WHEELING - Going the extra mile to obtain a graduate degree is as good as money in the bank - about $400,000 more of it over the average person's working lifetime compared to those with just a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Still, debate persists concerning whether the investment in time and money is worth it. But those in the Ohio Valley have opportunities to take their college education to the next level without venturing far from home. Local institutions offer a variety of graduate degree programs in fields ranging from business to education and health care - with a number of programs designed specifically for those who must balance the responsibilities of career and family with their course work.
In addition to the physical therapy program, WJU offers master's degree programs in nursing, business administration, accounting, organizational leadership and education leadership. The education leadership program is entirely online, allowing busy adults to set their own schedule.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Regional Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Don Rigby, left, speaks with Mark Phillips of Wheeling Jesuit University outside the Stone Center in downtown Wheeling, where WJU plans to relocate its physical therapy program in the fall.
The program is preparing to move into the new Campbell Hall of Health Sciences, under construction on WLU's main campus. The $20 million building is scheduled to be complete in December.
In addition to the PA program, WLU offers a master's in education program that offers teachers the opportunity to earn a graduate degree or continuing education credits for recertification.
There are five specialized tracks within the program: technology, special education, sports leadership and coaching, leadership studies and advanched teaching. Classes meet in the evenings and during the summer at WLU's The Highlands Center.
Bethany offers its master's courses primarily during evenings and on weekends, making it a good fit for those already employed as teachers, or those with other jobs who are looking to change fields. Courses explore areas such as educational psychology, children with disabilities, cultural diversity and technology in the classroom.
Undergraduate students at Bethany also have the option of seeking provisional enrollment in the program, allowing them to begin course work while still finishing up their bachelor's degree.