Is It Time To Go Back To School ? {infographic}

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Can a master’s help you get a better job?
With a still-rocky economy, many job-seekers are considering furthering their education by pursuing graduate school. In fact, enrollment in master’s degree programs has increased by more than 200 percent since 1970. If you’re among those struggling to find fulfilling work, you may be tempted to opt out of the job market and get your master’s degree. But be warned-the job outlook for all graduate degrees is not equal.

Graduate enrollment by year
Year Graduate enrollment
1970-71 235,564
1975-76 317,477
1980-81 302,637
1985-86 295,850
1990-91 342,863
1995-96 412,180
1999-2000 463,185
2000-01 473,502
2001-02 487,313
2002-03 518,699
2003-04 564,272
2004-05 580,151
2005-06 599,731
2006-07 610,597
2007-08 630,666
2008-09 662,079
2009-10 693,025
2010-11 730,635

7.9% Unemployment rate
40.6% Unemployed who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more

BEST DEGREES
Physician assistant studies
Mid-career median pay: $97,000
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 30%

Computer science
Mid-career median pay: $109,000
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 22.3%

Electrical engineering
Mid-career median pay: $121,000
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 17.7%

Information systems
Mid-career median pay: $95,500
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 23.3%

Occupational therapy
Mid-career median pay: $79,200
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 33%

Health care administration
Mid-career median pay: $87,800
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 22%

Nursing
Mid-career median pay: $85,900
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 21.7%

Economics
Mid-career median pay: $115,000
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 14.3%

WORST DEGREES
Library and information science
Mid-career median pay: $57,600
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 8.5%

English
Mid-career median pay: $62,900
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 8%

Music
Mid-career median pay: $57,000
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 11.3%

Chemistry
Mid-career median pay: $85,700
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 10.5%

Biology
Mid-career median pay: $74,100
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 12%

Education
Mid-career median pay: $60,100
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 14.7%

Counseling
Mid-career median pay: $53,000
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 22%

Architecture
Mid-career median pay: $77,100
Projected employment increase for common jobs associated with this degree: 16.3%

ABOUT THE LIST: Forbes’ analysis is based on a calculation of salary expectations and employment outlook but also the possibility of a healthy work-life balance. A few of the jobs on the “worst” side of the list seem to have a healthy outlook, but they may mean you’ll be away from home for more hours in the day than you might like.

SOURCES
Forbes
Payscale.com
Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics

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