A Resource for Students Pursuing a Master’s Degree

A master’s degree is an excellent way to build upon the skills and knowledge you’ve already gained while completing your bachelor’s degree and working in your field. Although earning one requires lots of time and sacrifice – especially if you plan to maintain full-time employment – it can help separate you from some of your peers. The reward is often better pay and a more fulfilling career.

Much like in undergraduate studies, students who are pursuing their master’s degrees get to interact with some of the most distinguished and educated people in their disciplines on a daily basis. Not only are they learning from experts who have already studied and achieved respected careers in their fields of choice, but they’re constantly networking with people who have established connections with many of their peers – some with whom you may interact while working in the department, researching and attending conferences. If you cultivate mutually beneficial relationships, they could provide leads to employment down the road. Some programs may require you to earn credit through an internship, which is an excellent way to get your foot in the door. It could end up being your job after graduation, or your employer could be your first reference for your next job. Also, some of the friendships you naturally form with your classmates could prove beneficial. If you feel the need to expand your social circle, many programs offer social clubs and organizations.

A 2008 American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau indicated that 29 percent of Americans 25 years of age and older have a bachelor’s degree. That’s an increase of five percent since 1998. Young people ages 25 to 29 hold bachelor’s degrees at an even higher percentage – 31. Seven percent of 25 to 29 year olds have received master’s degrees. With undergraduate degrees becoming more common, many students have chosen to lengthen their academic career by pursuing graduate advanced degrees to set themselves apart. It’s also a good way to avoid searching for jobs in the down economy, where the unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent, although that’s a less than productive reason to earn a master’s degree. Your chances of benefitting from it are greater when you know what you want as the end result. Set your career goals, know the additional skills and knowledge you need to attain, and select a school that best suits your needs. Then you will be on a path to a more specialized career that very few of your peers will have the benefit of pursuing.

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Antonio McCoy

Online school differs from brick-and-mortar school in that you cannot simply show up to class, sit in the back and never contribute and get a passing grade. You have to participate, because your whole grade is based on your degree of involvement in the class.

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Carly Anderson

I earned my masters degree in psychology through a blended program, which means that some of my classes were taken online and some of them were taken at a brick-and-mortar campus. I worked full time at that stage in my life, so I wanted a way to advance my education while keeping my job. Luckily, Argosy University provided a flexible schedule that accommodated my working hours.

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Cheryl Abersold

My typical day as an online nursing masters student is very manageable. I am free to work on my research project or care for my family.

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Chris Aday

One of the reasons I chose to get my online master of business administration degree through University of Phoenix is because the school has an excellent relationship with the Department of Veterans Affairs. There was very little headache involved with getting the Montgomery GI Bill benefits that my time in the Air Force granted me.

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Crystal Hall

My online masters degree will have a positive effect on my career options because there is a strong networking base at University of Cincinnati. In our economy, if you are not actively networking with professionals in your field, then you are out of the loop. You have to reach out to people, because the job search is all about who you know.

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Dawnell Connelly

I would tell a student who is interested in getting a masters degree in elementary education online to pursue their dreams and not let anything get in the way of accomplishing them.

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Deb Rasmussen

Keep in mind that you will get out of your online education what you put into it. If you choose not to read the material, you may be able to fake it and skate through with a passing grade. But if you choose to work hard, you will get a lot out of your program. You have the ability to make an online degree as valuable as a traditional one.

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Derenda Jones

Just because a program is online does not mean that it is easier or less demanding, which is why self-motivation is especially critical for this format.

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Esther Lafontant

Students should do their research before they enroll in masters programs for public health.

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Ian Douglas

If masters degree students want to pursue a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics engineering, they should go for it. There are definitely jobs available to students with PhDs, especially in the research field.

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James Eaton

Online students need to figure out how to research, be diligent in their work and have good time management skills.

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Keith Milstead

Be very aware of whether or not your online psychology school is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Walden is not APA-accredited, but I think I will be able to find a job despite that. But someone who has less experience than I do might have a difficult time finding work without that accreditation behind their degree.

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Kelli Charles

If I could go back, I would not choose to obtain my masters degree through Ashford University, because I don’t think it will adequately prepare me for my career. I wish I had searched harder for a program that I felt comfortable with instead of taking the easy option and staying with the school I knew.

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Kimberly Kirkpatrick

Getting a masters degree is the best thing that you can do to increase your job prospects and marketability in public health or any other field.

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Lee Jensen

Online programs seem to work for people who can sit down and teach themselves their assigned material without having a professor explain each main idea. If a student has trouble with that, then I would suggest they enroll in a traditional program.

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Patricia Kujawa

Most schools don’t offer a combined bachelors and masters degree in any field of psychology. The fact that I can choose that route at Capella University allows me to shave off at least 6 months from the time it would otherwise have taken me to finish both of my degrees.

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Stephanie DeBarbieris

I think students who are interested in pursuing a degree in nursing online should know that online education offers you great flexibility, but it also requires discipline.

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Troy Whitfield

I think earning my masters degree online will have a positive effect on my career options because earning a degree online requires discipline, good time-management skills, and a strong work ethic.

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Virginia Waugaman

I think that the benefits of being able to earn a degree as an older student, a parent or someone with other obligations definitely outweigh the challenges of earning your degree online. If you are a self-motivated person, you should get online and get your degree.