Which graduate degrees are really worth the money?Most people assume that a medical degree is still worth the student loan debt that goes along with it. Ditto a law degree or an MBA, if you're thinking about going to grad school. But a Doctorate in Pharmacy or a Masters in Public Health? What makes those advanced degrees so desirable?
According to Kiplinger Magazine, they're among the five degrees that the personal finance magazine deems "still worth the debt." With an aging population, the demand for doctors will always be high, the article points out, and lawyers who manage to get hired by private firms can still make plenty of money. A doctorate is needed in order to make a career in pharmacy really pay off (they spend less time mixing medications and more time consulting with patients, nowadays), and when it comes to the business world, "Many firms won't even look at a candidate who lacks an MBA," the article says.
But while many people still equate public health with social work and hospital settings, the truth is that a Masters in Public Health degree is more versatile than ever before.
"Public health is much larger than health care," says Lisa Toby, the Assistant Dean of Career Services at the Boston University School of Public Health. "Health care is one piece of public health. But there are many other pieces. It's about effecting policy change around laws now--laws around environmental issues, laws around what organizations have to do to protect their employees, laws around who gets access to what."
With an aging population, people in the field of public health are able to "solve some of the issues we have around health and health care," Toby told Yahoo! Shine.
"Traditional medical care is more about treatment," she added. "Public health is more about prevention."
"Public health professionals will be increasingly sought after as the health care industry expands, the federal government pursues disaster-preparedness efforts, and communities seek to improve preventive care," the Kiplinger article points out. "Most public health management positions require a master's degree."
Public health concentrations include epidemiology, bio-statistics, community health sciences, and environmental health, among other things, and within each concentration there are multiple career opportunities.
RIght now, generally speaking, a lot of employers are looking for soft skills like team-building and leadership. But they're also seeking employees with analytical, technical, statistical and other "hard skills," Toby points out. "It's a great career for anyone, but for women who are looking for leadership roles that are also mission-driven, it's a really good fit," she says, adding that about 80 percent of Boston University's public health students are women. "There is so much opportunity [for women] to really assume leadership positions within public health."
Kiplinger took a look at how much those popular advanced degrees really cost-and how big a payoff each one can bring (and they really seem to be making a case for taking public colleges and universities more seriously). Here's how they compare:
- Average annual tuition and fees: $18,345 (public, in-state), $49,921, (private)
- Average debt: $34,691
- Average income: $84,650
- Average annual tuition and fees: $18,461 (public, in-state), $35,622 (private)
- Average debt: $82,601
- Average income: $129,020
Doctor of Pharmacy:
- Average annual tuition and fees: $14,476 (public, in-state), $29,618, (private)
- Average debt: $66,319
- Average income: $106,630
Master of Public Health:
- Average annual tuition and fees: $18,000 (public, in-state), $36,387 (private)
- Average debt: $34,824
- Average income: $90,970
- Average annual tuition and fees: $22,959 (public, in-state), $41,289 (private)
- Average debt: $126,152
- Average income: $183,990
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