Best Master's Degrees for the Future

Some of the best areas to obtain a master's degree in based on job relevance, salary, and predicted job growth include biomedical engineering, computer science, physician's assisting, and information systems. Keep reading to learn more.

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When it comes to selecting a master's degree for the future, there are several considerations to help narrow down which fields of study are the best. Job relevance, pay, and job growth are all factors that are important in predicting future need. Bringing all these components into play, jobs in biomedical and computer science fields come in as the top areas to obtain a master's degree.

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Overview of Best Master's Degree Programs for the Future

The continued advance of technology in our world is a major force behind computer science, and an aging baby boomer population drives the need for jobs in the medical field. Master's degrees in these two areas are considered to be among the best for the future because they are highly relevant and can provide individuals with specialized skills.

Below are four master's degree programs that are specific to these areas - biomedical engineering, physician's assisting, computer science, and information systems - along with career information for graduates.

Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering

While a master's degree is not required to work in this field, it can lead to career advancement. Biomedical engineering covers a varied range of careers that involve combining medical science and engineering to design and implement equipment, devices and software used in the medical field. Biomedical engineers can be spread out in the fields of manufacturing, teaching, or research.

Most research and managerial jobs in this field require a graduate degree or an MBA. In addition, obtaining a master's in biomedical engineering can be a stepping stone towards a Ph.D. Master's degree programs offer several options. One option, called a thesis track, allows participation in research projects and generally takes two years to complete. Students might also be able to obtain their master's degree in one year by narrowing the focus of their studies to a specific area, such as biomedical data science or systems biology. Some schools also offer students the option of pursuing a dual MS/MBA. This combines knowledge and expertise of both business and science/biomedical areas.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

Payscale.com reports a median salary of $63,560 for biomedical engineers in 2018. A fast increase in salary in the first ten years of one's career is typical, with mid-career professionals earning median salaries of $77,678. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 7% job growth rate in this field between 2016 and 2026. The aging population of baby boomers is expected to drive the need for biomedical engineers.

Master's Degree in Physician's Assisting

Another career that reports a high salary along with an extremely fast projected job growth rate is that of physician's assistant. Often referred to as a PA, physician's assistants work under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They can examine as well as treat and diagnose patients. Unlike medical doctors, a PA can obtain credentials in a shorter time period - typically two years - which makes them desirable.

To become a physician's assistant, a master's degree is required from an accredited educational program. These two-year programs combine classwork, lab work, and clinical observation. Individuals must also pass the Physician's Assistant National Certifying Exam to be certified and practice.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

The BLS reports that the median wage for a physician's assistant was $101,480 as of 2016. Moreover, Payscale.com notes that having specialized skills in emergency medicine is likely to increase the salary of a PA.

The aging population of baby boomers plays a role in the need for individuals in this field. The primary reason that a master's degree in this field is one of the best is the astronomical projected job growth. Between 2016 and 2026, the job growth rate is expected to be 37%, according to the BLS. This is much higher than most careers.

Master's Degree in Computer Science

As long as technology continues to develop, there will always be a need for individuals who are adept at studying and solving problems in computing. For this reason alone, computer science is one of the best areas to hold a master's degree in. This degree can take anywhere from two to five years to obtain after acquiring a bachelor's degree in a related field. Students might take general courses in such areas as mathematical foundations and computer systems, while also attending seminars and taking courses that focus on a specific area of interest.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

Computer scientists are needed in nearly every arena, from corporations to the health care industry. Aside from solving problems, they invent and design innovative approaches to computing. The BLS reports that the median income for computer and information research scientists was $118,840 as of 2016. Another appealing aspect of a master's degree in this field is the expected job growth. From 2016 to 2026, a 19% job growth rate is projected - much faster than average.

Master's Degree in Information Systems

Graduates of these programs can work as information security analysts who plan and implement methods to protect computer systems within a company. Like computer scientists, these individuals are needed in a variety of areas: businesses, financial companies, computer companies, health systems, and more. There is a lot of relevance in this field, as the nature of cyberattacks and computer hackers changes and becomes more complex over time.

A master's degree is not required for these positions, but it is advantageous. Generally, prospective information security analysts would pursue an information systems MBA, which typically requires two years of study beyond undergraduate work. These programs include core business courses in addition to courses in areas like information systems development and software quality management. Some schools even allow students to choose from a managerial or technical track.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

The need for information security analysts between 2016 and 2026 is expected to grow at a fast rate - 28% according to the BLS. This is one of the primary reasons this field is one of the best to hold a master's degree in. These professionals' median salary was $92,600 as of 2016.

When considering the ''best'' master's degrees for the future, one should contemplate not so much the physical piece of paper, but what can be accomplished with it. Biomedical engineering, physician's assisting, computer science, and information systems are four programs in which the deeper knowledge and specialized skills that come with obtaining a master's degree can be beneficial. The projected pay, job growth, and relevance of the career options in these fields are all reasons why these are the top four areas to obtain a master's degree.

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