According to the United States Census Bureau
, the number of people age 25 and older who work toward a Master’s degree has doubled in the last 20 years to 21 million Americans. For some careers, a college degree is no longer enough.
If your intended career requires further education beyond college, then it’s a no-brainer that you would pursue that path. However, there are other reasons that college graduates may want to pursue a Master’s degree
- Your career requires it.
There are so many occupations that require a Master’s degree in order to land an “entry- level” position. These careers include professors at colleges and universities, social workers, psychologists, librarians, and physician assistants.
If you’re the type of person who will require a Master’s degree to land the job you want, you will likely know that whenever you declare your college major. If you’re unsure, you may want to reach out to a professional at your college’s career center to see if your eventual career path will require a Master’s degree.
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- You want to improve your hiring prospects.
A Master’s degree will make your resume stand out from the competition. You will have more experience and understanding of that particular field than other candidates.
Additionally, it will give you leverage to negotiate salary and benefits. Typically, those individuals with an advanced degree will be compensated more than an employee with a Bachelor’s degree. Once you’re with the company, it will also enable you to move up within your organization when a promotion becomes available.
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- You’re thinking about a career change.
You may be a few years into your post-grad life and realize you don’t love what you’re doing. You’ve been exposed to the real world and have found other opportunities that you feel driven toward as a career path.
If that’s the case, you would not return to college and get a second Bachelor’s degree. Instead, you would pursue that new field through a Master’s degree. If your new career path still fits within the organization that you’re currently working with, you could potentially receive tuition assistance to help you pay for your degree.
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- Your field has evolved and requires further education.
As the world evolves, technologically for instance, you may need to update your skill set or knowledge base in order to continue working in your field – or to get ahead in your field. For those reasons, you may need to pursue further education.
Fortunately, getting a Master’s degree can be affordable and work around your current work schedule, if you choose to keep working. Many colleges and universities now offer online distance learning, enabling you to earn the Master’s degree from the institution of your choice from your current home and working environment.
- You want to contribute to research in your field.
Oftentimes, students pursuing advanced degrees are leading key research within their respective fields. Every day, their work is leading to incredible discoveries and changing their field as well as our society.
If being on the forefront of advancement sounds appealing to you, it may be that you should pursue a Master’s degree. Many of our Women in STEM features have included females who are leading research efforts in their fields of study, contributing to higher learning and lasting change.
- You truly love learning.
Finally, there are those students who are simply lifelong learners. It may be difficult for them to limit their higher education experience to just one or two majors in a Bachelor’s degree program. Rather, they want to pursue a Master’s degree in a more specific subject area within the realm of their major or another field altogether.
These students may not stop at just one Master’s degree either. They sometimes repeat the process several times over throughout their lifetime, proving that you’re never too old to learn something new. If you want to specialize in several subject areas, do it! Just make sure your pursuit of a Master’s degree is an affordable as well as an academic pursuit.
How to Apply for a Master’s Degree
If you’re a college senior
who will pursue additional education after you graduate from your Bachelor’s degree program, you will need to effectively balance applying to schools with your heavy college course load. During your final year of school, you will likely be working on your thesis, in addition to fulfilling any last-minute graduation requirements.
With that, it’s helpful to space out your to-dos for your graduate school application. Fortunately, we have compiled a month-by-month calendar that details the timeline for applying to graduate school
It’s also important to visit your college career center
or talk with your academic advisor about your plans to apply to grad school. They can help you find the perfect program as well as proofread essays, perform practice grad school interviews, and assist you with any questions or problems that you encounter along the way.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it
, and embrace your decision to attend graduate school with confidence and possibility. Best of luck, avid learner!