A higher education degree is designed to prepare students to meet the challenges and demands of the higher education field. In higher education degree programs, students address and rectify many of the social, political, and economic issues that affect today’s schools and universities. To do this, students must complete graduate-level courses, in-depth dissertation writing and research, and various educational seminars. A higher education master’s degree often features a variety of dynamic courses that discuss the history of U.S. higher education; the role of gender, sexuality, and race in higher education; research and policy in higher education; how to cultivate thriving learning environments; and numerous others. Students who complete this graduate program will be skilled academic professionals, capable of working as administrators, school counselors, curriculum designers, and professors in today’s postsecondary institutions.

Why a Master’s Degree?

Students who pursue a master’s degree in higher education will learn what it takes to become knowledgeable, dependable employees in the education industry. Individuals who complete a master’s degree in this discipline often end up working in colleges and other accredited postsecondary institutions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of postsecondary teachers have a Ph.D.; however, a master’s degree is usually acceptable for positions in community colleges, technical schools, and trade schools. Universities and colleges, however, almost always require their professors to hold a Ph.D. The BLS also mentions that school counselors need at least a master’s degree and a state-issued counseling license to find employment in schools.

Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program

The admission requirements to higher education degree programs are different at most colleges and universities. That being said, here are some common credentials to be on the lookout for:

  • Bachelor’s degree in higher education or related subject
  • Relevant work experience
  • Current resume
  • Academic and/or professional letters of recommendation
  • GMAT or GRE scores

Inside a Higher Education Master’s Degree Program

Full-time students generally complete a higher education master’s degree in two to three years. In their master’s programs, students are expected to complete their courses and certification exams, as well as teach courses in various postsecondary institutions. Most universities also require their master’s students to complete thesis-level research and writing to fulfill their degree requirements. In a thesis, students are expected to address issues, trends, and developments in today’s postsecondary institutions.

U.S. colleges and universities are expanding their curriculums, with many now offering a higher education masters degree online. Online programs are commonly sought out by working professionals and students who are otherwise unable to commit to full-time degrees. In fact, online programs allow students to orchestrate their own schedules and master’s programs. In doing this, students are able to complete their degree programs at a pace they’re comfortable with.

What’s Next for Higher Education Master’s Degree Holders?

Many students choose to enter the job market after completing a master’s degree. As noted earlier, higher education graduates often accept positions as school counselors or teachers. According to BLS research, postsecondary professors earn close to of $62,000 a year. School counselors usually earn less, with an average salary of about
$44,500 each year. Both of these professions are forecasted to grow in availability in the coming years, at a respective rate of 19% and 17%.

Students who desire to teach beyond the community-college level should seriously consider moving on to a post-master’s certificate in higher education or a Ph.D. in higher education. A doctorate degree in this discipline is ideal for students who have an interest in teaching specifically at four-year colleges and universities. To figure out which school or certificate is right for you, it’s best to look into higher education masters degree rankings.