Are you ready to take your education to the next level? Check out this advanced degree overview and determine if the degree you’re pursuing is the right one for you.
Admission into a master’s degree program may involve taking a grad school test (e.g., GRE, MAT, GMAT) and completing a competitive application process. Earning a master’s degree typically requires one to two years of full-time study, cumulative final exams, and a master’s thesis. Academic master’s degrees — master of arts (MA) and master of science (MS) — are designed to lead to a doctoral degree. Professional master’s degrees prepare students for entrance into a specific career, and do not require any further education.
Examples of professional master’s degrees: master of business administration (MBA), master of social work (MSW), master of library science (MLS), master of fine arts (MFA).
A doctoral degree is the highest degree you can earn for graduate study. Admission to doctoral degree programs is competitive and usually requires high scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) tests as well as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field. Earning your doctorate can take anywhere from three to nine years or more, depending on your area of study and the time it takes to complete your dissertation. You’ll need to take comprehensive oral exams, and identify, research, write, and defend your dissertation.
Examples of doctoral degrees: doctor of education (Ed.D.), doctor of public health (Dr.P.H.), doctor of nursing science (D.NSc.), doctor of psychology (Psy.D.), doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.).
Admission into a first-professional degree program typically involves taking a grad school test (e.g., LSAT, MCAT, PCAT) and completing a competitive application process. First-professional degree programs, which take at least six years of college work, consist of all the education required to begin practice in a particular profession, culminating in a national or state board exam, thesis, or dissertation.
First-professional degrees may be awarded in 10 fields: chiropractic (DC or DCM); dentistry (DDS or DMD); law (LLB, JD); medicine (MD); optometry (OD); osteopathic medicine (DO); pharmacy (Pharm.D.); podiatry (DPM, DP, or Pod.D.); theology (M.Div., MHL, BD, or Ordination); and veterinary medicine (DVM).
Advanced degree payoff
What you’ve heard is true — the higher the degree, the bigger the bucks. In fact, adults with advanced degrees earn four times more than those with less than a high school diploma, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Here’s an annual earnings breakdown by degree:
No high school diploma: $25,374
High school diploma: $34,197
Bachelor’s degree: $57,026
Master’s degree: $69,958
Doctoral degree: $88,867
First-professional degree: $103,411
Choose your advanced degree today, and reap career rewards for a lifetime.