Online Master’s Degree

Online Master’s Degree

Master’s degrees are a great way to advance your education and qualify for higher-paying positions in the workforce. Students who graduate from a university with a bachelor’s degree can apply to an online graduate school program and earn their master’s degree remotely. Master’s degrees are also an excellent way to boost your portfolio, as projects and research studies often include master’s degree students. If you’re interested in earning a master’s degree online, you’re in the right place. Online Degree Hero has the essential facts about online master’s degree programs, so you can apply with confidence.

A master’s degree is an advanced degree obtained through a graduate school. Master’s degree programs are designed for students who already earned a bachelor’s degree from an undergraduate university.

Master’s degrees help students specialize in their field and qualify for higher positions within companies. 

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Master’s degrees cost a total of between $30,000 and $120,000 on average, according to FinAid.

A master’s degree is the next degree above a bachelor’s degree, and comes from a university graduate school

Students can earn a master’s degree online, in-person, or through both.

A master’s degree takes an average of 1.5 to 2 years to earn.

What Is an Online Master’s Degree?

An online master’s degree program is a remote, internet-based graduate school program. Most online master’s degrees come from traditional universities with new online programs. An online master’s degree itself is physically and functionally identical to any other master’s degree; the only difference is how students attend classes. 

Online Master’s Degree Benefits

There are many benefits to choosing an online master’s degree program. Remote graduate schools offer a uniquely flexible path to an advanced degree. Students who attended an online university already know these benefits; they allow students to work full-time or part-time jobs and internships, and offer some level of cost savings. Online degree programs also allow students to study abroad and travel as desired (or as necessary). Virtual classrooms offer many of the same benefits as traditional programs without the mandatory in-person attendance. Here’s a list of just some of the benefits of an online degree program.

Flexible Degrees

Online master’s degree programs offer unparalleled flexibility for graduate schools students. Online degrees follow a predetermined schedule or are self-paced to some extent.

Transfer Opportunities

Students who attend online degree programs can easily transfer to in-person programs or other universities and graduate schools.

Cost-Effective Education

In many cases, choosing online degrees can be a cost-saving measure. Some schools offer reduced online tuition, and students save on housing and transportation. 

Multiple Programs

Students attending an online master’s degree program can more easily split their time between school and coding bootcamp, or other career-training or degree programs. 

High-Quality Education

Thanks to technology, online education is up-to-par with traditional programs. Online master’s degrees provide top-quality courses and instructors.

Learn and Work

Online master’s degree programs allow students to more easily hold jobs and essential internships while completing their college education.

Computer science is a booming career path with rapid growth and high salaries. There are numerous career paths to choose from with a computer science degree, and each offers unique opportunities in the field.

Computer Science Salary: $86,370
Computer Science Job Growth: 16%

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top computer science careers are growing much faster than average. The BLS predicts the field will grow 16% over the next decade, far outpacing the occupational average of 5.2%.

Computer science associate’s degrees are a great first step to a technology career. Degree holders have an advantage in the economy, and outperform high school graduates in the workforce. These benefits tend to increase if students pursue higher education, such as a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

As the number of computer science graduates increases, opportunities in the workforce are filled. However, as the chart above indicates, the number of jobs available far outnumbers the amount filled. Even with a stark increase in graduates over the last decade, there’s still and enormous (and exponentially increasing) demand for fresh talent in the field.

In short, computer science is a future-proof career field that’s worth considering. Computer science salaries are high, and opportunities are plentiful. An associate’s in computer science is an excellent way to test the waters and see if an IT career is right for you.

Computer science certifications are the next step in a successful tech career path. With the help of a computer science AS degree, you can prepare for and pass numerous certification exams and give your resume a spectacular boost. Plus, certifications aren’t just useful for finding a job; you can get certified after hiring and advance within the company. Certifications for computer science tasks can open the door to wide range of career possibilities, and expand your technical skills to a professional level. Here, we’ll go over six of the most valuable certification programs for networks, operating systems, cybersecurity, communication, and product support.

Cisco is a major supplier of communications equipment for businesses across the world, especially in the United States. If you live in a town with office buildings, chances are you’ll find Cisco equipment inside. To service its massive customer base, Cisco offers a certification program for individuals looking to install, maintain, and repair these systems. Cisco Certified Network Associates also provide customer support.

Network+ certification from CompTIA is an asset to any computer science degree holder. This globally-recognized certification is designed for people with network and internet communications training. The certification allows you to work with large-scale networks, and prove your qualifications to prospective employers.  The examination takes roughly 90 minutes to complete, and costs $319 total.

This certification should speak for itself. Apple offers a certification program for people looking to work with and troubleshoot its products. ACA certification also equips professionals with the skills they need to help businesses set up Apple-based infrastructure, and help employees train with and understand the product they’re using.

CompTIA offers A+ Technician certification programs for anyone looking to work in the tech industry. CompTIA’s A+ program is one of the most comprehensive certifications available, and covers everything from data management to cloud computing. The program is designed to cover all of the essentials of working in a modern IT environment, with an element of security mixed in as well. Companies like Intel and HP accept this certification.

Today, system security is more important than ever. Cybersecurity analyst positions also offer great salaries. CISSP certification is an excellent way to gain the qualifications necessary for one of these prestigious positions. CISSP is a global certification that leads the pack in the cybersecurity industry. If you want to become a cybersecurity professional, a CISSP certification is highly advisable.

Apple doesn’t corner the market on OS and brand certifications, as Microsoft also offers a similar program for professionals. This certification covers desktop and system infrastructure, cloud computing, messaging, communication, Microsoft data, and business intelligence among other things.

Online Master’s Degree Jobs

Earning a master’s degree is a great way to improve your job prospects. A master’s degree signals expertise to employers. Master’s degrees give students access to numerous high-paying jobs. Also, earning a master’s degree from a university helps establish you as more of an ‘expert’ in a field when compared to a bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree job prospects vary widely between career paths, fields, and specializations. However, in most cases, earning a master’s degree from an online or traditional in-person graduate school is an excellent way to launch your career from a higher starting position. 

Computer Scientist

Computer science is the general occupation of the field, and many jobs with the title are available. Students who become computer scientists will work on numerous tasks that vary widely between employers. 

Computer science job responsibilities include programming, analysis, wireframing, system administration, troubleshooting, debugging, and other highly specialized computer-related tasks. In the United States, computer science is one of the most popular coding careers.

  • Computer Science Salary: $99,050
  • Computer Science Jobs Available: 41,760

Software Developer

Software developers focus specifically on coding and programming. These professionals use their knowledge of high-level programming languages to create and maintain software programs. Software developers work for numerous corporations; and occasionally from home.

Software developer job responsibilities include programming, outlining, creating applications, repairing (debugging) broken code, and solving various digital problems. Software developers, software engineers, and programmers make up a large portion of the tech industry.

  • Software Developer Salary: $76,526
  • Software Developer Jobs Available: 74,238

Data Scientist

Data scientists manage large amounts of data, which is extremely important in today’s information economy. These professionals earn some of the highest salaries in the industry, and perform some of the most complex tasks on a daily basis. 

Data scientist job responsibilities include managing databases, creating databases, interpreting large data sets, analyzing information, and turning raw data into usable information. At the end of the day, data scientists are responsible for helping companies make sense of their data.

  • Data Scientist Salary: $113,309
  • Data Scientist Jobs Available: 23,923

Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineering is the most hands-on computer science field. These professionals are trained in computer science and various forms of electronic engineering. They must understand the physical and virtual characteristics that make computer work.

Computer hardware engineer job responsibilities include building computers, designing electronic devices and components, creating plans, upgrading existing hardware, and more. This profession is ideal for ‘builders’ who enjoy working with and creating physical devices.

  • Computer Hardware Engineer Salary:  $89,641
  • Computer Hardware Engineer Jobs Available: 19,520
TitleMedian SalaryEntry-Level SalaryMid-Career SalaryLate-Career Salary
Computer Scientist $99,050$68K$100K$134K
Software Engineer$92,046$63K$92K$134K
Hardware Engineer$89,641$70K$90K$115K
Database Administrator$78,779$59K$79K$107K
Data Scientist $113,309$83K$113K$154K
Web Developer$68,524$44K$69K$111K
TitleMedian SalaryLate-Career Salary
Web Developer$68,500$111,000
Software Developer$76,500$107,000
Computer Support Specialist$48,600$70,000
Systems Administration Specialist$64,800$93,000
Data Scientist$113,300$154,000
Information Technology (IT)$84,800$125,000
Network Administrator$63,000$85,000
Help Desk Technician$41,800$58,000
Support Analyst$69,00$95,000

Graduate School Accreditation

Graduate school accreditation is different from undergraduate university and junior/community college accreditation. Instead of regional and national (location-based) accreditation, graduate schools and master’s degree programs are accredited by subject. For example, the AACSB is one agency responsible for accrediting business master’s degree programs.

Also unlike undergraduate programs, there are multiple accrediting agencies for specific subjects. Business has the AACSB as mentioned previously, but the ACBSP also accredits business master’s degree programs. There are also accreditation organizations for fields like engineering, and individual fields of STEM and engineering. Don’t be alarmed if two schools have different accreditations for the same program, as long as you check the legitimacy of the organization responsible. 

Graduate schools are more selective than universities in general, but the path into a master’s degree program is fairly straightforward for many people. Generally speaking, students need to provide their college transcripts after graduation, and take some degree field-specific standardized tests. Here’s what you need to get into an online graduate school program. 

College Degree and Transcripts

Before entering graduate school, students have to graduate from an undergraduate program with a bachelor’s degree. Your college major isn’t the end-all-be-all, as it’s entirely possible to earn a master’s degree in a different subject. You’ll need to provide your college transcripts to the school, and (often) information detailing your projects and extracurricular activities.

Specialized Testing

Students are often required to take specialized degree-specific entry exams to land a spot in graduate school. Online master’s degree programs have the same requirements as in-person schools. Specific testing requirements and test subjects vary between degree programs and schools, so be sure to learn the specifics before taking any tests.

The average cost of a master’s degree is difficult to determine, but FinAid reports a range between $30,000 and $120,000 total, depending on the field of study. That’s a big price tag, even for the improved job prospects and prestige associated with advanced degrees. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to earn a master’s degree without breaking the bank. Scholarships can greatly reduce the burden of tuition, and financial aid can help you get to school fast without putting up a lump sum. Here’s how to pay for an online master’s degree. 

Scholarships for Online Bachelor’s Degrees

Scholarships are a fantastic way to pay for college; especially if you’re getting an online master’s degree. Numerous scholarships are available, and many go unclaimed each year. Students should always investigate scholarships to see if they qualify, and apply for as many as possible to reduce the cost of tuition. 

Student Loans and Financing Rates

Student loans are a popular way to pay for an online master’s degree program. Unfortunately, student loans come with a unique set of risks. Students should be aware of financing rates and have an in-depth understanding of how student loans work. For example, many loans aren’t forgivable through bankruptcy, making them particularly high-risk for expensive master’s degree programs. Be sure to ask questions and research loans thoroughly before taking on additional student debt. 

Online master’s degree programs are similar to in-person degree programs. Online master’s degree curriculum varies enormously between programs, so we can’t give you an exact rundown of what to expect. Instead, we compiled three of the most commonly shared master’s degree course types, so you can get a better idea of how you’ll spend your time during the program.

Specialized Courses

Master’s degrees are a time for specialization. Students use the program as a chance to really understand and expand their grasp of the subject they choose to study. Additionally, master’s degree students work on projects designed to simulate real-world responsibilities.

Research and Studies

Master’s degree students participate in research and studies. Due to their advanced knowledge of the field, research universities use the expertise of STEM students to conduct investigations on a wide variety of subjects. Studies help students gain real-world experience and, in some cases, gets their name out into a published document.

Career Training

Master’s degree programs include career training and job-specific education. Students often work internships while attending school or during the summer, which helps them boost their resumes and prepare for the real job environment. Students also prepare a portfolio of projects during this time, making their resume even more useful.

Online Degree Options

Some students choose alternative education or advanced degrees. It’s not as easy to earn a doctorate or PhD online as it is to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree, but some schools offer programs to meet the needs of students. However, many coding bootcamps are available entirely online.

Advanced Degrees

After earning a master’s degree, students can continue their education and earn a PhD or doctorate degree. A doctorate is, essentially, the highest form of degree that most students earn. A doctorate opens the door to top positions in the field.

  • Program Length: 3 – 7 Years
  • Average Cost: $48,900 Total

Coding Bootcamp

Coding bootcamps are job training programs to help students start careers in technology. Bootcamps skip general education and focus only on job skills and in-demand programming languages. Many bootcamps now offer job guarantees.

  • Program Length: 3 – 12 Months
  • Average Cost: $13,500 Total

Computer Science Professional Organizations

Joining a computer science professional organization can help jump-start your career and keep you up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Membership sometimes comes with additional perks, such as access to a strong peer network, coaching, job opportunities, and employment workshops. Computer science degree students benefit from mentoring opportunities in professional organizations.

The Association for Women in Computing, founded in 1978, is a computer science professional organization catered directly to women in tech. This organization provides a strong network, education opportunities, and support for female computer science professionals though its system of nationwide chapters.

The Association for Information Science and Technology is a popular choice for computer science graduates.  This organization offers an enormous amount of resources to technology professionals, and covers everything from jobs to legal information.  Additionally, the Association for Information Science and Technology welcomes current computer science students.

The Computing Research Association is a top organization for computer science professionals seeking networking opportunities and more. Additionally, the CRA offers opportunities and resources for computer science students and researchers, thereby delivering an all-in-one destination for the field. The organization focuses on technology, leadership, and networking.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, or ITE for short, is a multinational professional organization for engineers and technology professionals in over 150 countries.  With over 160,000 current members, the ITE is one of the most popular and diverse professional organizations for students with a computer science degree.

The IEEE Computer Society is a technology-focused organization for software engineers, web developers, and all kinds of computer science professionals.  The IEEE Computer Society hosts dozens of annual conferences on some of the coolest technology developments, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and security.

The Association for Information Systems is a premier computer science professional organization with chapters located all around the world. This organization hosts conferences, offers career support, provides educational webinars, and gives computer science workers access to a vast global professional network.

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