To Master’s Degrees and Beyond!

Each year our scholarship application opens to military spouses pursuing any level of education. Each year I am pleasantly surprised with the number of spouses seeking graduate level degrees. In 2016, out of our entire applicant pool 26% are pursuing Master’s degrees.

So should you consider a Master’s degree? Let’s ask the experts…in this case the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

  • According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ (BLS) Career Outlook, “In 2013, the median annual wage for full-time workers ages 25 and over whose highest level of education was a master’s degree was $68,000, compared with $56,000 for those whose highest level was a bachelor’s degree—a $12,000 a year wage premium.” The BLS does note that some occupations and fields of study benefit from advanced degrees while others may not. Which ones benefit? BLS highlights: business, education, healthcare and social service and STEM.
  • In a Monthly Labor Review published in 2012, The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects that the total employment is expected to increase by 20.5 million jobs from 2010 to 2020, with 88 percent of detailed occupations projected to experience employment growth. “The fastest growth is projected in occupations assigned to the master’s degree level; these occupations are projected to grow by 21.7 percent.”


The stats are supportive but as a military spouse is it feasible? Over the past couple years NMFA has partnered with 2U on offering military spouse scholarships at various online graduate level programs. 2U partners with top colleges and universities to offer service members, veterans and their families the chance to earn a world-class degree from anywhere in the world — even while serving the country. Programs like the ones powered by 2U make it feasible for transient military spouses to complete their advanced degree at reputable schools.

  • Charity Mathis is enrolled in an online master’s program at Simmons College. Charity explains, “The program has worked well for me as a military spouse. I can get my kids off to school and sit down at my computer and attend class. I have even attended class in my soccer mom van at softball practice. I have seen other military spouses in my classes as well which is very encouraging to see others embarking on the same journey.”
  • Beth Ramsey, a Nursing@Simmons students explains, “I waited to pursue this degree due to the multiple military moves we have made. All that was previously offered was on campus options and I was always afraid that I would begin a program and then need to move. With this program, you get the best of both worlds, an “in class setting” from the comfort of your own home. Many of my classmates and myself have attended class from hotel rooms, other countries, and even our cars.”

Register with NMFA online to explore our 2U partner programs. There are programs for social workers, teachers, nurses, lawyers and more! Scholarships available at each partner university can reach up to $7,500.

If you need help deciding if graduate school is right for you, check out Peterson’s “A Guide for Potential Grad Students: Should You Go To Graduate School?

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