Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, universities have seen a drop in enrollment. Most universities have seen at least a 5% drop in first-year students enrolling for the fall semester. The pandemic has forced many students and their families to reevaluate the value of a college education.
However, there has been a big shift for graduate programs despite the pandemic. Many graduate programs have seen an increase in applications. For example, Harvard’s Graduate School of Education received a 10% increase in applications for the fall semester.
So what is the value of a master’s degree?
Graduate programs allow students to have the opportunity to learn and gain new skills, to further their careers, and make a difference in their communities and the world.
There are plenty of reasons to consider getting a master’s degree, but here are just a few:
You’ll learn new things and gain skills.
Of course, one of the main reasons to pursue any higher education is to learn new information and gain new skills. A master’s degree can help you turn your passion into a career. If you have always wanted to work in a certain field or make a difference in a specific area, a master’s degree can give you the tools you need to make your dream a reality. Specified programs can help you stand apart from colleagues and help you become an expert in your field.
A Master’s may earn you more money.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with a master’s degree earn a median annual salary that is nearly $12,000 higher than the median salary for people with just a bachelor’s degree.
Having a higher degree may even strengthen your ability to stay employed during economic downturns.
The bureau’s data shows that people with a master’s degree have an unemployment rate that is about half that of people with just a bachelor’s degree.
It’s important to note the specific job and field you’re in. Some master’s programs don’t statistically promise more pay while others will help your paycheck grow exponentially compared to having just a bachelor’s. For example, earning a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) statistically packs your wallet where as communication and journalism sees only a small increase, if any with a master’s.
Earning a Master’s can help you grow in your career.
Some master’s programs can lead to careers with high growth potential.
For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for nurse practitioners will grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 2018 and 2028.
The networking opportunities from earning a master’s degree can lead to jobs that are not advertised.
In some cases, the value of a master’s degree lies in the increased networking opportunities it affords.
For example, many business programs require an internship as part of the curriculum.
This gives students a chance to make valuable connections within their chosen field. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and learn from your classmates who have similar goals and interests. You’ll make new friends, collaborate on projects and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being a part of a community of like-minded learners.
You’ll be more marketable.
A master’s degree can open up new opportunities for you. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that on average, those who hold a master’s degree are employed at a 25% higher rate than those who only have a bachelor’s degree.
Master’s degree holders are often viewed as the “cream of the crop” in their fields, and this status can open doors to more opportunities and respect at work. Earning a master’s degree is an achievement worthy of recognition and celebration, and those who achieve it should be proud of their accomplishments.
You’ll be better suited for leadership roles.
The skills and knowledge you gain while earning a master’s degree can help you take on more responsibility at work and prepare you for leadership roles. Higher education can give you an edge when it comes to landing promotions and being considered for management positions in your company or organization. Many high-level jobs require at least a master’s degree and many companies are willing to pay employees more because of the value of this education.
A master’s degree can be a great investment in your future. Whether you’re looking to advance in your career, land a leadership role, or pursue your passions, earning a master’s degree can help you reach new heights professionally and personally. In addition to the practical benefits of this advanced education, such as job security and marketability, there are many other reasons to consider earning a master’s degree- opportunities to learn and grow, make a difference in your community and the world around you, and network with like-minded colleagues.