The amount of jobs that require a doctorate or professional degree will increase by nearly 20%, and jobs that require a master’s degree will increase by 22% from 2010 to 2020.
Grad school is important and sometimes required for your desired profession. With rising costs of undergraduate education, it is sometimes difficult to decide whether or not making the investment in graduate school will help you in your future career. While there are instances where graduate school may not be necessary, there are many benefits to choosing to advance your education by getting your master’s or Ph. D.
In general, those with MS or Ph.D. after their name earn more in their careers in the long run. In 2012 the median earnings for young adults who earned a master’s degree was $59,600, which is 27% greater than those who only had a bachelor’s degree.* Also, according to the Census Bureau, graduates with doctoral or professional degrees earn salaries around six figures with professional degree recipients bringing in $128,578, on average.*
As the U.S. economy continually changes, the demands for certain jobs will be higher than others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the amount of jobs that require a doctorate or professional degree will increase by nearly 20%, and jobs that require a master’s degree will increase by 22% from 2010 to 2020. When you include the amount of jobs that need to be replaced from current workers, they’ve predicted there will be roughly 2.6million job openings that will require advanced degrees.*
Not only is employment growth increasing for jobs that require an advanced degree, but many people get an advanced degree even when it is not required for the job, which makes them more competitive candidates. This is seen among teachers or engineers for example; about 51% of secondary school teachers and on average 28% of engineers have an advanced degree.* If you want to make yourself the best candidate for attaining your desired career, a graduate degree can be very important especially in careers in health, education, therapy, math, and science.*
Besides the benefits, a master’s degree may actually be necessary for your desired career. This is true in the case of any profession that requires professional school like medical, dental, or law school. These professions require specific training, and graduate school is no longer just an option, it’s a necessity in order to learn the proper skill set for your career.
The cost of graduate school always needs to be taken into account. If the cost of the program will not be offset by the benefits in salary or ability to receive a job in your desired career field, then graduate school may not be the right decision for you. You may find yourself in a situation that has caused you more debt without the extra benefits. On average, 25% of graduate students will borrow almost $100,000.* For some programs, however, especially Ph.D. programs, the cost can be offset through grants, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships. Make sure you evaluate the cost vs. the benefit. If the benefit looks like it will outweigh the costs, then graduate school may be the right decision for you.
Overall, graduate school looks like it will be a very good option in the coming years. With the increased salary on average for those who earn an advanced degree as well as the predicted increase in jobs requiring an advanced degree, there are many benefits to making this investment. Just make sure when you decide to go to graduate school that you’ve done your research and you’re making an investment in your future.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics
*National Center for Education Statistics
*U.S. News and World Reports
*Council of Graduate Schools, “Data Sources: Strong Employment Growth Expected for Graduate Degree Recipients
*Kiplinger, “Does Grad School Pay Off?”