A sure bet career-wise

June 18, 2012 —

With unemployment at 8.2 percent and underemployment near 18 percent, pursuing a graduate degree is both an attractive option and a big investment. In this unsettled economy, which graduate degrees are “safe” options that lead to career opportunities?

Forbes recently compiled dataon salaries and employment outlooks to determine which master’s degrees would provide the best long-term prospects. The winner, for the third consecutive year: physician assistant. As Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith notes, the lack of doctors and seats in medical schools creates great demand for PAs, medical professionals who provide diagnostic and preventive health care services under the supervision of doctors.

The outlook is great for physician assistants.

Smith also states that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for PAs are expected to grow 30 percent by 2020.

“Both an aging population and health care reform are contributing to a higher demand for health care services,” Payscale economist Katie Bardaro told Smith. “As fully capable medical professionals, physician assistants are able to alleviate the pressure on doctors by performing important and necessary health care tasks to this increasing pool of patients.”

Another “best master’s degree,” the Forbes study found, is health care administration, which ranked number eight. The projected employment increase for jobs associated with the degree is 22 percent.

This is great news for students in DMU’s master’s degree programs in physician assistant studies and health care administration, although we weren’t worried: Our students are exceptionally competent, compassionate individuals who graduate ready to serve and lead. We believe health care is in very good hands among our students and alumni.


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.

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