A postgraduate degree is usually necessary to secure a profession and advance in some fields. Many careers that require a master’s degree are often found in sectors such as research and academia. Professionals with a master’s degree often benefit from a higher salary and greater job responsibilities.
Studying a graduate degree can be an expensive undertaking, and from the beginning of researching programs and institutions to the completion of the degree itself, it can occupy an important part of your life.
So what difference will a graduate degree really make to you? What guarantee do you have that your personal investment of time and money will be rewarded? And can you measure the return on your investment?
Of course, the answers to all these questions are not simple. Every graduate, even if they study the same modules and courses at the same university, is very different.
We all have different skills, experiences and personalities and react differently to whatever environment we find ourselves in. It is often these qualities that most influence our ability to get the best jobs and make the most of the opportunities that are presented to us.
However, there are some clear and quantifiable benefits of studying a higher degree for most of those who go through the experience.
Achievements with a postgraduate degree
People may be interested in earning a master’s degree to advance their career or earn a higher salary. Next, we’ll talk about some fields in which earning a master’s degree can be helpful, some career advancement opportunities, and the types of salaries that people with master’s degrees could earn.
A master’s degree can open many professional doors, including certain professional fields, promotion opportunities and higher salaries. Careers that may require a master’s degree include special education teacher, counselor, college professor, advanced practice nurse, school administrator, occupational therapist, and speech-language pathologist. According to the website idp-connect.com the achievements would be as follows:
Obtaining a master’s degree helps you acquire specialized knowledge to advance in your field. As the workforce evolves, a graduate degree demonstrates that you are dedicated to improving your experience and credibility in the industry. You can focus on a specific field of study, which will help you become more competitive in your field.
The advantages of a graduate degree can also help you improve your current skills, acquire new skills, or even transition to a whole new field. There are hundreds of postgraduate degrees you can earn in a variety of sectors, from business to design.
Career advancement opportunities
Opportunities for progress may include moving to managerial or administrative positions and obtaining licenses and certifications. For example, according to the BLS, school principals who work in a public setting can obtain a school administrator’s license. Most states require a master’s degree to earn this designation.
According to U.S. News & World Report, workers with a master’s degree typically earn higher wages than less educated workers. A sample of median salaries for careers requiring a master’s degree, provided by the BLS in May 2018, indicates that nurse practitioners earned $110,030 annually, education administrators earned $98,750, occupational therapists earned $85,350, medical assistants earned $108,430, and speech-language pathologists earned $80,700. Payscale.com indicates that the average salary of a nurse anesthesilist is $144,315 (February 2020)(unesco.org).
Comparison of master’s degree salaries
As an example, according to Payscale.com (February 2020), all electrical engineers earned an average salary of $75,219. However, those with a master’s degree earn an average salary of $97,000. The same can be said for chemical engineers, who earned $74,249, compared to a master’s range of $102,115 to $109,016 (salary.com, March 2020)(unesco.org).
The benefits of a master’s degree also help you improve your research, writing, and analysis skill set. As a result, you can become a better problem solver and more easily tackle complex projects. By earning a graduate degree, you will continue to expand your knowledge, preparing for a life of constant learning.
In addition, 73 percent of Americans consider themselves lifelong learners, and 74 percent have participated in an activity over the past year that enhances their pursuit of lifelong knowledge(universitiesuk.ac.uk).
Do you think you don’t have time? Don’t worry, many universities now offer the option to earn a master’s degree online, allowing you to create a schedule that suits your busy life.
Improving the professional network
Whether you take courses online or in person, your classmates come from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds. As a graduate student, you’ll be connected to numerous professionals, many of whom are successful in their careers. You also study with professors who are industry leaders, providing you with real-world insights with valuable networking.
Opens the door to relocation
The completion of a master’s degree usually gives the opportunity to move and study in a new environment. It is possible to attend private or out-of-state institutions at a significantly reduced cost if graduate assistantships or graduate research assistantships are an option for the program.
Jordyn Harrison, associate director of research at Abound, explains why pursuing a master’s degree expanded her opportunities nationally.
“Almost every program I studied for my master’s degree in higher education leadership had graduate scholarships as a component of the program, which offered students at least state tuition. This helped me expand my search across the country.” A wider scope of potential programs to choose from in a variety of locations means a greater number of career opportunities along the way!
Meet the necessary requirements
There are several fields – and more specific companies – in which a master’s degree is required, either to enter or to move to senior management. Earning a graduate degree provides you with confidence in your qualifications as you progress through the professional field. By 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of jobs requiring a master’s degree will increase by at least 18.4% compared to 2012. If you get ahead of this trend, you can feel safe as you navigate an increasingly competitive market.
Jordyn recalls, “I decided to get my master’s degree because most of the people in my field of interest (higher education) who had associate or senior director roles, had a master’s degree in education or counseling.” (universitiesuk.ac.uk)
A sense of personal fulfillment
Although your individual identity consists of much more than your educational level or your career, a master’s degree is certainly an achievement you should be proud of. When you earn a graduate degree, you’ve also gained additional value and a credibility that invites a high level of respect.
Obtaining a master’s degree will not only give you a greater sense of confidence in your academic prowess, but also in your ability to complete what you have started and to ascend to leadership positions.
Now that you know the advantages and benefits of re-studying for a master’s degree, be sure to follow the 5 steps you need to take when you’re thinking about going to graduate school for tips on how to determine the right schedule for a graduate degree and help strategizing possible program options.
In conclusion, obtaining a master’s degree can help people advance their career and earning potential, although the level of advancement they will be able to achieve will largely depend on the specific field and career path.
How long do you have to work before doing a master’s degree?
According to the website of unesco.org if you plan to gain work experience before doing a master’s degree, there is the question of the calendar: When is the right time to leave your job and return to university? Although this is very individual, consider working between 18 months and 3 years before returning to college. Here are some points to keep in mind:
If you work longer, you can save more money. That’s a good argument for working longer. The only risk is that, with a good income, you’ll eventually get used to some comforts that you may not be able to afford while you’re back in college.
After your bachelor’s degree, if you start in an “indefinite” entry job, stay in that company for at least 18 to 24 months.
What to do if I have little time
If you only have 12 months before your desired graduate degree begins, consider doing two internships (and maybe taking some time off). Less than 18 months is only advisable if it is a fixed-term program, such as a graduate internship program that runs for a certain time. Here’s why: Employers prefer to be able to plan ahead, as hiring is an expensive and time-consuming process. If your resume contains too many signs that you change jobs often – and leaving your first job after 12 months can be one of those signs – your chances of being hired will decrease.
Don’t wait too long: If you plan to go back to college, don’t work more than 3 or 4 years. There are two main reasons for this: Firstly, it will be more difficult to readjust to university life and the study of subjects. Second, because of this, some universities prefer MA/MSc applicants with a maximum of 3 to 4 years of work experience. Also, you may find it a little harder to make friends on campus if you’re quite old than your peers.
If you’ve already worked longer and plan to go back to college, contact the admissions offices of the universities or business schools that interest you. They will be able to respond to the suitability of their programs and the success that other mature students have had before you.
Is it worth the cost of a master’s degree?
Getting a graduate degree can be expensive, especially if done full-time. You don’t earn a salary during the one or two years you’re in college; you may have to pay high tuition fees; and maybe you study abroad, in a country more expensive than yours. You can try to find a scholarship, but not all are available to all students. You could also get a student loan, but borrowing is never advisable if you can avoid it.
These factors add up, so you have to ask yourself if you can (or want to) allow it. The good news: Overall, getting a master’s degree is worth it! Even if you find it difficult to fund your studies, over time the economic benefits will outweigh the initial costs. You will earn a higher salary and be much more flexible in your career.
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Trends and Issues in Postgraduate Educationand Issues in Postgraduate Education. In: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000160744
Postgraduate students in the UK: key trends. In: https://www.idp-connect.com/newspage/higher-education/postgraduate-students-in-the-uk-key-trends/
Research report: Taught postgraduate students: market trends and opportunities. In: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/taught-postgraduate-students-market-trends-and-opportunities.aspx
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