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5 Best Master's Degrees for Career Change (2024)

Explore Master's degrees for career change and get key insights on how advanced education can pivot your professional path, enhance skills, and open new career opportunities.

Dec 14, 2023
  • Student Tips
  • Education
Master's student considering career change

✨ 5-second summary

  • Pursuing a Master's degree is an effective strategy for career change, providing new skills, knowledge, and networks essential for transitioning to a new field.
  • Key considerations for selecting a Master's degree include industry demand, program flexibility, and the institution's reputation.
  • Popular Master's degrees for career change include MBA, Information Technology, Data Science, Finance, and Healthcare Administration.

In a rapidly evolving job market, the notion of a lifelong career in a single field is becoming less common. Many professionals are now seeking new challenges and opportunities, leading them to consider a career change.

One effective strategy to facilitate this transition is pursuing a Master's degree. Master's degrees have become pivotal in equipping individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge, and networks to pivot their careers successfully. In this article, we will explore the best Master's degrees for career change and provide insights into making this significant shift.

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Why get a Master's to change your career?

A Master's degree for career change can be a transformative experience.

It offers not just a deep dive into a new field of knowledge but also provides practical skills essential for the modern workforce. Studies have shown that Master's graduates tend to have a higher retention rate than graduates with a Bachelor's degree only.

What's more, a Master's degree can lend credibility to your resume, which is especially valuable when you're shifting to a field where you might lack professional experience.

The networking opportunities provided during the course can also open doors to new job prospects and industry connections, invaluable for anyone undergoing a career transition.

Choosing the right Master's degree for career change

When selecting the best Master's degrees for career change, consider the following factors:

  • The demand and growth prospects in the industry you're interested in
  • The degree's flexibility in terms of learning format and the curriculum, especially if you'll be working while studying
  • The reputation and alumni outcomes of the program

Best Master's degrees for career change

Below are the best Master's degrees for career change, according to a variety of sources, including Indeed.

MBA (Master of Business Administration)

An MBA is often considered the best Master's degree for career change due to its broad applicability across various sectors, as it provides a solid foundation in business fundamentals, leadership, and strategic thinking.

You're likely to meet other career-oriented individuals, as business programs tend to have more people who are motivated by professional advancement.

MBA graduate jobs:

  • Accountant
  • Marketing manager
  • Consultant
  • Sales manager
  • Financial analyst
  • Project manager

Data Science

A Master's in Data Science is ideal for a career change as it equips individuals with highly sought-after skills in big data analytics and machine learning, applicable across various industries. This degree opens doors to rapidly growing career opportunities in tech, finance, healthcare, and more, offering both versatility and a strong potential for high earnings.

Data Science jobs:

  • Data scientist
  • Data engineer
  • AI engineer
  • Data visualization specialist
  • Data analyst

Information Technology (IT) and Computer Science

As we move deeper into the digital age, expertise in IT and data analysis is increasingly sought after. These programs equip students with technical skills in high (and growing) demand across multiple industries.

IT degree jobs:

  • Software engineer
  • Systems administrator
  • Network engineer
  • Database administrator
  • IT architect

Finance

Pursuing a Master's in Finance is a strategic choice for career change as the program not only enhances job security and potential earning capacity but also offers specialization, networking opportunities, and the development of critical analytical skills.

Finance degree jobs:

  • Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Budget analyst
  • Commercial real estate agent
  • Vendor manager

Healthcare Administration

For those interested in the ever-growing healthcare sector, a master's in healthcare administration offers insights into the management and operation of healthcare facilities, aligning well with a variety of undergraduate backgrounds.

Healthcare administration jobs:

  • Hospital administrator
  • Dental office manager
  • Health information systems specialist
  • Health policy specialist
  • Human resources manager

Navigating the financial and time commitments of a Master's degree

Earning a Master's degree, especially when it’s aimed at career change, is a substantial investment. You need to consider not just the tuition fees, but also the costs related to books, resources, possibly relocating, and potentially foregone earnings if you choose to study full-time.

If you plan on working and studying, consider applying to an online Master's program:

  • They tend to be more flexible and more cost-effective
  • They allow you to learn at your own pace

What's more, look into different funding options like scholarships, grants, and student loans. Some employers offer educational benefits, so check if your company can cover some (or all) of your study costs.

You can start your scholarship search with our free Master's Studies Scholarship Directory.

Remember, investing in a Master's degree for career change is not just about immediate financial implications; it can lead to higher earning potential and career satisfaction.

Master's as a stepping stone to a new career

Preparing for a Master's degree as a means to change careers requires more than just academic readiness; it demands a strategic approach to your future.

  • Assess your current skills and understand how they could be applicable in your new chosen field
  • Dive deep into the industry you’re aiming to enter and get a grasp on its trends, challenges, and in-demand skills
  • Connect with professionals in your desired field, join relevant groups and attend industry events
  • Highlight how your past experiences make you an asset
  • Embrace the change with enthusiasm

Be wary of potential setbacks

A good career plan can alleviate a lot of surprises that can come up during the research and application process. Therefore you should be wary of things that can throw you off-track, such as:

  • Having extrinsic career goals
  • A surprise raise or promotion
  • A negative organizational change (i.e. a layoff)

These factors have been shown to affect the likelihood of applying to a graduate program.

Bottom line

Choosing to pursue a Master's degree for a career change is a bold step towards a fulfilling new professional journey.

With the right program, such as the ones we've covered above, this transition can not only be seamless but also immensely rewarding, opening up a world of new opportunities and personal growth.

Keystone Team

Author

The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.

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