Whether or not to pursue an advanced degree remains a debate as old as time. Many employers have shifted to skills-based hiring, while others still require candidates to meet combined education and experience requirements. This might leave you questioning if graduate school is worth your time and money—but trust us, there are many reasons why you should consider attending. Beyond career motivations, you may be interested in deepening your subject expertise or honing your skills. Is grad school in the cards for you? One of these six reasons could be your deciding factor.
1. Increase your salary potential
If you’ve been working in your current role for some time and want a salary boost, a graduate degree can likely help you get it. In 2021, earning potential was 21% higher for those with a master’s or doctoral degree than with a bachelor’s—a difference between $61,600 and $74,600. Higher earnings go a long way, especially with rising inflation and today’s economy. You’ll be able to better afford the essentials with a livable income and still leave plenty for investments or big purchases.
2. Climb the career ladder
At least 36 occupations require a master’s degree for even entry-level roles. For instance, nurse practitioners, school counselors, and speech therapists are fields with the most job openings through 2029 that require applicants to be master’s degree holders. Meanwhile, lawyers, doctors, and university professors must receive a doctorate before pursuing their fields. Those interested in these career paths must attend graduate school, as it may be the only way to obtain work.
3. Grow professionally and personally
Many college students finished their undergraduate education during the pandemic but missed out on crucial takeaways from in-person learning. The outcome has made adjusting to their respective fields difficult, meaning ongoing education and training could deliver a pathway to excellence and success. After earning a master’s degree, you can contribute your newfound professional and personal development toward your work.
4. Get noticed by employers
Employers may have eased education requirements more recently, but many jobs still require a specific degree. A graduate degree helps companies sift through viable applicants for various positions more quickly. According to research from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, nearly 67% of employers are more confident hiring candidates with higher degrees, while 87% say it’s worth investing in. A graduate-level degree still looks good on paper if you want to appeal to more businesses and significantly boost your chances in a tight job market.
5. Pursue other interests
Are you interested in changing careers? Maybe your current position isn’t the right fit for you. It’s typical for your interests and passions to change over time, but it becomes complicated when it trickles into your day-to-day work. Going to grad school could pave the way for a much-needed career change. Students who meet admission requirements should have no problem pursuing a program different from their undergraduate studies.
6. Gain deeper expertise
Sometimes the simple love of learning draws people back to the classroom. You may just want to learn more about your field. Attending grad school allows you to explore your interests further and become a master in a particular subject area. Your time in class is also a chance to network with others. You never know what will come of those connections, which could prove beneficial when seeking new jobs.
Obtaining an advanced degree takes a lot of work. And while it requires an ample amount of time, money, and effort, completing a grad program is always a promising investment in your future. Learn something new or fill in knowledge gaps within your current role. Whether you’re looking for a leg up on the career ladder or want to broaden your industry knowledge, grad school could be a great fit.
Start your search with our featured grad school lists, which allow you to explore great programs across the country and request more info with a click of a button!