Deciding to go after a masters degree is an important decision but deciding which masters degree to pursue may be even more important. Not all masters programs are created equal. There are masters online and accelerated masters. Prestigious programs and regular ones. Finding the right program can mean the difference between filling a desirable position and…well, with the job market still struggling, not filling any positions at all. So after you pick out your ideal field, take a moment and look for the best degrees out there before committing.
Mastering the MBA: The MBA is such a popular masters degree that your program of choice will probably depend on exactly what field you intend to pursue with that degree. MBA programs can take a variety of specialty turns, from e-commerce to leadership to finance. And there are programs that run to every extreme in terms of time and schedules as well, some are intensely focused, designed for the hurry up and get it done crowd, while others allow you to pursue the degree at a more leisurely pace. For busy adults, a part-time MBA may be ideal, since you it gives you time to hold down a job, family, or both. In this case, The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Berkeley’s Haas School of Business both offer the best degrees available. For finance look into the Wharton school at UPenn, or the Booth programs at Chicago University. Booth and Wharton both have highly acclaimed executive programs, too.
Medical Degrees: If your field is medical, consider getting a masters as a physician assistant. Yes, this might delay your climb all the way to the top of the medical ladder, but the physician’s assistant degree is one of the most secure jobs available in the US. Doctors are out there, but they are in desperate need of qualified assistants. Taking a physician assistant degree can provide a secure income and valuable experience for future job climbing, or even future pursuit of an MD.
The Tech Field: Right up with physician’s assistant masters is the computer science degree, another easy winner. As with the medical degree, the specific type of program is more important than the school that teaches it. However, if you want to specialize in information systems, think about Syracuse University or the University of Michigan, two big names in the field.
Engineering: Engineering is a popular masters degree. Because of the high level of specialized knowledge required by engineers, a masters in a particular specialty is necessary to find truly career level prospects. The bachelors is just a starting point. If you are going to go after the valuable masters, the top programs are easy to spot: MIT and Stanford take top marks for Computer and Mechanical. For Civil Engineering, try Berkeley.
Education: Education is also a popular masters program. These ubiquitous degrees, which are almost essential to teach in any classroom, work best if received from schools such as Vanderbilt, Michigan State, or the University of Wisconsin.
This is only a small sampling of the types of programs you can find. Masters degrees exist for such a variety of fields that one of your best options is to spend time searching programs yourself to find the most prestigious degrees. From science to law, there are programs available that will make firms sit up and take notice: All you have to do is find them. The Grad School Rankings that U.S. News provides is a good place to start, but the Internet is filled with forums and reports to help you make the choice.