by Joshua Hudson
When the troops came home from World War II, they were offered the opportunity to get a college degree under the GI Bill. In those days, a bachelor’s degree set an employee apart from most of the work force. It was the cornerstone of our modern middle class. In the 21st century, it is almost expected for most working professionals to work toward a graduate education. As a larger percentage of Americans earn their bachelor’s degrees, it is the master’s degrees that employers are starting to look at as the education level that keeps employees one step ahead.
“Over the past couple of years, the master’s has become the new bachelor’s in many fields. It’s no longer unique to just have a degree. It’s what you choose to get it in that will set you apart,” said Maria Fallon, senior consultant at AdmissionsConsultants in Washington, D.C.
The most recognized graduate programs have shifted from broad spectrum programs to more specialized fields. The MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) was traditionally considered the degree that would impress any employer. While the MBA is still an eye catcher for many, graduate students are learning that they can concentrate on degrees that have more appeal in their chosen career fields and still be competitive in the marketplace.
“If you look at the list of our top programs, the MBA is number five,” said Beth LaGuardia, director of marketing for the American Military University. “Its continued popularity is clear, but as far as AMU is concerned we have seen heavy growth in enrollment for the programs directly related to the fields of homeland security.”
Even in education, specialization has become an important part for the teaching qualifications. Teachers now tend to study more often in the specific fields of education they will be teaching in rather than generic education theory. This increases their marketability to schools that are looking for specialists.