Five in-demand graduate degrees and their careers

Five in-demand graduate degrees and their careers

Today's volatile job market has people thinking about the value of graduate degrees. While not all graduate programs can lead to heightened employability or a boost in salary (for example, a Ph.D. in art history or British literature may not enable you to easily enter the field of online marketing or to gain a salary increase in your software developer job), those who earn certain graduate degrees are expected to see significant gains in employment opportunities over the next few years.

Five fast-growing careers

1. Industrial-organizational psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists are expected to experience a whopping 53 percent growth in employment between 2012 and 2022. The 2013 national median pay for this job was $80,330, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those who choose this career path seek to improve work environments by applying their knowledge of human psychology to help managers, employees and teams better navigate such things as training, employee morale and management styles. In order to become an industrial-organizational psychologist, one typically needs to earn a master's degree in psychology.

2. Physician assistant

This career in the medical field is projected to achieve a national job growth rate of 38 percent between 2012 and 2022, and the annual median salary was $92,970 in 2013, according to the BLS. Physician assistants work with a team of physicians, nurses and medical assistants to treat and develop health plans for patients. They conduct physical exams, make medical diagnoses, prescribe medications, review patients' medical histories and even engage in health promotion programs. Becoming a physician assistant typically requires the completion of an accredited master's degree program in physician assistant studies.

3. Physical therapist

The BLS expects this hands-on profession to have a projected job growth of 36 percent between 2012 and 2022. In 2013, the BLS reported that physical therapists had a national median annual salary of $81,030. Physical therapists work with physically injured patients to help them regain strength and mobility. Their typical duties include diagnosing patient injuries, setting up recovery plans (including recommended exercises and stretches) and monitoring patients' progress as they regain physical strength. In order to become a physical therapist, one must complete an accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (DPT) program. In addition, they must earn a license in order to practice.

4. Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)

Those who pursue specialized nursing roles can look for a projected job growth of 31 percent between 2012 and 2022. Types of APRNs include nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists. Their salary depends on their specialization. For example, according to the BLS, nurse midwives earned a national annual median salary of $92,290 in 2013, while nurse practitioners earned $92,670. APRNs develop patient care plans and may provide specialty or primary health care to patients. While APRNs' typical responsibilities vary depending on their specialty, their workday may include recording patients' medical history; performing physical exams and medical diagnoses; developing patient care plans alongside physicians, physician assistants, and medical assistants; administering patient medications and treatments; prescribing medicines; and conducting research. Becoming an APRN requires at least a master's degree in one's area of specialty. Advanced practice registered nurses must be registered nurses (RNs) before they can become APRNs. APRN programs prefer candidates who first have a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program. APRNs, like registered nurses, must also pass a national certification exam and obtain a license.

5. Software developers

This technology-focused career field is expected to experience job growth of 22 percent between 2012 and 2022. The national median annual salary in 2013 was $92,660 per year for application developers and $101,410 per year for systems software developers, as reported by the BLS. While software developers generally only need a bachelor's degree in computer science (CS), a graduate degree in CS may be desirable or required for certain jobs.

Sources:

Fastest Growing Occupations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193032.htm

Most New Jobs, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/most-new-jobs.htm

Nurse Midwives, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291161.htm

Nurse Practitioners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm

Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm

Physical Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm

Physical Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm

Physician Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291071.htm

Physician Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm

Psychologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

Software Developers, Applications, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151132.htm

Software Developers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm

Software Developers, Systems Software, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151133.htm

Schools
Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Showing schools in your area

            Matching School Ads
            • Explore bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in social science fields like psychology, applied behavioral science, sociology, cognitive studies, and public sociology.
            • Pursue a tech degree in areas like computer software technology, cyber & data security technology, information technology, and more.
            • Most degree programs are offered entirely online in a flexible format that fits into the busy lives of working adults.
            • Classes last 5 weeks for undergraduate programs and 6 weeks for graduate programs.
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
            • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
            • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
            • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
            • Online Courses
            Good for Working Adults
            • Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
            • Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
            • Provides IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
            • A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
            • For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to: www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            • Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
            • As a regionally accredited, private, online and graduate-focused university, NCU offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, technology management, education, and psychology, as well as doctoral and master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy.
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            • Recognized as the largest university in the Chicago area, with 27,580 students and 15 colleges.
            • Listed as one of the top 200 research-funded institutions in the world, with more than $291 million research funds in FY 2013.
            • Proud to be a tobacco-free campus, prohibiting all forms of tobacco within campus boundaries.
            • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits

            At Sacred Heart, students are fully supported on their journey to gain greater skills and knowledge to become a change agent for good. SHU offers graduate degree and certificate programs in a convenient and flexible online format.

            • Online Courses
            Good for Working Adults
            • Customize your coursework - select a concentration or specialization to best suit your individual and career goals.
            • Learn from renowned faculty with real-world experience and expertise in their respective fields.
            • Experience dynamic and engaging content through video conferencing and podcasts where you'll engage in real-time conversation and learn to express thoughts succinctly and confidently to a diverse group of peers.
            • Receive robust, comprehensive career support services to help you define your career goals and leverage your new degree to the fullest.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits

            St. John's is a Catholic Vincentian University that prepares students for personal and professional success in today's global society. Based in New York City, it is a diverse institution with a globally focused curriculum.

            • Online Courses

            The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs. You can choose one of six degree programs from a selective institution ranked among the top 10 master’s universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

            • Online Courses