College degree master online is a need of the day, with the country focusing on generating more and more high-value jobs in service, consulting, and intellectual-property, while willing to relinquish low-value jobs in manufacturing and technology to the third world through outsourcing.
When this trend gathers further momentum in the coming years, one thing is sure - the current distribution of the US labor force, among high school diploma holders, associate degree holders, bachelor's degree holders, master's degree holders, professional degree holders, and doctorate holders, will be in for a major realignment, which will clearly be in favor of those having a master's degree and above.
However, the increasing competition for regular graduate admissions, as well as the increasing financial burden when quitting work to enroll at a regular graduate school, has made college degree master online the way to go for many Americans aspiring for a master's degree.
No wonder, the penetration of distance education is highest in graduate schools, compared with institutions offering predominantly associate, bachelor's, professional, or doctoral degrees. In 2005, 44% of schools offering face-to-face master's degree programs, had started offering them online too.
What It Involves:
College degree master online is about distance learning or online courses that lead to graduate degrees like Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Education (MEd), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and many more specialized master's degrees.
For most subjects, the duration of studies needed for a master's degree ranges between 1 to 2 years. The normal prerequisite is a 4-year Bachelor's degree, while in some subjects and some colleges, a few years of professional work too will be needed. For example, online MBA programs from almost all prestigious institutions will need work experience for enrolling.
Also, some graduate subjects are usually not available through distance learning. Examples are Juris Doctor (JD) and Doctor of Medicine (MD). Though they require a 4-year Bachelor's degree as a prerequisite, they are considered first as professional degrees rather than master's degrees. However, real master's degrees in these subjects, like, LLM and MS (Medicine) might be available with a significant online component.
Good scores in standardized tests like GRE and GMAT might be necessary for admission at some of the more prestigious Universities. College degree master online will be demanding, as a typical program will be a mixture of course-based and research-based learning.
Why College Degree?
The nation enjoys a literacy rate of 99.9, which is also a first rank it shares with 20 other developed countries. However, among the US adult population, only 27% have received a bachelor's degree or above. The rest of the adult population either holds a high school diploma, an associate degree, or haven't completed their education.
Such a scenario was fine with an economy dominated by manufacturing and farming. However, as the nation continually moved up the value rung, a college degree became an absolute necessity. The value with which industry regards degree holders is evident from the fact that their average salary exceeds the national average by more than $10,000.
Why College Degree Master?
Today only 8.9% of the American student community go for a master's degree. But America is again moving up the value rung through outsourcing - shifting from leadership in the technology sectors, to leadership in intellectual property, consultancy, and services.
Today, it won't be an exaggeration to state that a typical American white-collar job demands a master's degree. The only exceptions are first professional degrees like Bachelor of Science (BS) in Engineering, Doctor of Medicine (MD), Juris Doctor (JD), and other such professional degrees. Even in these fields, a master's degree is more desirable today, than it was ten years back.
The most important factor favoring master's degree holders is that many of tomorrow's fastest growing occupations require a master's degree. This makes a master's degree the passport to high-growth careers.
These include physical therapists, occupational therapists, educational counselors, instructional coordinators, rehabilitation counselors, mental health counselors, operations managers, management analysts, financial managers, information system managers, and sales managers.
Interestingly, at least in some of these fastest growing occupations, a master's degree has also become a prerequisite for professional licensing.
Master's degree holders squarely beat bachelor's degree holders in both earnings and employment rates. While they earn nearly $800 more per month than bachelor's degree holders on an average, their unemployment rate is much better at 2.1, compared with the 2.6 among bachelor's degree holders. Clearly, these two factors combine to provide a kind of insurance against unemployment.
Lastly, many academically bright people go for a master's degree, since they plan to attain one day the terminal degree in their subject, a doctorate.
Why College Degree Master Online?
Due to factors like better salaries, entry to high-growth careers, and better protection against unemployment, there is no doubt a master's degree is today most desirable. However, opting for a regular graduate school is not for everyone.
First of all, the avenues for attending regular graduate schools are rather limited. While USA has more than 4,000 accredited colleges offering bachelor's or associate degrees, only less than 300 Universities offer master's degrees. Clearly, the available seats in these institutions are limited, compared with the increasing demand, thereby taking the competition to get graduate admission to new levels.
To manage the situation, many institutions keep an arbitrary cutoff GPA, sometimes not taking into consideration even test scores like GRE or GMAT. Clearly, the way out from this tough situation is master's degrees through distance education.
Secondly, the cost of attending regular graduate school is steadily increasing. Annual tuition will cost upwards of $15,000, while even modest boarding will set one back by at least $6000.
Add to this, the revenue loss from quitting one's job, and it becomes clear that even stipends from being a research assistant or teaching assistant at the University, won't be enough to meet the high cost-of-living of a regular graduate student. Again, the way out is a college degree master online.
Here, you keep your full time job, pay much less tuition fee, spend not an additional dollar on campus boarding, but still proceed to the much coveted master's degree.
What to Expect From College Degree Master Online, in the Future?
As demand for college degree master online increases further, the deployment of distance education in graduate schools will increase further from the current level of approximately 50%. Almost every master's degree will be available online soon.
When options and enrollments increase, costs for college degree master online will come down further. Also, it will be no surprise if college degree master online becomes the norm rather than the exception in graduate study, at least in some subjects.
Bandwidth getting faster and cheaper will result in course delivery through the Internet, especially via asynchronous video, which will become the delivery mode of choice for lectures.
College Degree Master Online solves many problems and provides many positives. It lowers unemployment risks, reduces graduate school expenses, provides admissions to a large percentage of contenders, equips one for high growth careers, and of course, helps maximize one's earning potential.
This is why master's degrees are the most widely deployed distance learning programs today, and why the situation will only get even better in the future with more options and more enrollments.
Jim Zorn is web master of the Guide to Distance Learning. Visit us to learn more about online colleges and universities, distance learning degrees, majors and courses offered.