The Importance of Post Grad Work The benefits of having a college degree are well known. People who hold a bachelor’s degree have higher lifetime earnings, more job security, and more benefits, not to mention the self-esteem that comes from having a responsible position of employment. But the job market is becoming more and more specialized, and many workers with a bachelor’s find that their degree it is not enough to ensure advancement or success in their field of work. One such worker is Anthony Montagna. Already a successful businessman with a college degree, Anthony began to worry what would happen if his company succumbed to the pitfalls of the current economy. “I am currently a Director at my organization,” says Anthony. “While my experience has granted me a lot of respect there, if I were to lose this job, it would be difficult to find a similar position without an advanced degree.” Then, of course, there’s the question of promotion. “My employer indicated that if I wished to be eligible for a promotion to a Vice President position, I would need an MBA,” Anthony says. Many others are in the same position. Anthony has resolved his professional dilemma by enrolling in an online MBA program at Syracuse University, and was willing to answer some questions about his program. What benefits do you hope to receive, both personally and professionally, from earning an MBA? Professionally, I want to be able to feel confident that I have the necessary credentials if I need to look for another position. Personally, I want to really learn and not just obtain a degree. I could have chosen a much less strenuous program, but I wasn’t just looking for the piece of paper. What were the factors in your choosing Syracuse University? I looked at many options before choosing Syracuse. I looked at local universities as well as online programs. Factors included quality of the program, recognition of the school, time commitment, and cost. I did not actually set out to choose an online program, it just turned out that it was the best option available to me. It was a stronger program than I could have entered at a local university. What appealed to you about Syracuse’s online MBA program? The quality of the degree appealed to me most. The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse is nationally recognized, particularly for their entrepreneurial program. I also liked that their online iMBA program is not separate from their part-time MBA program. The school has a full-time program and the iMBA program. I liked the fact that my degree will not be a generally recognized online degree. Why Syracuse, rather than a more well-known online program such as University of Phoenix or Kaplan? Those programs are more well-known as online schools, and that is one of the reasons I didn’t choose them. I wanted the freedom of an online program with the name of a well-established traditional university. I knew that the Syracuse program would provide me with a high quality education, and at least in the circles I work in, those programs are not viewed as being the same caliber. How has your experience been? Would you recommend your program to others? I have had a very positive experience at Syracuse. I am almost finished with my degree. It has taken me longer than most because I only took one class at a time. It is difficult to balance the school work with my work life and family life. More than one class at a time was simply not viable. I feel like I have learned a great deal from the program. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a high quality program that does not require regular classroom attendance. I should point out that students ARE required to go to the Syracuse campus for the first week of each trimester. You go to take your final exam, and then the next trimester starts the following day. You spend 4 days in class to start the new trimester, and then the remainder is done online. You may or may not have to take a final exam in Syracuse in person, depending on the professor. Who Needs a Graduate Degree? It’s not only business executives who need post-graduate degrees. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of positions that require employees to hold a master’s or doctorate. Below are just a few of the jobs you may be able to obtain if you hold an advanced degree. Business Executive. Higher level management jobs can take many forms including financial managers, sales managers, purchasing managers, and human resources managers. Many management positions are unique to their companies, so a good manager will have a basic set of skills but be able to apply them flexibly. In most cases, those wishing to be promoted from lower level or mid-level management to higher level management, like Anthony Montagna, will have to earn an MBA or its equivalent. Salaries for business executives vary widely but often fall within the range of $77,000 to $135,000 annually. College Professor. There are usually two levels of college teachers: adjuncts (part time or overflow teachers) and full-time (regular, salaried faculty members). In most cases, adjuncts have to have a master’s degree (or at least 18 hours of post-graduate work in the subject area), while full-time faculty members have to have PhDs or other terminal degrees. Most college teachers earn an average of $41,600 to $83,960, though in some institutions the pay can be significantly higher. Pharmacist. In order to become a pharmacist, a graduate must earn not only a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) but also be licensed to practice pharmacology in the state he or she resides in. Pharmacists are often the crucial connecting point between physicians and patients and explain treatments and side effects to people picking up their prescriptions. Pharmacists’ hours can vary. In some settings they will be expected to work nights or holidays but sometimes they work standard 40-hour weeks. Pharmacists usually earn between $92,670 and $121,310 a year. Counselor. Counselors serve in a wide variety of settings, from schools to small groups to hospitals to prisons. They are not psychologists or psychiatrists, who have to have either an MD or PhD, but they do help guide people who need their help. A counselor must have at least a master’s degree to be licensed to serve a therapeutic function. The pay scale for counselors varies widely, but the average pay for a family counselor is between $39,690 and $50,770. Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. As both health care and education costs increase, communities are turning to health care providers who can provide less expensive care than physicians. Physicians’ assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners have to have a master’s degree, be specially licensed, and work under the supervision of a doctor. They are able to provide diagnosis, prescriptions, and ongoing care to patients, especially in lower income settings such as rural or urban clinics. Median salary for PAs and nurse practitioners is around $86,000 per year. Physical Therapist. Physical therapy is one of the fastest growing jobs in the healthcare sector. As the population ages, demand for physical therapists will grow as more people encounter problems with muscles, bones, or other bodily structures. Physical therapists have to have a master’s degree in physical therapy and an extensive knowledge of the body’s systems and how they work and interconnect. The median salary for a physical therapist is between $71,400 and $77,630 a year. Speech Therapist. Also called speech-language pathologists, these therapists work in schools, hospitals, rehab centers, and homes to help people overcome speech problems and communicate clearly and effectively. Speech therapists have to have a master’s degree and, in some cases, professional or state licensing. They usually earn between $58,140 and $79,120 a year. Genetic Counselor. Genetic counselors have to have at least a master’s degree. Their job requires them to be a member of a health care team but also to work closely with families and help them make some of the most difficult decisions in their lives. Genetic counselors help people determine how genetic factors will affect their lives and how to cope with them if they do. The average salary for a genetic counselor with a master’s degree is $61,268. School Administrator. Most school or educational administrators started as teachers, and after acquiring advanced degrees, turn their attention to administrative work. School administrators provide leadership to a school system, whether it’s a district or an individual school. The position usually requires at least a master’s degree, though in some cases a doctorate is expected. The job outlook for school administrators is excellent, and school administrators can expect to earn between $54,931 and $158,000 per year. Librarian. A librarian’s job is more complicated than most people think. Some librarians don’t need a master’s degree, such as assistants in public libraries, but others do, including head librarians, school media specialists, automated systems librarians, library technicians, entrepreneurial librarians, university librarians, research librarians, medical librarians, specialist librarians, and government document librarians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most librarians earn between $42,240 and $65,300 per year. Getting your post-grad degree is the best way to move up the career ladder. Find out how today!