The decision to pursue a master’s degree in your field of interest shouldn’t be taken lightly. For one thing, you’ll have to be prepared for several years of serious study, and you’ll have to be prepared to take on the financial obligation. Even if you are eligible for student loans, sooner or later, those loans will have to be repaid. So take the time to think about your abilities and interests: pursuing a master’s degree in systems analysis when you really just want to design websites would be a waste of your time and money.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Ideally, you’ll choose a program that not only dovetails with your interests, but that will pay off in terms of financial compensation as well as career growth. Your first step is to do some research. One of the best places to start is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS has an enormous data base of information they have gathered for decades—it is a good reference point to start narrowing your options. This website lists all of the web design jobs that require a master’s degree.
Take a look at the best paying careers that require a master’s degree in web design, and eliminate choices that don’t match your interests. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
• What are the immediate job prospects when I get my degree?
• What is the average pay scale?
• What is the occupational outlook for the field I’m considering?
• Will I need on-the-job training?
Search for a College Program
Once you’ve decided on which career field that interests you, start looking for degree programs. Masters’s in Web Design programs often have specific concentrations, such as Game Design and Development or Database Design. Carefully consider your strengths, weaknesses, interests, talents and career goals as you research the best degree for you.
Many universities now offer online master degree programs, some with low or no residency requirements. If you are already working or have a family, this is probably the best option for you. Online programs offer lots of flexibility, and some programs offer an extended period of time to earn your degree. It’s very important that you consider the residency requirements of any program. If you choose a degree program from a college that is located far from your home, you may find it impossible to fulfill the on-campus residency requirements—often this is only a few weeks a year, but if you cannot find the time or the money to travel to the campus, you won’t be able to enroll in that program.
Consider all of the Angles
The perfect master’s degree program for you should be affordable, the college should have research capabilities that you can access (such as an extensive online library) and the time limitations to obtain the degree should be flexible enough to accommodate your lifestyle.
Make sure the college is fully accredited and that it will accept your educational credits or degree. Take the time to explore the credentials of the faculty staff. And finally, search online for student feedback—previous student’s experiences could give you valuable insight.