A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
Does it seem like more and more people you know have earned a master’s degree or are going back to school to earn one? Graduate programs—and master’s degree programs in particular—have been growing in popularity, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.1 And the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that occupations requiring at least a master’s degree will grow by over 13 percent between 2021 and 2031.2
What are some reasons to earn a master’s degree? We’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be five potential benefits of master’s degree programs. Keep in mind, though, that while it might be tempting to consider only the benefits of attending graduate school, you should also take into consideration the time and financial investments that higher education requires.
- Master’s Programs May Help You Develop In-depth Knowledge in Your Field.
Earning an undergraduate degree is a major accomplishment. And in many fields, a bachelor’s degree is all you need to pursue entry-level job opportunities or even advance into more senior roles as you gain work experience. As of 2018, bachelor’s degree holders who are 25 years and older outnumber master’s degree holders 48 million to 21 million.3
But all of this also means that if you want to distinguish yourself from others in your profession, pursuing a master’s degree might just help you do that. Master’s degree courses are intended to help you develop advanced, specialized knowledge in your field of study. This could demonstrate that not only do you know your stuff, but you’re a motivated individual who is committed to your field.
- Master’s Programs Could Increase Your Networking Opportunities.
Although some people may enter graduate school straight after college, many people who choose to pursue a master’s degree might have at least a few years of professional experience under their belts. As you move through your program and interact with fellow classmates and instructors, you may be able to build relationships and grow your professional network. At some point, you may be able to tap into this expanded network for advice, potential job leads or other career-focused resources.
- A Master’s Degree Could Increase Your Opportunities.
Some occupations require at least a master’s degree for entry—that means that if you’re a recent college graduate or are looking to make a change and pursue one of these occupations, a master’s degree could help open up doors that might otherwise stay closed.
Sometimes employers may prefer job applicants with a master’s degree, even if a master’s degree isn’t officially required for the position.
Master’s degree programs can help you build specialized knowledge and skills which could help you prepare for advancement to more senior roles in your current field. In fact, some employers may even help pay for your master’s degree program.
The common thread that runs through each of these scenarios is increased opportunity—earning a master’s degree has the potential to expand your prospects.
- A Master’s Degree Could Increase Your Salary.
In 2022, median usual weekly earnings for master’s degree holders was $1,661, while those of bachelor’s degree holders was $1,432. Furthermore, in 2022, the unemployment rate for master’s degree holders was 1.9 percent, while that of bachelor’s degree holders was 2.2 percent.2
- A Master’s Degree Could Boost Your Professional Credibility.
The purpose of higher education is to increase your knowledge and expand your existing skillset. You study to learn new things, and you practice and apply what you learn through the completion of coursework. Increasing your knowledge and expertise through formal study requires a significant time commitment, dedication and motivation. It also requires a financial commitment.
This is why pursuing a graduate degree can be a great way to enhance your professional credibility.
Thinking About Pursuing a Master’s Degree?
While all of the above may sound like good reasons to pursue a master’s degree, you should weigh any potential cons during your graduate school decision-making process. Going back to school while juggling a career and personal obligations could be difficult, and only you can decide for yourself whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
If you decide that the benefits of a master’s degree are worth it for you, American InterContinental University is here with convenient and flexible programs that are designed to meet the needs of busy adult learners. As you’re deciding on a program, you can also learn more about how to apply for financial aid and AIU graduate student admissions process.
1 U.S. Census Bureau, “Number of People with Master’s and Doctoral Degrees Doubles Since 2000,” Feb. 21, 2019, https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/02/number-of-people-with-masters-and-phd-degrees-double-since-2000.html.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Projections Program, “Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment, 2022,” https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm (visited 9/10/2023).
3 U.S. Census Bureau, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2018, “Table 2. Educational Attainment of the Population 25 Years and Over, by Selected Characteristics: 2018,” https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2018/demo/education-attainment/cps-detailed-tables.html (visited 7/31/2023).
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Classes Start January 10, 2024