New Master’s degrees offer fresh payouts

Thousands of students will be graduating from college and entering the workforce this year, but with unemployment at 7.6 percent and underemployment at 18 percent, many will put off the job search to pursue a graduate degree.

This semester Missouri Southern is offering two new master’s degrees. Thirty students have chosen to be “guinea pigs” for these new graduate degrees.

One of these new programs is the Master of Accountancy. The end goal of this degree is to become a certified public accountant. The program is necessary since the bachelor’s degree ends with 124 credit hours, and to become a CPA, the graduate needs 150 credit hours. According to David Smith, department head of accounting and finance, this degree allows the graduate to perform general accounting duties such as auditing, business start-ups and going in front of the IRS.

“This is a tight job market,” he said. “It is all about certification.”

Another reason for the master’s degree in accounting is money. According to Smith, the cost of extra schooling is paid for multiple times over by the potential pay increase. Employers tend to value master’s degrees and therefore offer more money to applicants who have one.  

“Accounting is a very technical field and CPA is the gold standard of accounting,” Smith said.

The second new graduate program at Southern is the Master of Science in Education. This program is for classroom teachers who want to become teacher leaders, department heads, administrators and/or directors of curriculum at the district level.

“Education is a field that changes unbelievably fast,” said Susan Craig, associate professor of teacher education. “The topics in these classes will be constantly changing and malleable.”

This graduate degree can lead to an increase in salary, but it is also for education majors who are simply interested in learning.  

“Take a look at your endgame,” Craig said. “[Master’s degrees] will probably fit into your end goals.”