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The Most In-Demand Master’s Degrees in 2021

Over the years, an average American adult’s educational level has significantly increased as more and more college graduates opt to earn master’s, professional, or doctoral degrees. From 2000 until today, the number of college graduates age 25 and up with a master’s degree has reached 21 million

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In a study shown by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers requiring a master’s degree increased by 18 percent from 2012 to 2022. And because of today’s very competitive job market, having a master’s degree will make you stand out and differentiate yourself among others, making you a valuable employee to your organization. But more than having a career edge, getting yourself a master’s degree also has a handful of benefits. 

Career Advancement. When you have a master’s degree, you can easily progress into senior positions like leadership and management. Every organization knows the benefits of one’s master’s degree, and in most cases, they encourage their employees to get one. In recent years, roughly 74% of employers have stepped up their educational standards. More and more companies choose to hire applicants with advanced degrees. Like health care and education, graduate degrees require mandatory training to attain promotions and career advancements easily in some industries. 

Specialized Knowledge. Having a master’s degree gives you more specialized and advanced knowledge in your field. As the labor force advances, having a graduate degree exudes your commitment and dedication to your industry. You will focus more on a specific field of study, resulting in your being more competitive. Also, you will improve your current capacity, gain new and better skills and even try your luck in an entirely different new area if you have a master’s degree. Today, you can find a handful of different graduate degrees to earn from different industries. Meaning, your options are practically endless. 

Lifelong Learning. Getting a master’s degree can also boost your writing, analytical, and researching skills. This will make you better with the problem and solving, and when you come across complex projects, you can tackle these things seamlessly. Because of a graduate degree, you continue to widen your knowledge to gear you for a life full of constant learning ahead. Furthermore, 73% of Americans believe they are lifelong learners, while 74% have already joined in various past years to boost their constant pursuit of knowledge.

Better Earning Potential. Having a master’s degree equates to an increased income. On average, those with a bachelor’s degree annually earn $65,400, while those with a master’s degree can earn $80,200 or more per year. That’s a huge 23% increase! There are also specific fields where earnings of those with master’s degrees are notably higher than those with less education.

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According to the Center on Education and the Workforce report by Georgetown University, those who major in life sciences and biology with an advanced degree earn 63% more than their contemporaries who only have a bachelor’s degree. Those who majored in medical and health preparatory programs with a graduate degree are likely to earn 137% more than those who settled for a bachelor’s degree. 

All in all, workers with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $2.27 million in their entire career, and those master’s degrees earn up to $3.65 million. With this demonstration alone, you can conclude how remarkable it is not just to stop going to school after earning your bachelor’s degree. Getting a master’s degree, no doubt, can significantly boost your paycheck.

Improved Professional Network. Regardless of where you secured your master’s degree, online or in-person, your classmates will come from different backgrounds and industries. Being a graduate student means you can connect to several professionals, and in most cases, many of these are already successful in their respective careers. 

Below is a list of the most in-demand master’s degrees in 2021 that will help you easily secure a career in no time:

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Masters of Business Administration- Management Information Systems

As a whole, MBAs are still very important. But in recent years, we have seen a shift towards focusing more on specialized MBAs because not only does this broaden your business knowledge, but you can also target a specific field of study relative to your degree. If you have noticed, hacks and cyberattacks are very rampant nowadays. Studies have shown that organizations, whether big or small, public or private, are very prone to cyberattacks. With this, the demand for qualified and well-rounded cybersecurity experts is extremely high.

Cybersecurity experts are there to monitor systems for possible security breaches. They are there to investigate attacks, upgrade firewalls, encrypt programs, and make the best and most secured practices to protect an organization.

An MBA in Management Information Systems is considered a non-executive MBA. Meaning, this is open for both seasoned and experienced professionals and fresh graduates with some bit of experience. This program starts with a basic set of courses you normally see to nearly all Master of Business Administration programs. These basic courses within the MBA umbrella are designed to provide a clear basis for understanding various business disciplines. The types of subjects within the MBA core requirements include:

  • Marketing
  • Strategy
  • Financial Accounting
  • Statistic for Business
  • Leadership
  • Global Business
  • Operations or Supply Chain Management
  • Economics for Business
  • Corporate Finance
  • Analytics for Business

Since the Management Information Systems program is a specialized area, you need to sign up for an MIS-track within your program before gaining your MBA in MIS. Although the concentration courses generally vary between each program, courses of the MBA in MIS include:

  • E-Strategy and Management of Information Systems
  • Data Management and Governance
  • Security Controls
  • Legal and Ethical Perspectives in Cyber Security
  • Business Analytics
  • Enterprise Systems
  • Special Topics for MIS
  • Data Visualization and Decision Making

You can complete your MBA in MIS in 1-3 years depending on your program: accelerated is completed in 1 year, a full-time program is done in two- years, while the part-time program takes three years to complete. 

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Master’s Degree in Genetic Counselling. 

In this day and age, people are becoming interested in learning more about their background, specifically their hereditary illnesses and genetic links. And since this is achievable today, thanks to technology, the industry of genetic counseling has improved exponentially. 

The World Health Organization defines genetic counseling as that process where trained professionals can identify potential genetic illnesses and who are at risk of it, whether through a heritable disorder or passing it on to an unborn child. Genetic counselors provide support and information to families who have members having genetic disorders or congenital disabilities.

Those with a degree in genetics or other science and health-related fields are qualified to study further with a Master’s Degree in Genetic Counselling. The program provides the clinical training and academic foundation needed for genetic counseling practices. Coursework usually includes public health, epidemiology, patient empathy, and genetics. You are also required to undergo a clinical rotation where you work both with patients and clients. Once you secure your master’s degree, you need to get a certification from the American Board of Genetic Counselling. 

At present, there are about 3,100 genetic counselors all across the United States, and it is said to grow by 29% in the coming years. 

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Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Information Technology

If you want to upgrade your present computer skills or look forward to the transition and improve as an IT professional, you might consider enrolling in a master’s degree in computer science and information technology. The IT field is undeniably one of the most in-demand and highly popular fields today. And with the steady increase of emerging technologies like data science or artificial intelligence, more software developers are needed over time.

Having a degree in Computer Science or Information Technology allows you to secure a career as a software developer for apps or video games that use impeccable programming and coding skills. This program hones your specialization further as the industry grows bigger by the minute. As new technologies are introduced, these developments need lines of codes, programs, and instructions to function correctly. Thus, securing a master’s degree in computer science and IT is something a computer-related graduate must pursue. 

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Master’s Degree in Accounting

While most bachelor’s in accounting programs have 120 credits, a CPA’s (certified public accountant) certification needs students to have at least 150 college students before they are allowed to take the CPA exam. You can satisfy this requirement if you enroll in the master’s in accounting program. Apart from the certification, you can also take advantage of the specialized training fit for accounting that will, later on, lead to better opportunities and higher salaries. Many programs under the Master’s in Accounting have specialization in in-demand fields like accounting and auditing in forensics, thus boosting students’ employment chances even more. 

Master’s in Accounting programs also do not require practicum courses and internships so that students can complete all the requirements from home. Some schools offer their students an accelerated pathway, something suitable if you plan on completing the program in just a year (or less). Based on a report by NACE in 2017, those with master’s in accounting certification have a better employment rate (90.1%) just six months after they graduate. 

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Master’s Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition 

A Master’s in Dietetics and Nutrition gears you up for possible careers as a dietitian or nutritionist. You will be the ones to consult with your clients and promote better lifestyle choices and healthy food intake. With core curricula focusing on physiology, anatomy, exercise science, and nutrition, this degree also advocates educating communities about the many forms of health and nutrition. With the Master’s Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition program, you will be required to have one practicum course or internship to experience real-life, hands-on training.

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Master’s in Business Administration- Human Resources

An MBA degree in Human Resource Management offers knowledge and training in managing an organization’s workforce. This program, which you can complete within two years, mainly focuses on management, recruitment, and guidance and direction for the people in every organization. 

The courses in this program are in the form of either an MBA degree or an MSc. Still, there are business schools offering HR courses as an integral part of their overall management degree. In an organization, the HR department is the one that provides all the essential tools, administrative services, training, legal and management advice, and talent management for the company to function successfully. These days, HR teams are not just there for training and recruitments of new employees, they are there to manage employee relations and compensations. HR departments play critical roles in an organization as their jobs now include handling special situations related to layoffs or mergers, and even strategic decision-making. 

Human Resources personnel are basically responsible for creating a culture for each organization, ensuring that everybody understands the overall vision, mission, and value. 

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Master of Library Science 

If you love to work in a library, perhaps a degree in library science best suits you. Library Science is that field of study where you are taught how to manage books properly and other vital information. As a library science degree graduate, you are expected not only to oversee the total operation, but you are also responsible for the collection, preservation, and organization of books and all other materials in the library. However, if you want to boost your chances of practicing as a professional librarian in academic libraries (like those in universities) or public libraries, you need to have a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree. MLS is also referred to as MLIS, or Master of Library and Information Science. 

Coursework of MLS includes organization and classification for magazines, books, publications, reference materials, and the likes. You will also learn more about various advanced research methods and web-based reference systems, something that is especially required among public and school libraries. When completing the MLS, you can secure jobs in academic libraries in universities and colleges, corporate libraries in small and private businesses, or even law libraries in legal offices. 

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Master’s in Mechanical Engineering 

For those who plan to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, you must have passion and dedication in your field before enrolling in the program. This field of engineering is considered highly-specialized, and completing this curriculum entails sheer focus and determination. During college days, students in mechanical engineering develop various consulting, engineering design, quality control, financial planning, consulting, and working with other clients and engineers. 

When you have a master’s degree in this field, you become more prepared to have careers in different sectors through course work in mathematics, fluid dynamics, quality control, and other subjects that entail wide-reach applications. Most master’s programs provide specialized mechanical engineering skills that can further sharpen the student’s skills (career-wise) and provide brighter and better jobs right after graduation. 

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Master’s in Public Health

If you are someone who loves to dedicate yourself to helping other people who require medical assistance, but you are still not a professional medical practitioner, a career in Public Health may be the perfect fit. 

Public Health has an interesting history that dates way back, aiming to improve the health of everybody worldwide. From family planning to vaccination programs to preventive medicine, these are just some of the many examples to show how public health plays a relevant role globally. While the Master’s in Public Health program is very broad, below are some of the careers you can get when you have this master’s degree. 

  • Health Informatics Specialist. Employers for this type of public health career include food and drug administration clinics, local government, clinical biostatistics organizations, as well as other public health organizations. Also called a biostatistician, a health informatics specialist is responsible for analyzing different kinds of healthcare data. From there, these data are applied in statistical principles relevant to medical research and public health. You will also be dealing with genome projects, clinical trials, and pinpoint population health trends. The main responsibilities of a biostatistician include:
  • Monitor and analyze data analysis software and databases
  • Develop effective statistical protocols
  • Use math, statistics, and computer science skills to collect data reports.
  • Healthcare Administrator. This healthcare professional is usually hired by clinics, hospitals, wellness centers, and healthcare facilities. As a healthcare administrator, you are responsible for overseeing all the things in a healthcare facility. You handle staff organization, delegate tasks, and ensure that the whole organization has all the needed inventory and resources. Being a healthcare administrator, you are expected to:
  • Keep in close contacts with different organizations, as well as health equipment suppliers
  • Be involved in the policies surrounding public healthcare, and that you should learn how to improve or resolve issues that may potentially happen in the healthcare system
  • Manage and coordinate the many health services that your organization has.
  • Epidemiologist. As an epidemiologist, you can find jobs in the local or national public health department, health institutes, and private (pharmaceutical) companies. You are responsible for monitoring and evaluating the spread of diseases, and you must understand the causes of these diseases and find a solution and possible treatment. Scientists and epidemiologists have similar tasks: they both combine knowledge from Statistics, Biology, and Math, keeping in mind to also factor in different socio-economic factors. Other responsibilities of an epidemiologist include:
  • Closely keep an eye on epidemics and give substantial reports with all the data collected.
  • Training and educating policymakers about infections and diseases.
  • Evaluating both local and national government health agencies. 
  • Public Health Project Managers. These professionals work in social work associations, non-government offices, research institutions, and government agencies. The main responsibility of a public health project manager is to develop and oversee how public health projects are implemented, keeping in mind that these projects must improve the total well-being. While this career is quite a feat considering the sizeable number of most communities, it’s even made more challenging because you are there to manage the budget and overcome unexpected problems and achieve the project’s objectives without major delays. Other roles of public health project managers include:
  • Evaluating each progress of a project and finding other ways to better improve the over efficacy.
  • Assigning tasks and managing staff members.
  • Providing regular updates to the staff, documenting project activities, and writing reports. 
  • Health and Safety Engineer. These professionals are responsible for the design of equipment, machinery, and other systems that help prevent diseases or improve human health. They make sure that these products (machines or equipment used in buildings and factories) work perfectly and safely. They distinguish hazards, check safety and health programs and regulations, and in certain cases, even investigate accidents. Health and safety engineers also:
  • Identify possible hazards in types of machinery, facilities, and safety equipment
  • Check safety programs for employees and staff and suggest improvements
  • Secure safety devices on types of machinery
  • Double-check plans for new equipment and machinery, making sure that they meet the right safety standards.
  • Public Health Educators. These professionals work in non-government organizations, public and private firms, and government agencies. They are trained to inform the public about safety and health concerns, and from there, teach them about properly taking care of themselves and the people surrounding them. Say, for instance, usual presentations and lectures may focus on HIV/AIDS awareness. 

Public health educators provide all the necessary information, hand out brochures and flyers, and encourage the public to be more proactive in dealing with the issue and submitting regular health check-ups. Other common responsibilities for public health educators also include:

  • They answer inquiries from the public and provide relevant answers and suggestions.
  • They come up with workshops and lectures that people can easily adapt to.
  • They make informational materials and hand them out during meetings and presentations.
  • Healthcare Consultants. Large and private healthcare organizations usually hire healthcare consultants. They are tasked to evaluate a healthcare institution’s management and activities, and if problems happen, they must find ways to solve the issues efficiently. Consultants often compare their differing options, provide reports, and join meetings with clients. They also:
  • Create informational documents and manuals to help staff members improve their performance.
  • Evaluate, design, and suggest possible ways in implementing technologies and procedures surrounding the healthcare industry. 
  • Is there a difference between a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) and a Master’s in Public Health? The only difference between both is their area of focus. MSPH degrees educate students in advanced research. This course prepares them for future careers as educators in academics or researchers in research institutions. On the other hand, the MPH is more on developing students the useful and practical skills that they can apply in different public health careers.

Nevertheless, it’s best not to rely solely on the name of a degree. After all, every university has its naming scheme for its study programs. 

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Master’s in Software Engineering

Software engineers are very smart people. These professionals develop computer systems software, and to be able to do that, they must have extensive knowledge about the many types of programming languages. They are also responsible for building application software like database programs and web browsers. In most cases, software engineers work in offices. Whether they work independently or are part of a team, software engineers can easily find employment in development firms and software publishers. 

Furthermore, a master’s in software engineering helps the graduates for better career options, higher paychecks, and management-level positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a potential 21% growth in the software engineering world from 2018-2020. That’s four times faster than any traditional field of expertise in the entirety of the US. While having a degree in software engineer is already impressive, having a master’s degree in this field will help you stand out from all the other applicants in your field. 

A bachelor’s degree in software engineers teaches its students the basics of the field. On the other hand, the master’s degree goes deeper, discussing emerging technologies and the best software solutions. Plus, the master’s program gives more room for greater specialization. This allows students to explore several further topics that closely align with their career goals.

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So, should you or should you not get a master’s degree?

Whether you are a candidate for graduation for your bachelor’s degree, or you already have graduated, is a master’s degree worth it? Should you enroll in a master’s right after you graduate? Or do you have to wait for a few years before you decide to become a student again? There is no right or wrong answer to this. But here’s a basic comparison:

Reasons Why You Should Enroll in a Master’s After your Bachelor’s Degree Graduation

  • You are relatively younger; thus, you have more energy. 
  • This helps you define your targets and goals better.
  • You get to study and grow together with your age bracket.

Reasons Why to Enroll in a Master’s Later in Life

  • You are more knowledgeable and experienced than the rest.
  • You have a clear understanding already of what you want.
  • Changing careers is now easier.
  • You are financially ready to fund your schooling.
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All in all, the decision on when you will get a master’s degree is a personal one. Timing is very important. And it is only you who will know whether or not you are ready or in the right mood to go back to school. But the bottom line here is that a master’s degree can do so much more to your career.