Online master degree programs offer working students and professionals the opportunity to earn a graduate degree in a convenient and flexible online format.
Most online master degree programs are offered through accredited programs and offer the same diploma as a traditional campus degree.
Many universities and colleges have both residential and online master's programs which one might pursue on a full-time or part-time basis. Today, an increasing number of adult learners are turning to the online option. Applicants to online master degree programs should have first earned an undergraduate degree.
As with traditional masters programs, an online master program may take anywhere from one to two years to complete full-time. Some universities may offer an online dual degree that combines both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree. These may take longer. Furthermore, duration may vary between graduate schools and the type of degree you work towards.
Studies report that certain professions may require a masters degree for entry-level jobs, and also that earning a master's degree might lead to higher wages.
|Career||Median Annual Salary for Master's Degree|
Healthcare Social Workers
Urban and Regional Planners
In addition, there are many different groups that might benefit from the convenience of distance learning. An online Master's Degree program could be a great option for any of the following.
|Master of Education - Organizational Leadership||Northcentral University||MBOL|
|Master of Financial Technology and Analytics||Wake Forest University||MS|
|Master of Arts in Teaching||University of Maryland Global Campus||MAT|
|MSW Online Bilingual||Loyola University Chicago||MS|
|Master of Arts in Humanities||California State University, Northridge||MAH|
|Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction||Pennsylvania State University||MEd|
|Master of Social Work||Grand Canyon University||MSW|
|Master of Accountancy||Northern Illinois University||N/A|
|Master of Science in Data Science, Online||University of Virginia||MS|
|Master of Business Administration (MBA) - Healthcare Management||Walden University||N/A|
|M.A. Early Childhood Education||Pacific Oaks College||MA|
|Master of Science in Management||Ohio University||N/A|
There are many types of Master's Degrees but some of the most common you may have heard of are; M.A., M.S., M.B.A., M.F.A., M.P.H., M.Ed., M.S.N. and M.S.W.
The online master's degree is a “second-cycle” or postgraduate degree that is awarded to students who have demonstrated “mastery” in their academic field (according to BLS.gov). Within this tier of education, you can find different types of online master's degree programs.
Learn more about these types of Master Degrees:
Many online master's programs can actually be less expensive as traditional campus setting programs. Learn more about affordable online master degree programs here.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the Fall of 2014 -- 25% of graduate students were enrolled in exclusively online courses!
MicroMasters programs are a set of masters-level online courses that help you earn professional credentials and valuable university credits. If you are a professional and can’t take time off to earn a traditional master's degree, a MicroMasters program may be an accessible and affordable option. And now you can test drive a MicroMasters Program for Free!
While each university may define their online masters programs differently, the term “distance-learning” commonly means that the graduate student and the professor are separated by space, or by both time and space. As such, some of the potential features of earning an online master degree could include those listed below.
A factor to consider when searching for an online Master's program is how the courses, curriculum, and faculty handle the online delivery method. Often distance learning programs are mirrors of residential ones, but this is a good thing to verify.
Sometimes you have a choice between ‘tracks’ and you should spend some time researching the curricula and possible outcomes of the various online masters programs. This should give you a feel for whether it aligns with your goals. For instance, are you using the Master’s degree as a stepping stone to a Ph.D.? Do you aspire to enter the workplace after graduation? These are some things to consider when comparing online programs and schools.
If you are enrolling in an online Masters program, make sure you understand the technologies involved and that your graduate school has tech support. Sometimes there is an orientation for new students which could be beneficial to you. At the very least, make sure you have all the requirements necessary to study online. This usually includes a reliable computer or laptop, wi-fi or internet connection, and any apps required by your specific graduate program.
One of the things to consider is accreditation. Accredited graduate schools have demonstrated that they meet industry standards. You can look for regional accreditation, national accreditation and professional accreditation.
The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation are good resources. Online graduate degrees are gaining respect and becoming very popular and widely accepted. The diploma does not usually stipulate how a student earned their degree but employers may look for accreditation.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||15,060||$134,430|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$148,700||4,200|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$147,270||11,980|
|California-Lexington Park, MD||$145,620||490|
Sources: bls.gov/careeroutlook/2001/Summer/art01.pdf, nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=80, bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-5, bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5, bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm#tab-5