Selecting the Right Graduate Degree

Graduation cap on a book next to a degree.

When making this decision, consider your current career path, future job markets, timeline, and flexibility. Here are a few questions you need to answer before you select a degree:

  • Do you want to continue on your current career path?
  • Does your current career match the future job market?
  • What has more value to you, quick or detailed?
  • Do you want a specific degree or a degree that leaves your options open?

Most degrees fall under one of the following areas of study:

  • Business Administration
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Electronics
  • Health Care or Medical Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Psychology / Social and Human Services

These degree areas can be further narrowed down to very specific areas of concentration. Having pre-determined career goals can help make choosing your degree a simple process.

Tip: Career counselors and Education Service Officers can help you make the career choice that matches your skills and interests by giving you a career skills and interest assessment. This will help you focus on the career options that match your experience, skills, and personal interests. Active duty and reserve servicemembers can contact their local education service office or career counselor for details. Veterans can get this counseling and employment assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Future Career Opportunities

Although factoring future job growth into your degree choice may mean taking more classes, which in turn will increase your time and expense, it is well worth the effort. In fact combining your personal interests with the forecasted job market is a sure way to make the most of your education benefits.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor the future top career fields include:

  • Computer Engineering, Network Management and Support
  • Health Care Professions
  • Education (Both K-12 and Higher Education).
  • Human Resource and Social Work
  • Environmental/Hazardous Material Management

Fast and Flexible

Some degrees are more flexible than others; for instance, Master's in Business Administration (MBA) degrees are often the fastest and most flexible. In addition, an MBA can be as narrow or broadly focused as you like, and nearly every college offers business degree programs.

Once you have made your degree choice, you will need to find a school that offers that degree and has programs that fit your needs. Use the School Finder to find schools that not only have the program you want but also accept the benefits you are entitled to.

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