Undergraduate education is much more common than it used to be, which has made the job market flush with increased positions that require more than simply a bachelor’s degree.
For some, getting a graduate degree is just the next step in their educational career. For others, the investment is not always worth it or might not seem necessary for their future goals. But, there are many benefits to pursuing graduate studies.
1. Increased Job Prospects and Career Advancement/Flexibility
When you complete a graduate degree, it opens the door to new job prospects, can facilitate career advancement, and can help with a career change.
More specifically, according to one estimate from 2015, about 8% of the U.S. population has a master’s degree. It is said that a master’s degree is now as common as a bachelor’s degree was in the 1960s, as more and more people are seeking increased job prospects.
Wanting to change careers is also more easily facilitated with a master’s degree – in your new desired field. Instead of completing an entirely new education, most individuals can use their undergraduate degrees and work experience to apply for a master’s program in a different field. Now, it doesn’t always carry over, but it is worth checking with your educational institution instead of starting a new undergraduate program.
2. Increased Earning Potential
You can bump up your pay grade by getting a graduate degree. According to the United States Census Bureau, U.S workers between the ages of 21-and 64 that hold a master’s degree earn an average income of $55,242 compared to those with only a bachelor’s degree who earn an average of $42,877.
A more specific example, in the health field, is those with an undergraduate degree making around $60,000 dollars annually. Whereas, with a graduate degree, individuals make over $80,000. This increased earning potential is largely due to the increased credibility and knowledge you receive from the education. The increased knowledge gives you a competitive advantage over other potential employees. In turn, employers want to have the best employees in their organization, and they are willing to pay more to get them.
What’s more, with a lot of graduate programs, there is the option to take an assistant teaching position to offset some of the costs of the program. This can be extremely helpful when changing careers or wanting to switch jobs. It is much easier to make a career change when you come out of school without as much debt.
3. Expanding Your Network
You meet many new people when you pursue a graduate degree. Increasing your network, while it shouldn’t be your primary incentive, can increase your job prospects. With a wider network, you will have an increased chance of learning about open positions at organizations and an increase in potential recommendations for those organizations.
Many graduate programs offer internships and research opportunities that can help you network with professionals working in the industry that you want to pursue. Many individuals who pursue graduate-level education find positions in the organizations they interned at or performed research.
4. Personal Growth and Greater Credibility
A graduate degree can help you in your journey of being a lifelong learner. Graduate-level education challenges you academically in ways that undergraduate education doesn’t. Your knowledge reservoir is pushed and this can provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
Many people also seem to gain some insight into what their goals are, what they enjoy doing, and what they are good at during their graduate programs.
What’s more, this pursuit of knowledge can also dramatically increase your credibility as a professional. Graduate-level education shows that you have a commitment to development and learning, a desire to push yourself in ways that not everyone can, and shows that you have a greater understanding of your specific field. You will be taken more seriously in your field if you have higher education.
5. Gaining Additional Specialized Skills and an In-Depth Knowledge of Your Field
When you pursue graduate-level education, you have the opportunity to perform research in your niche field. As a result, you gain extremely in-depth knowledge of that field and make you an expert that many organizations search for. This, in turn, can give you more flexibility in your career and can increase your opportunities in the associated industry – such as speaking at conferences or being a guest on a podcast, writing for magazines, and more.
Graduate-level education can open many doors for you in the future. Regardless of the reason or reasons that you choose to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree, you are sure to receive some benefits in turn. If you are trying to decide whether it is a good investment to get a graduate degree, check out this article about maximizing your graduate-level education.
Martin, D. 2012. 6 reasons why graduate school pays off. S. News. https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2012/06/29/6-reasons-why-graduate-school-pays-off
- Shulsinger, T. 2017. The benefits of a master’s degree in today’s job market. Northeastern University. https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/masters-degree-benefits/
- Nelson, L. 2015. Master’s degrees are as common now as bachelor’s degrees were in the ‘60s. https://www.vox.com/2014/5/20/5734816/masters-degrees-are-as-common-now-as-bachelors-degrees-were-in-the-60s