Are you considering an advanced degree? Contemplating earning your master’s degree but unsure that it’s the right move for you? We each have our own reasons for returning to, or continuing, our educations. If one or more of your reasons is listed here, you’re probably a good candidate for a master’s program.
1. Improve Your Hiring Prospects
A master’s degree from an accredited college or university can make your résumé stand out, improve your odds of landing a job interview, and provide you with leverage as you negotiate employment terms such as salary and benefits. You’ll also enter the market with a greater sense of confidence, mastery, and understanding in your field. This experience, as well as the enhanced networking opportunities that come with participation in an advanced degree program, can make it easier to land the job you really want.
2. Switch Careers
If you have a job, but you’re looking for something new, something challenging, or something with better growth potential, you may be due for a change of industry. Of course, if you’re looking to jump into a new field, you’ll probably need a different body of knowledge and experience. If you think you might want to make a gear-shifting change in the course of your career, the starting point may well be a great master’s degree program.
3. Accelerate Your Career
Your bachelor’s degree may have earned you a solid entry-level position, but your opportunities for advancement in your company or field may be limited without an advanced degree. A master’s degree in your preferred field is a natural career boost, one that could help you qualify for a raise, apply for a better position in your company, or gain status by taking on more responsibilities in your organization.
4. Improve Job Security
To benefit from a master’s degree, you don’t need to be on the hunt for new work. Perhaps you love your present job and your role within your company. A master’s degree can still improve your value to the organization, earning you greater job security in the process. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree or comparable professional degree can substantially improve your standing compared to bachelor’s degree earners, raising your weekly income more than $200 while improving your employment chances by about eleven percent.
5. Update Your Knowledge
Your master’s degree is also an outstanding way to advance your knowledge and field experience, building on your bachelor’s degree program with a greater focus on current practice. With the speed at which today’s technology moves, whole courses of study become outdated almost overnight. If you want to keep pace in your field and update your educational credentials, a master’s degree may be the best way to stay on the leading edge.
6. Satisfy Your Job Requirements
Some jobs demand a master’s degree. In these cases, a master’s degree may be required even to qualify for an interview. Or you may need to finish an advanced degree to keep your current job. For example, a school or district may hire an education master’s candidate under the condition the applicant completes this degree within a certain time frame. (I can speak from experience, as I was hired to teach college classes under these exact terms. This proved a powerful motivation to complete my degree program in a timely fashion.) It is even possible that your organization may alter its hiring criteria over time to require a master’s degree. In such cases, you may need to get your master’s to ensure you can remain in your current role.
7. Take Advantage of Company Scholarships
If you plan to balance a career and a master’s degree program, look for a hiring organization that provides education benefits. Some employee benefits packages include reimbursement for part or all of your tuition costs. Companies view this as an investment in educated and well-credentialed personnel. For you, it could mean a partial- or all-expenses-paid trip to grad school. If you wish to further your education and you work for (or plan to work for) a company that offers tuition benefits, then you should cash in.
- Verizon – $8,000 per year reimbursement
- AT&T – $8,000 per year reimbursement
- Disney – $700 per credit hour and $100 for materials
- Wells Fargo – $5,000 per year reimbursement, $1,500 per year scholarship for employee’s children (for up to two years)
- Bank of America – $5,250 per year reimbursement for select courses
- Best Buy – $3,500 per year undergraduate or $5,250 per year graduate school reimbursement
- Walmart/Sam’s Club – Fifteen percent tuition waiver at American Public University
- Chipotle – $5,250 per year reimbursement
- Smucker’s – “Up to one hundred percent reimbursement” for select courses
8. Remember: You’re Never Too Old
Sometimes, the only obstacle before you is the notion that your school days are long behind you. It’s never too late to earn a master’s degree. In fact, the rise of online programs has created many new opportunities for adult and nontraditional students. The average age of students in both undergraduate and master’s programs has risen dramatically in the last two decades. Schools increasingly adapt their online programs to meet the needs of adult learners, prioritizing night classes for those who have day jobs, offering hybrid options so you can still meet in a classroom part of the time, offering tutorials, hosting help lines, and innovating user-friendly software to support adult learners of all kinds.
9. Capitalize on Affordability Trends
Online master’s degrees, especially in the Big Three programs—Education, Nursing, and Business—are affordable compared to conventional degree programs. In a competitive marketplace, where myriad new players join the online education party regularly, schools compete with each other for your business. In the best cases, this competition pushes costs lower and quality higher among online master’s programs.
An important note: some bargains are too good to be true. Do your research so you don’t accidentally enroll in a “degree mill.” Always ensure the school is accredited, and check with college and university listing sites such as TheBestSchools.org to verify the school has a good reputation.
10. Contribute to Research in Your Field
If you are a master’s degree candidate, you may view this as an opportunity to advance knowledge and understanding within your field. Through a master’s degree program, your passion for your subject area and your desire to bring new insights to the field will give you a chance to conduct real and meaningful research. Amazing breakthroughs loom on the horizon in epigenetics, neural-prosthetics, robotics, “Big Data,” and many more fields of study. The graduate degree world abounds with new opportunities for exploration and discovery. You may help produce breakthroughs that make a positive difference in the world. A graduate degree may be just the launch pad you need to extend a critical field of research.
11. Learn for the Sake of Learning
Underneath all the motivational speeches and career-building seminars, one simple reason for earning your master’s degree remains: learning is fun. When you allow yourself to enjoy learning, your academic pursuits may transform into acts of true passion. Yes, earning your master’s degree will be hard work, but when you truly love what you study, your diligence, commitment, and inspiration will come naturally.
If any of this resonates with you, then you may be ready to apply. Check out our ranking lists for the best master’s degree programs in your preferred field of study.