Which Online Degrees Can Advance Your Career?

Dec 10, 2012
  |  by Jennifer Cook

The right education can open a lot of doors for your career, and everyone touts the benefits of a college degree for increasing your earning potential and improving your employment outlook for life. But what about those of us who already have a job? Can earning a degree— possibly online or using night classes—make a difference in the trajectory of our careers?

For those who already have a degree, whether they’re already on a good career trajectory or have hit a barrier which they need more experience and education to get past, an online degree program can help them advance. But it’s not just any degree that will help you move forward in your career; you need to choose wisely. Here are three degree programs that can open up new avenues for success.

Master of Business Administration

You may have heard conflicting things about the future of masters of business programs. It’s true that business schools are seeing changes in enrollment, but it’s a shift, not a decline. The shift is toward specialized masters of business administration programs, with graduates concentrating in accounting, international business, finance and healthcare.

Full-time MBA graduates are seeing starting salaries that are 50% higher than the year before they started business school. Clearly companies are still seeing tremendous value in hiring MBA degrees, and an online program could help you earn your master’s while you’re still at work, gaining experience and proving yourself within the organization.

Master’s of Human Resource Management

The need to manage human capital is more critical to companies than ever. Many top firms are having trouble staffing critical positions, and they need. And with a degree in HR management, you’ll be able to help them attract and hold onto highly skilled employees.

Organizational development and talent cultivation are also key skills you’ll gain through a HRM master’s. Even with the best recruiting program in the world, a dysfunctional, disorganized company is going to run into problems that hurt its retention efforts as well as its business goals. Organizations rely on experienced HR professionals to manage people with different levels of education, knowledge, skill and temperament.

Master’s of Information Systems

The nexus of business and tech is where firms are finding they lack management talent. Graduates who come into the job market with an information systems degree focused on IT project management, network administration and management, software engineering project management, computer forensics and other specializations will find themselves ideally suited to help companies reach critical operational goals.

For those who already have a BS in information systems, a master’s is a natural next step, pushing them from regular staffing positions into project management and strategic roles that allow them to gain new experience and earn incredible paychecks.

The Future for Advanced Grads

Here’s a little secret that should really bring into focus the importance of developing your skills over the next several years: we’re headed for a demographic cliff in middle management starting in 2017. As the Baby Boomer generation that now staffs many of our middle management and executive positions continue to retire in large numbers, there will be a vacuum of management experience and skill for many organizations.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level and looking to advance in almost any sector of the economy, a graduate degree could position you for quick promotions and radically improved earning potential in the next five to ten years.


Author bio: Jennifer Cook is a marketing professional and author working for Strayer University, an accredited online college with campuses across the US and degree offerings in business administration, information technology and other high-demand fields. You can find more of her work at the Strayer Buzz blog at Strayer.edu.

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