By Chris Casey | CU Denver
A recent article in Forbes magazine listed the top 10 master's degrees that provide the best options for job opportunities. The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus holds the distinction of offering eight of the top 10 programs, which are ranked by long-term employment outlook and salary levels.
Master's programs offered at CU Denver | Anschutz that ranked in the top 10 include information systems (No. 1), physician assistant (No. 3), computer science, electrical engineering (tie, No. 4), finance, nursing, public health (tie, No. 6) and civil engineering (No. 10).
Growing fields of technology, risk management, finance
"Growth industries such as technology, health care, energy, risk management and finance—these are all big areas in terms of excellent employment opportunities," said CU Denver Business School Dean Sueann Ambron. "Between CU Denver and CU Anschutz, we offer a wealth of programs in these areas, including master's programs."
The Business School has integrated itself into the fabric of the region's business community with direct connections to 300 companies. This collaboration translates to opportunities across all business disciplines, including the hot-jobs master's programs in information systems and finance.
"Information systems are really integral to almost every job function today," said Associate Dean of Programs Dawn Gregg, PhD, MS, MBA. "Whether you're an accountant or finance person or a marketer, you're going to use information systems to do your job more efficiently. That has really heightened the demand for people who know how to use information systems in the workforce."
Ajeyo Banerjee, PhD, CMA, director of the Business School's Risk Management and Insurance program, said finance covers a broad area of employment areas, including accounting, risk management, insurance and other disciplines. Because of globalization, technology and other external factors, the business environment is changing faster than ever, Banerjee said.
"Finance provides the tools to deal with the changing business environment—both strategically and from a short-term management orientation," he said. "Also, the financial crisis has led to increased regulation and that in turn has led to a large number of jobs in the compliance area."
High demand for master's prepared nurses, public health professionals
The Anschutz Medical Campus offers master's programs in several of the top 10 areas, including in nursing and the dual degree doctor of nursing practice/master’s in public health with the Colorado School of Public Health. The School of Medicine offers a physician assistant program (MPAS).
“The demand for master’s prepared nurses, especially in rural areas of Colorado, is so high,” said Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate dean for academic programs at the CU College of Nursing. “There is a shortage of primary care providers across the state, which combined with the number of people moving into the state and the aging population in general, means that master’s prepared nurses are in demand. Even the master’s programs that don’t involve direct patient care, such as health care informatics and leadership, are really hot. Now is the time advance your nursing career.”
CU Anschutz's new doctor of nursing practice/masters's in public health is one of the first such dual degrees in the country, said Professor Marilyn Krajicek, EdD, RN, FAAN, project director for the program. “Coursework in both nursing and public health sciences will prepare graduates with an in-depth understanding of prevention and management of multiple chronic conditions (such as heart disease and dementia) from administrative and public policy levels," she said. "These graduates will be uniquely positioned to advance public health nursing practice and create new leadership roles in evolving public health systems.”
Our bachelor's degree graduates also rank among top earners
The top job prospects from these master's degrees, according to Forbes, generally lead to six-figure mid-career salary levels. The projected employment increase for jobs associated with these degrees, over the span of 2010 to 2020, is between 18 and 30 percent.
CU Denver | Anschutz undergraduates also fare well in earnings. A recent report produced by the Colorado Department of Higher Education and College Measures shows that CU Denver | Anschutz bachelor's degree graduates earned a median of $43,804 in their first year of employment. That ranks No. 3 among all universities in the state — public or private — and well above the $38,860 statewide median first-year earnings of bachelor's degree graduates.