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Career Information for a Master's Degree Program

Oct 10, 2019

A master's degree program gives students a distinct advantage in the employment marketplace, demonstrating to employers their proven, in-depth knowledge of a subject. Read more about the career options that master's degree holders can pursue.

After completing a bachelor's degree, it is possible to pursue graduate studies and complete a master's degree. Some career options that require or prefer a master's degree include being a physician's assistant, a school and career counselor, a market research analyst, or a librarian.

Essential Information

Master's degree programs develop and refine knowledge of a particular subject, leading to demonstrated expertise, increased specialized knowledge and, ultimately, increased employability. Admission to master's programs usually requires a bachelor's degree in a related field with sufficiently high undergraduate grades and letters of recommendation from professors. Degree programs are available in virtually every field, including history, nuclear physics, and exercise science. Upon receiving a master's degree, students can either enter the workforce or continue their education by pursuing a doctoral degree, which provides further instruction in their field of choice. Read on for information about a few master's-level careers.

Career Physician Assistant School and Career Counselor Market Research Analysts
Required Education Master's degree Master's degree Master's degree required for top positions
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 31% 8% 20%
Median Salary (2018)* $108,610 $56,310 $63,120

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

People who have obtained master's degrees can find work as, among many other things, physician assistants, market researchers, librarians and school and career counselors. For some positions, a bachelor's degree may be the entry-level requirement, but more senior positions will require a master's degree.

Physician Assistant

Physician assistants, commonly referred to as PAs, work closely with surgeons, physicians, and other healthcare workers to provide medical treatment to patients. These professionals are responsible for examining, diagnosing, and treating people suffering from various physical ailments. Other job duties include counseling a patient, carrying out research, and providing support to team members. In addition to a master's degree, many PAs have previous healthcare experience, such as prior work as an EMT or registered nurse.

Students looking to become PAs can expect to encounter an excellent job market; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth for these professionals should continue at a high rate (31%) from 2018-2028. This career is also a lucrative one, with a median salary of $108,610, per the BLS.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts are responsible for analyzing data from historic sales statistics in order to predict future movements or trends. Much of the work concerns determining what information is needed and designing or establishing ways of recovering that information. Duties may involve creating, administering or conducting questionnaires, surveys or telephone or face-to-face interviews. Once this information has been collected, market research analysts make recommendations concerning marketing strategy to senior management. Recommendations may cover price, packaging, promotion, distribution or design of a product or new range of products. Employment opportunities are expected to increase 20%, much faster than the average for all occupations, from 2018-2028, according to the BLS. Median earnings as of May 2018 were approximately $63,120 per annum, the BLS reported.

Librarian

A librarian's job is quite diverse, and they're required to perform multiple tasks on a daily basis. In addition to conducting research, librarians assist patrons in finding books and materials, plan events for guests of all ages, and, in some cases, plan budgets. Job duties typically depend on the type of institution; librarians on a university campus normally focus on research-based tasks, while those working for a public library often interact with the local community on a regular basis.

Aspiring librarians will need to earn a master's degree in library science (MLS). Graduates looking for work must contend with a meager job market: the BLS estimates that job opportunities for librarians will only increase by 6% in the next several years. Librarians earned a median annual salary of $59,050 as of 2018, per the BLS.

School and Career Counselor

A master's degree is the minimum educational requirement to become a school or career counselor. These professionals may work in elementary, middle or high schools, as well as colleges, private practices and corporate career centers. Their job duties include helping individuals determine which career path is right for them. Counselors work with students to choose an appropriate educational program that will help them achieve their career goals. Other duties for school counselors may include providing counseling for behavioral and social problems, giving students interviews and assessment and giving guidance lessons to classes. Career counselors also help individuals learn interviewing techniques, deal with problems in the workplace and set goals.

According to the BLS, school and career counselors can expect to have faster-than-average job growth of 8% from 2018 through 2028. There will be demand for these professionals in schools, private practices and vocational rehabilitation organizations. Salaries vary by employer: in 2018, those working for the federal executive branch earned the highest average wage of $71,690. Meanwhile, those working in individual and family services earned an average wage of $44,940.

School and career counselors and librarians are required to have a master's degree to begin their career; market research analysts can secure entry-level jobs with a bachelor's degree, but a master's is required for advancement. Physicians assistants are required to have a master's degree, and from 2018 to 2028 are expected to enjoy a job growth rate that's much faster than average. Market research analysts will also experience strong job growth during this time, while school and career counselors will see good job growth and librarians will experience average job growth during the same decade.

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