5 Most Popular Master’s Degrees of 2012

5 Most Popular Master's Degrees of 2012

Just as with other trends in education and employment, some master’s degrees are more popular than others, particularly when considering salary ranges.

With a questionable economy and slow job growth in many sectors, many college students graduating with a bachelor’s degree are opting to continue into advanced degree programs rather than attempting to enter the workforce right away. Just as with other trends in education and employment, some master’s degrees are more popular than others, particularly when considering potential future job growth and salary ranges. Read on for the five most popular fields for master’s degrees in 2012.

Human Resources Management

With plenty of room for growth, human resources management offers strong positions within just about any company. While a bachelor’s degree can get you in the door for this field, a master’s degree opens up many more advancement opportunities, making this one of the most popular advanced degrees of 2012 for both students who have not yet entered the workforce and candidates already working in human resources that are looking to advance. Job growth is projected to be about average when compared with growth for other occupations, and salary average can approach six figures for this field.

Educational Leadership and Administration

Again, this advanced degree is popular with both students remaining in college after achieving a bachelor’s degree and educators already working in the classroom but wanting to transition into administrative positions such as principal, assistant principal, or district level administration. A master’s degree in education leadership and administration allows for flexibility within the education field for those that do not necessarily see themselves remaining in the classroom for the rest of their career. Job growth in this field is again projected to be about average in comparison with other occupations, and salary averages over $80,000 annually for principals at all levels of the public school system.


Not surprisingly, this field has remained popular with college graduates and with those already in the field as well. Just as companies would be crippled without solid human resource personnel, so too would a lack of competent accountants be a company’s downfall. Accountants oversee the finances and tax information of a company and ensure that taxes are paid on time and financial records are kept in order. Accountants that strive to advance to higher positions such as budget director of even chief financial officer (CFO) will need a master’s degree at the very least.

Counseling Psychology

Having a bachelor’s degree in general or counseling psychology is a good start, but for those who may not want to work under a licensed psychologist their entire career, a master’s degree is a stepping stone to someday having their own practice. This is a fact recognized by psychology graduates in 2012, as moving on to a master’s program was a very popular choice for both those already working in the field and for students just finishing a bachelor’s program and continuing directly into the master’s program.


Another tried and true favorite, the marketing field will always require qualified candidates to work as part of a team as long as there are products and services to sell. Those who seek degrees in marketing are aware of the team player aspect of this field, but having a master’s degree gives them the flexible to also be a leader of the team over time. More and more, marketing managers are being required to have this advanced degree before they are even considered for the management position, a fact that is apparently recognized by a large percentage of marketing graduates.

This has been a Guukle guest post

Lisa Goodson is a guidance counselor who has penned several helpful articles on education and is also a contributor at BestMastersPrograms.org.