Many people refuse to study anything other than courses that will allow them to follow their passion. Other people have a more practical view and choose their degree programs according to employment opportunities and salary expectations. Regardless of whether you choose your passion or the money, if you want to land a good job you need to seriously consider completing a graduate certificate or diploma, or a postgraduate degree.
Competition in the job market is at an all-time high, and as more graduates leave university, the competition is likely to get tougher. The days when an undergraduate degree was enough to guarantee you a job are long gone. If you really want to stand out now, you need to ensure that your postgrad qualifications go up to at least a master’s degree.
One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself before you sign up for a postgraduate qualification is: Will the program be worth my time and money? Fortunately, many studies have been conducted to determine which industries now make postgraduate degrees a minimum requirement, and which of these graduate programs are the most lucrative.
Table of Contents
Jobs to inspire your choice of master’s degree
Forbes publishes an annual list of the best (and worst) postgraduate degrees based on mid-career median salary and employment prospects. The information is gleaned from Payscale.com and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many of the careers that make the list are on Australia’s list of careers that suffer from skills shortages, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that one country more or less reflects the situation in the other. There aren’t too many surprises on the list, but there is one very clear message: If you want to coin it and fulfil altruistic ambitions, then healthcare is the place to be.
According to latest lis, the best postgraduate courses include:
- Master of Information Systems (Information Technology)
- Master of Physics
- Master of Science (Physician Assistant Studies)
- Master of Electrical Engineering tied with Master of Computer Science
Four master’s degrees tied for six place, and only one of them was not related to health.
- Master of Occupational Therapy
- Master of Public Health
- Master of Nursing
- Master of Finance
The final course on the top 10 list is Master of Civil Engineering.
Here comes the interesting bit
What is one of the most important industries that you can think of; one of the most important that was left off the list?
Did you guess education?
Apparently, in the US, the fourth worst postgraduate degree is a Master of Education. Fortunately, that is not the case in Australia, where education has been labelled a priority, and there is a strong focus on increasing the minimum standards of education for teachers. What this means is that master’s degrees in education are among of the most highly recommended postgraduate courses in Australia.
Further evidence that the statistics that come out the US aren’t the be-all and end-all can be found in a study produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (and various partners), which looked at data from the UK and European Union regarding the best graduate courses for gaining employment.
According to this study, postgraduate education courses are the second best when it comes to landing a job almost as soon students leave university. Your best bet, in the UK, is to study postgraduate programs related to medicine, dentistry, and even veterinary science.
The Aussie view
If you’re looking for some homegrown statistics, then consider the information published by Business Review Australia in March 2012.
- Healthcare is the number one industry for graduates. Undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are welcome, but postgraduate qualifications in medicine, nursing, and psychology are preferred.
- Engineering degrees, especially electrical, mining, mechanical, and metallurgical degrees, are in high demand.
- Businesses of all sizes now like their employees to have postgraduate business degrees, such as the perennially popular MBA.
- The computer science and IT industry is becoming more demanding of its recruits.
- Education, as you can see, does get the status that it deserves in Australia. You can increase your chances of getting a good job by getting your postgraduate teaching degree in speciality subjects like maths and science.
What can we conclude from all of this?
Well, postgraduate qualifications are a necessity, and healthcare is definitely the way to go. The industry is diverse, so it can accommodate a wealth of options, including nursing, counselling, physiotherapy, and veterinary science.
You don’t have to leap right into a master’s degree or Ph.D., however. You can ease your way into to postgraduate realm with graduate certificates and diplomas. Moreover, you don’t have to stick it out at university to complete postgrad courses. Most postgraduate courses and master’s degree programs are available online.
You can use TafeCourses.com.au’s course search engine to find a variety of graduate and postgraduate study opportunities. You can find pretty much all of the most lucrative and highly sought after postgraduate courses that have made the various US, UK, and Australian lists, including business, healthcare, education, and finance.