5 Master’s Degrees That Are Ideal to Earn Online

Options for online master’s degrees were once very limited. Today, there are online programs for fine arts, engineering and even degrees that require clinical experience such as psychology. According to a 2016 report, about 3.5 million students are currently pursing online degrees, and that number is projected to grow to 5 million by the end of the decade. Here are just a few examples of ideal online master’s degrees for professionals looking to improve their career prospects:

Master’s in Education

If you already have a teaching license, earning your master’s degree online is a quick way to boost your salary and become certified to instruct more advanced classes. In addition to qualifying you to teach at community colleges, a master’s in education can eventually open doors to administrative positions. Some master’s degree programs don’t even require an undergraduate degree in education or any teaching experience at all. Whether you’re considering a career change, or you just want to make more money at your current job, earning your master’s in education is a productive way to spend your summer vacation.

Master’s in Nursing

For anyone worried about job security, a career in the healthcare industry is always a safe bet. Longer lifespans have created a high demand for new medical professionals and that demand will only continue to grow. If you’re already working in the field, obtaining a master’s in nursing would qualify you to become a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners make significantly more money than nursing assistants and registered nurses, yet they are not burdened with the immense responsibilities that doctors have, so they enjoy both a decent salary and a reasonable work-life balance.

Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology

If you have a passion for both healthcare and education, pursing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology might be a perfect career move for you. About half of speech therapists work in schools where they assist deaf students and children struggling with other communication disorders. Outside of the field of education, speech-language pathologists help patients who have suffered from strokes, brain injuries and various other conditions that inhibit communication and swallowing. Such programs include courses in anatomy, physiology, linguistics and the principles of acoustics.

Online MBA

The stigma associated with earning an MBA online has practically vanished since employers have realized the value of such programs. Rather than limiting your networking opportunities, online learning gives students a chance to meet and collaborate with people from across the globe. Some online MBA programs provide career services and even organize recruiting events for their students. No matter which specialty they choose, MBA students should expect to take advanced courses in accounting, statistics and information systems.

Master’s in Criminal Justice

Criminal justice programs offer a wide range of courses for an array of specialty professions. For example, students interested in forensics, cyber-crime or criminal psychology should pursue an MS in criminal justice, while those seeking careers in law enforcement administration or public policy would be better served by an MA program. Military veterans in particular would be well suited for either path. Because job competition is so stiff, supplementing your studies with field experience is highly recommended.

Be warned that online classes are not easy; in fact, many students find them to be more difficult than traditional classes because they require a lot of personal discipline. Before you enroll, you need to determine if you can realistically set aside time from work and family obligations to pursue your degree. If you can make that commitment, you’re ready to join the thousands of professionals who have advanced their careers by earning their master’s degrees online.

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