees from the list.

1.   Business Administration

2.   Health Care Management

3.   Nursing

4.   Human Resources

5.   Accounting

How Do I Get a Master’s Degree?

You may feel a little intimidated about pursuing a master’s degree. What is the process? What if you’re not accepted? The good news is that Ottawa University is here to help you through the process to make it easier for you to earn your graduate degree. Our enrollment staff is extremely helpful in walking you through each step, including outlining anything you need to secure or complete as part of the application process. We will also help you assess your goals and interests to find the right program fit, as well as any educational or financial credit you may be eligible for from previous experience, education, or military service.

Can I Complete My Master’s Online?

Ottawa University makes it easier for you to earn your master’s degree by offering many of our programs fully online. This means that you can move from the classroom to your career faster and better prepared for success. While some schools have 10, 12, or even 16-week terms, all of Ottawa University’s accelerated online degrees are offered in convenient 8-week terms throughout the year. You can double up on courses, take them one at a time, or even take a break for a term. We also do not require an entrance exam or a final dissertation.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree?

No question, earning a master’s degree requires time and commitment on your part. You will need to assess where you have spare time during the week for classes and assignments; what activities you will be willing to forfeit or scale back if needed; how your family feels about potentially spending less time with you; and how passionate you are about completing this educational journey. Some online programs can be finished in as few as 12 months depending upon the number of credits you decide to take. The average program length is two years, but you must decide the pace you want to keep based on your schedule. It’s worth considering that Ottawa University’s accelerated online degrees, as well as its concurrent course or degree options, may propel you to graduation even faster. Rather than attending class at a specific time each week, the asynchronous courses allow you to access course lessons and resources when it’s convenient for you, as long as deadlines are met.

How Much Does a Graduate Degree Cost?

As the adage goes, “You get what you pay for.” You will want to find a program that is within your budget, but there are other things to consider that may be more important. For example, ensure that you find an accredited school like Ottawa University that has an established history and track record of turning out exceptional graduates. Also, research if the school offers any type of tuition assistance for military or other specialty groups, or if you can reduce your costs by getting credit for courses you’ve already taken. Enrolling in a concurrent degree program can reduce costs, and if your budget is especially tight, spreading out your degree program over more time is another option to consider. Remember, the money you spend now will earn you a bigger paycheck later, so a master’s degree earns a significant return on investment.

How Do I Choose a Master’s Degree Program?

The master’s program you choose will highly depend on your career goals. If you like the industry you are in and are eager to advance within it, then choosing a program that complements your bachelor’s degree and experience is going to be the most logical. On the other hand, if you are looking to change careers and enter a new field, then you will want to explore your interests, skills, and goals to help identify your best options. An enrollment advisor can help explore these with you and the right program will soon rise to the top.

Are There Educational Requirements for My Career?

You will also want to ensure that the program fulfills all of the educational requirements for the career path you choose. For example, if you need certifications or licensure, does the program prepare you to gain those upon graduation. Or are there concentrations within the major that allow you to focus on a specialty? For example, Ottawa University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program offers eight concentrations so you can tailor your degree in such areas as finance, human resources, health care management, strategic innovation, accounting, or business data analytics. Our enrollment team, academic advisors, and instructors all help make sure you are prepared for the field.

What is Holding Me Back?

The last question to ask yourself is, “What is holding me back?” You can spend the next two years spinning your career wheels where you are, or you can decide to propel yourself forward by getting equipped for advancement with a graduate degree. Ottawa University has a 150+ year history of educating students for satisfying careers. Whether you take courses at our campuses in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix or choose one of our accelerated online degrees, we would love to help set you on the path to yours. Contact us today!

Posted: 02/07/2022 by OU Online
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