Whether you have just recently earned your bachelor’s degree or you are ready to change careers, furthering your education can be an excellent option. However, due to the expense and time commitments involved with enrolling in a master’s degree program, it is important to choose the program, and the college or university at which you will enroll, carefully.
One way to choose the best master’s degree program is to consider what career you would like to begin once you have earned your degree. One great web site to research possible careers is the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Occupational Outlook Handbook will tell you whether the need for the job will grow in the future, how much pay you can expect at the job, and the education requirements for that career. You can browse around and learn more about jobs that you did not even know existed, or find out the details on an occupation that you’ve always been interested in but did not know much about.
On a broader scale, you should consider your future goals and values. Take the time to sit down and write your goals, from specific to big-picture. Do you want to work outdoors? Help people? Build things? Problem-solve? Have a workweek with regular hours? Figuring out your own personal goals will help you narrow down the possibilities for your future career.
Once you have determined the area of study you would like to pursue, you will probably find that you are able to enroll in the program at a variety of colleges or universities. You may decide to enroll in a brick and mortar college that is in your community, or you may discover that your program is offered at one of the many accredited online colleges and universities that are around today. Choosing an online program offers more flexibility with your schedule, but if you find that you learn better face to face or that you are not a good manager of time without the structure of a regular class schedule, you may decide to attend a brick and mortar institution nearby.
Finally, if you have decided upon a program of study but are unable to find a university with that program, be aware that many colleges and universities now allow students to develop their own programs of study, provided they meet the institution’s degree requirements. Therefore, there is little need to feel limited in your choice of degree program, especially if you are interested in a relatively new area of study.
Choosing a master’s degree program is an important step, so you should consider your options carefully before committing your time and money to a course of study. With the variety of programs offered at colleges and universities nearby and online, you should be able to find the program that suits you best and offers the best chances for your success.