How Advanced Degrees Can Help Your Career

Whether you choose to become a full-time or part-time student, an advanced degree is a path to greater freedom and opportunity.

Advanced degrees provide knowledge, training, and critical thinking skills to excel in your chosen career path or to take on a new career. An advanced degree is a way to secure promotions, salary increases, specialized positions, and to also build your network. But beyond that, earning an advanced degree demonstrates your motivation, work ethic, and drive. It is a way to show employers you have more than a specific skill set, but the emotional intelligence and perseverance to take their business to the next level. 

Here are a few of the most important reasons why an advanced degree can help your career:

Specialized Training

An advanced degree provides training in unique skills for your field of interest and an in-depth understanding of related fields. The technical skills and direct training gained is, in many fields, irreplaceable. 

While you might earn an advanced degree in biology or art history, the other skills gained on the way are just as valuable. A graduate degree offers all-around development that is increasingly desirable or even required by employers.  An advanced degree improves critical thinking, problems solving, written and spoken communication, interpersonal  skills, and public speaking. These skills are useful and applicable in nearly any career path, and throughout life. 

Increased Salary

Earning an increased salary across sectors is often the number one reason to earn an advanced degree. Depending on the field, the median salary for someone with an advanced degree is between $9000 and $40,000 more per year than someone in the same field with a Bachelor’s degree. That means that in most field, the degree will start paying for itself in one to three years. 

Increased salary brings with it increased confidence, greater financial opportunities, and establishes the platform to grow earnings throughout your career.  

Improved Rate of Promotion

In case there was any doubt about the importance of advanced degrees, one study showed that 41% of employers are sending their employees back to school to earn advanced degrees. Even more employers are raising their educational standards and 36% said they would not promote someone without an advanced degree. 

While job performance, taking initiative, and dedication all matter, an advanced degree can still open doors and provide promotion opportunities earlier in your career. An advanced degree might be the extra justification your employer needs to give you the next big promotion.

Extend Your Professional Network

Networking is one of the most essential keys to success across fields and earning an advanced degree is an extremely effective networking strategy. It takes many hours working, learning, and collaborating together to build an enduring trust and bond that is the foundation of a strong professional network. 

An advanced degree is often earned in a smaller, more intimate setting in which you work in project-based learning with the same group of peers for a year or more. It is a way to gain a built-in professional network of close peers-turned-colleagues, as well professors, counselors, and others in the university’s extended professional network. This opens the door for future collaboration, recommendations, and professional opportunities.

Remember that great networking involves giving to others. Use the time of your advanced degree to collaborate, connect with, and support your classmates and even the faculty to build lasting connections. 

Greater Opportunities

In today’s competitive job market everyone is looking for an advantage — exceptional skills, marketability, or characteristics that make a dream career into a reality. Often, what employers are looking for is more than a skill set and extends into attitude, personality, work ethic, and teamwork. Even if you earn an advanced degree for a specific skill set, these soft skills are developed simultaneously. 

Earning an advanced degree demonstrates to employers that you are a motivated self-starter.  It takes work ethic, perseverance and determination to earn an advanced degree. Those same skills are some of the most essential across industries and career paths.  

Employers look for leaders who can be part of a team, collaborate, and also take initiative. Skills learned while earning an advanced degree – from project collaboration to time management and problem solving — are some of the most important skills in the workplace as well. 

Putting it all Together

Whether your goal is to start earning more, get a big promotion, start your own company, or to contribute more to your current team, an advanced degree can help to achieve those goals more quickly. It is a way to keep learning, growing, and advancing in your current career or along a new career path. 

While the cost of an advanced degree is often a deterrent, in the long run it is a wise financial decision. Whether you choose to become a full-time or part-time student, an advanced degree is a path to greater freedom and opportunity. 


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