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Career Planning
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Many four-year college graduates opt to return to school for the additional three to four semesters it takes to earn a Master of Arts or a Master of Science degree. An increasing number of colleges and universities are offering an online master's degree for students who can't travel to campus but want to enhance their earning potential with a higher-level degree.

Benefits of a Master's Degree

While the cost of getting an online master's degree varies, the benefits are clear; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly earnings for master's degree holders ($1,326) was $225 higher in 2014 than for those with just a bachelor's degree. What's more, occupations, such as in education or in public health, that typically require a master's degree are expected to grow 18.4 percent by 2022, nearly twice the average for all occupations and the highest rate for all education levels. By comparison, occupations requiring a doctorate are expected to grow 16 percent, while jobs requiring only a high school diploma will grow by just 7.9 percent. An online master's degree makes economic sense.

Types of Master's Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): This is a popular advanced degree, with nearly one in five students pursuing this degree. Many colleges and universities offer an online master's degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the greatest number of degrees conferred in 2011-12 were in business
  • Master of Science in Business (M.S.): The Master of Science in Business is a research-oriented degree. Many who earn an online master's degree in this field go on to get a doctorate in business so they can teach and conduct research at the university level
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.): Education was the second most popular master's degree earned in the U.S., with 172,000 master's degrees conferred in the U.S. in 2011-12. This is a generalist degree that includes educational psychology and theories in education, although students can specialize in corporate training, E-learning or other concentrations
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT): The Master of Arts in Teaching prepares graduates to teach a specific subject at a specific level, usually middle school or high school. The MAT is more hands-on, often including practice teaching or related classroom experiences
  • Master of Science in Education (M.S.): A Master of Science in Education prepares student for administrative jobs in education
  • Master of Social Work (MSW): This degree prepares students with classroom and practical work to tackle problems facing vulnerable populations, be it children, youth, adults or the elderly. The social problems they prepare to work on include mental illness, poverty, oppression, homelessness, aging and physical illness
  • Master in Library Science (MLS): A Master in Library Science degree prepares students to work as professional librarians for municipalities, school districts of postsecondary institutions
  • Master of Public Health (M.P.H.): This degree can take students down a number of avenues, from the study of biostatistics to epidemiology or health promotion. This degree prepares students to work on a variety of public health issues and policies

Online Master's Degrees Available features universities and colleges offering online master's degree programs in the following disciplines:

Art & Design



Engineering & Construction


Hospitality & Culinary

Law & Criminal Justice

Liberal Arts & Humanities


Social Science

Technology & IT


Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, "Earning and unemployment rates by educational attainment," accessed Oct. 12, 2015,

National Center for Education Statistics, "What are the most popular majors for postsecondary students?", Oct. 12, 2015,

Seattle University, "Clinical Social Work at Seattle University," Oct. 12, 2015,

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "Career Services," Oct. 12, 2015,

National Center for Education Statistics, "Profile of Graduate and First-Professional Students: Trends from Selected Years, 1995-96 to 2007-08," October 2010, accessed Oct. 12, 2015,

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , "Education and training outlook for occupations, 2012-22,", October 12, 2015,

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