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Today most universities across the nation, and the world, are offering accredited fully online graduate degree programs and students can earn master degrees fully online in nearly every area of study known to man. You want to get the best value out of your online graduate school experience, which means you’ll be looking at programs offered, costs, and accreditation. But there is certainly life after college and even with so many great schools to choose from, most people wonder what will the benefits be after they’re done with assignments and textbooks and ready to collect a paycheck and pay off those student loans.

When you’re deciding whether or not to earn your master’s degree online, you’ll want to consider not only what the commitment means for your intellect, but also for your career. Oftentimes earning a graduate degree online will provide you benefits such as salary increase, more job opportunities, and higher level positions in the workforce.

Students in fields such as business, management, healthcare, nursing, and education tend to benefit greatly by earning advanced degrees or graduate degrees online. This is because many times the special skills learning during the online graduate school process apply directly to specific positions or roles of work that require expertise. And with expertise comes more money, better jobs, fuller benefits, and an overall higher quality of career life.

According to payscale.com, the top three highest paying online master’s degree majors are in Nurse Anesthesia, Computer Science and Engineering, and Operations Research.

Rank  Major Degree Type Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay % High Meaning 
1Nurse AnesthesiaMaster’s$140,000$156,00082%
2Computer Science (CS) & EngineeringMaster’s$95,900$134,00053%
3Operations ResearchMaster’s$80,800$130,00055%

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Since earning an online master’s degree can be done on your time, from home, and in a flexible manner, it’s easy for students to keep their current jobs while studying further. By balancing their school work around their careers, online learners get the best of both worlds. Though master degree programs can be expensive, earning your graduate degree online in most cases will be cheaper than earning it on a traditional campus, giving you the best value for your dollars spent. You’ll save money by not having to pay fees like room and board, lab or computer fees, and in some cases, even buy text books. Plus, the pay increase your experience the rest of your life can outweigh your tuition costs in the end.

One of the main reasons students pursue their master’s degree online is because they are seeking a salary increase. In fact, in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, students with a master’s degree earned $1,329 on average each week while students who held only a bachelor’s degree earned $1,108 per week. That’s over $10,000 more annually for students who hold an online graduate degree.

Professionals with master degrees tend to hold better jobs overall, for example, holding management or advisement positions. The payoff is a higher rate of return when you consider the savings of earning your graduate degree fully online rather than on a traditional campus. And with a better paying job, you’ll not only find financial security, but a better quality of career life all around.