Statistically Speaking

business degreeStatistically speaking, those with masters of business degrees have the best long-term opportunities with regards to the employment outlook and salary.  There is no doubt that there are too few doctors in the United States and not enough seats in the medical schools to accommodate the need according to data provided from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These shortages are good for those who choose to get degrees as a physician’s assistant.

Physician assistants are medical professionals who provide diagnostic and preventative health care services under the supervision of doctors—and they are in high demand. This is a result of an aging population and health care reform.  These factors contribute to a higher demand for health care services.  As fully capable medical professionals, physician assistants are able to alleviate the pressure on doctors by performing important and necessary health care tasks to this increasing pool of patients. They do not earn as much as doctors, but their mid-career median pay is a whopping $97,000. Another advantage of a physician assistant degree is that employment opportunities are expected to grow 30% by 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growing demand for them and the promise of fat paychecks put physician assistant degrees at the top of the heap in Forbes’ third-annual look at the best master’s degrees for jobs.

Advanced degrees in computer science are also in huge demand with a median projected salary of $110,000. By most statistics reported, computer science follows close behind as the No. 2 best advanced degree for jobs. Employment opportunities for computer science degree-holders are expected to expand about 22% between 2010 and 2020. Electrical engineering, physics and economics degrees also make the top 10, all with an average mid-career salary of more than $110,000 a year.

Library and information science degree-holders bring in $57,600 mid-career, on average. Common jobs for them are school librarian, library director and reference librarian, and there are expected to be just 8.5% more of them by 2020. Biology, chemistry and history degrees are also toward the bottom of the list—but that does not mean they are useless. If you’re passionate about these fields, the lower pay and slimmer job prospects should not deter you from pursuing a master’s.

Two absolute benefits of graduate education are increased knowledge in a field and the ability to set oneself apart from those with only a bachelor’s degree. It is important to consider overall happiness. If obtaining a master’s degree causes an imbalance due to time devoted to education and potentially more stress at work, then one would need to decide if these costs are worth it. Evaluating the benefits of a master’s degree is not just about the potential for higher pay, but also about the opportunities it will bring, the skills and knowledge it can provide, and overall satisfaction

Source: Smith, Jacquelyn. “The Best and Worst Master’s Degrees for Jobs.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 08 June 2012. Web. 26 July 2013.

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