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Masters Degree Programs in Florida

Overview of Master's Education in Florida

In Florida, masters degrees can be earned at a variety of institutions, including 11 of the 12 comprising Florida's state university system (flbog.edu, 2013). Students can also get a graduate education at many of the 31 schools that are members of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (icuf.org, 2013). At many Florida colleges, including the University of Florida, Florida International University and the University of South Florida, online master degrees are offered. Approximately 9 percent of Floridians have earned a graduate or professional degree according to 2011 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, slightly below the national average (luminafoundation.org, 2013).

To enter Florida masters programs, students must typically have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution or be enrolled in an accelerated bachelor's-master's hybrid degree program. Some schools may require the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or another standardized test such as the GMAT. In addition, applicants may need to meet a minimum GPA requirement. International applicants must meet U.S. visa requirements and may have to demonstrate proof of English proficiency (travel.state.gov, 2013). Specific programs may have their own criteria -- generally coursework in an academic discipline related to the degree being sought.

Hospitality Management Master's Degree in Florida

Because of Florida's mild winter climate, extensive coastlines, and high density of theme parks and resorts, the state's economy has long benefitted from tourism. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida employed more than a million people in the hospitality and leisure industry as of June 2013 (bls.gov/eag, 2013). Many jobs in hospitality and leisure are hourly positions that do not require a college degree. However, management positions may call for a degree in a related area. For example, those who earn their master's in hospitality management may qualify to become lodging managers. As of May 2012, more than 1,850 lodging managers worked in Florida (bls.gov/oes, 2013).

Aerospace Engineering Master's Degree in Florida

According to Enterprise Florida (eflorida.com, 2013), Florida has over 500 aerospace companies employing roughly 31,000 individuals. As a result, the aerospace industry plays a key role in Florida's economy. Cape Canaveral and nearby Merritt Island are home to two spaceports, and major aerospace firms including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon are also located in Florida. Those looking to enter this field may want to earn their master's in aerospace engineering. According to the BLS, a graduate degree may qualify individuals for research and development positions (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

Popular Schools in Florida for Earning a Master's Degree

Based on fall 2012 graduate enrollment figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (nces.ed.gov, 2013), the three most popular schools for Florida masters programs are Nova Southeastern University (22,060), the University of Florida(17,137), and the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida (10,001).

In addition, the following Florida graduate schools have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report (usnews.com, 2013):

  • University of Florida: named 54th best university and 17th best public university in the nation, third best for graduate biological/agricultural engineering, seventh best for graduate audiology, and fourth best for online graduate business programs.
  • Rollins College: named best university in the South and second best value nationwide.
  • Stetson University: named third best university in the South and the fourth best value nationwide.
  • University of South Florida: named as having the 22nd best online master's engineering program.

Note: Latest rankings as of summer 2013

Employment Outlook in Florida

In July 2013, Florida had an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, and the non-farming economy grew by approximately 1.9 percent from the previous year (bls.gov/eag, 2013). Potential career opportunities for graduates of master's programs in Florida include aerospace engineers. Aerospace engineers in Florida earned a mean annual wage of $87,050 in May 2012, lower than the national average for this profession, $104,810 (bls.gov/oes, 2013). From 2012 to 2020, employment of aerospace engineers in Florida is expected to grow 2 percent according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (floridajobs.org, 2013). As the BLS points out, the use of automation and robotics combined with increased productivity will likely reduce low-end production employment in this occupation. However, an advanced education may qualify individuals for research and development positions, which the BLS expects to be in higher demand (bls.gov/ooh, 2012)

For those seeking management opportunities in the hospitality and leisure industry, employment of lodging managers is expected to increase by 8.5 percent in Florida between 2012 and 2020 (floridajobs.org, 2013). In May 2012, lodging managers earned a mean annual salary of $66,280 in Florida, beating the national average of $54,800 (bls.gov/oes, 2013) According to the BLS, professionals who have a degree in hotel or hospitality management should have the best job prospects, especially at high-end hotels (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).


Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economy at a Glance: Florida, Aug. 19, 2013 http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.fl.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Lodging Managers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/lodging-managers.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Aerospace Engineers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/aerospace-engineers.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Florida, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_fl.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida, The Importance of Independent Education, http://www.icuf.org/newdevelopment/about-icuf/importance/
U.S. Department of State, Student Visas, http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html
U.S. News & World Report, University of Florida, Accessed Aug. 19, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-florida-134130/overall-rankings
U.S. News & World Report, University of South Florida, Accessed Aug. 19, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-south-florida-main-campus-137351/overall-rankings
U.S. News & World Report, Rollins College, Accessed Aug. 19, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rollins-college-136950/overall-rankings
U.S. News & World Report, Stetson University, Accessed Aug. 19, 2013, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/stetson-university-137546/overall-rankings
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 2010-2020 Statewide Employment Projections, Accessed Aug. 19, 2013, http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/employment-projections
National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS Data Center, Accessed Aug. 19, 2013, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/Default.aspx
Enterprise Florida, Aviation & Aerospace, 2013, http://www.eflorida.com/Aviation_Aerospace.aspx?id=306

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