Advanced education can be an asset that opens doors to exciting career paths and increased income, yet it requires a significant commitment of time and resources. If you are on the fence about pursuing a master’s degree, then it is time to dig a little deeper to see if graduate study is right for you.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a handy guide titled “Should I get a master’s degree?” that examines the benefits and possible challenges related to the question. In short, part of the decision-making process if a master’s degree is your next wise step relies on the kind of career path in which you are engaged or interested. There are of course some occupations in which a master’s degree is a prerequisite for even entry-level positions. These include therapists, many jobs in a traditional medical environment, social workers and more. So that is consideration number one, to see if a master’s degree is required to meet your career goals.

Alternatively, if a master’s degree is not necessarily a requirement in your chosen field, it may still prove beneficial to you in terms of enhanced skill sets and better earnings. In general, there are several professional fields that workers commonly earn more with a master’s degree as opposed to a bachelor’s degree alone. These include business, education, STEM, health care and social service.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Thinking About a Master’s Degree

Choosing whether or not to pursue a master’s degree is a personal decision and not one to be taken lightly. Take the time to answer some vital questions before moving forward.

  • Why do I want a master’s degree?

It is essential to understand what your expectations are, so you won’t be disappointed later on. Some programs, for example, are more academically focused, where the main purpose is to study a subject in greater detail. Others are more geared toward preparation for your career in a specified occupation. So, you need to know upfront what you are hoping to get out of it and if a particular program meets those needs.

  • Who can I talk to so that I can learn more?

Career resources are helpful, but insider information from others in the field and at the level that you hope to achieve can prove indispensable. Talk to people currently working in your specific field of interest about what employers are looking for so that you can find a master’s degree that matches. Tap into your network to find people, such as through your undergraduate school’s alumni career center.

  • What are relevant job postings asking for?

If in your job search you find that most of the jobs you are interested in are asking for or requiring a master’s degree, that might be a good indicator of what you need to do.

  • What will it all cost?

There are financial pros and cons to consider in this process. In addition to tuition, you will have to put money toward books and other educational expenses. Not to mention, a master’s degree takes on average two years to complete and will take available time away that could be used to earn in the workforce. Loans and financial aidcan be of major assistance, but it is important to go into a program with your eyes open.

  • Do I have other options?

Professional programs, certifications and an excellent track record of work experience are other valuable tools in the job market in addition to a master’s degree. 

Master’s Degree Programs Offered at Life University

If a master’s degree is the right next step for you, Life University (Life U) offers a range of comprehensive master’s degree programs to help you maximize your innate potential.

 In the Department of Sport Health Science at Life University, our Master of Science in Sport Health Science degree program explores numerous aspects of optimal human performance, from the elite athlete to members of the community improving their fitness.

Life U’s unparalleled master’s program in Sport Health Science is designed to advance your undergraduate and professional knowledge, experience and passion for human athletic performance. With extensive, hands-on labs, practicums and internships available both on and off campus, you won’t have to wait until after graduation to get in the game.

The M.S. Sport Health Science degree is a 52-credit hour program (approximately four quarters long). This master’s degree includes specialty tracks in the professional fields of Exercise and Sport Science; Sport Injury Management; Sport Coaching; Nutrition and Sport Science; Chiropractic Sport Science; and Tennis Fitness and Sport Science. The curriculum is designed to permit graduates with an interest in these specific sport health science concentrations to realize their personal and professional goals.

A growing understanding of the health impact of sound nutrition, along with concerns about an aging population, food safety and a rise in nutrition-related disorders, is fueling demand for nutrition experts. Life U’s Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition provides you with just such an education to fulfill this demand.

Clinical nutritionists need to understand and interpret the implications of clinical research, use such research in evidence-based practice, and collect and analyze data. Contemporary dietetics professionals must also possess a strong understanding of “nutrigenomics,” the study of the effects of food on gene expression and an understanding of the biological activity of food components.

Life U offers the MSPP with two tracks: General Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. The MSPP is a fully accredited, one-of-a-kind online degree program. In fact, it is one of only a handful of such highly sought-after programs in the entire world. The MSPP at Life U investigates strengths-based research that enables individuals and communities to thrive. It is focused on the study of flourishing and positive human functioning, in particular within key areas such as meaning in life and cultivating gratitude, compassion and forgiveness.

Life U is constantly working to provide new and innovative programs for students, so please visit the College of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies homepage to see updates to offerings.


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