The Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Today’s Job Market

More than 16 million Americans—approximately eight percent of the population—have a master’s degree, representing a 43 percent increase since 2002. While earning a bachelor’s degree used to be enough to establish your career, today this is not the case.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs requiring a master’s degree are projected to increase by 18 percent from 2012 to 2022. In today’s increasingly competitive job market, the benefits of a master’s degree can help you differentiate yourself and remain a valuable employee.

Want to set yourself apart from the rest of the workforce? Below are several ways that earning a master’s degree can help you thrive in your career.

Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Today’s Job Market

Specialized Knowledge

Earning a master’s degree helps you gain specialized knowledge to advance in your field. As the workforce evolves, a graduate degree shows you’re dedicated to enhancing your industry expertise and credibility. You can focus on a particular field of study, which helps you become more competitive in your field.

The benefits of a master’s degree can also help you build on your current abilities, gain new skills, or even transition to an entirely new field. There are hundreds of graduate degrees you can earn in various industries, from business to design.

Career Advancement

A master’s degree can make it easier to transition into more senior positions, such as management and leadership. Many organizations not only recognize the benefits of a master’s degree, but even prefer their employees to have one. In fact, 74 percent of employers have raised educational standards over the last several years, with many companies looking to hire those with advanced degrees. In certain industries, such as education or health care, graduate degrees offer mandatory training and the best path for certain jobs or promotions.

Increased Earning Potential

By earning a master’s degree, you can significantly increase your income. On average, employees with a bachelor’s degree earn $65,400 per year, while those with a master’s degree earn a median annual income of $80,200—a 23 percent increase.

In certain fields, there is an even larger gap between employees with a master’s degree and those with less education. According to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, biology and life sciences majors with advanced degrees earn 63 percent more than those with bachelor’s degrees, while graduate degree holders who majored in health and medical preparatory programs earn 137 percent more than those with bachelor’s degrees.

Overall, employees with bachelor’s degrees earn $2.27 million over their career, while those with advanced degrees can earn up to $3.65 million. This is a remarkable difference demonstrating that if you’re already college educated, earning a master’s degree can add a significant boost to your paycheck.

Lifelong Learning

The benefits of a master’s degree also help you improve your researching, writing, and analyzing skill set. As a result, you can become a better problem solver and more easily tackle complex projects. By earning a graduate degree, you continue to expand upon a wealth of knowledge, preparing you for a life of constant learning.

In addition, 73 percent of Americans consider themselves lifelong learners, and 74 percent have participated in an activity over the past year that enhances their lifelong pursuit of knowledge.

Think you don’t have the time? Don’t worry, many universities now offer the option to earn your master’s degree online—allowing you to create a schedule that works around your busy life.

Enhanced Professional Network

Whether you take courses online or in-person, your fellow classmates come from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds. As a graduate student, you are connected to numerous professionals—many of whom are successful in their careers. You also study with professors who are industry leaders, providing real-world knowledge with valuable networks.

At Northeastern, we have more than 230,000 alumni and 3,000-plus employer partners in 150 countries. From the moment you start class, you have an ample network to help you advance your career.

Interested in earning your master’s degree?

Explore Northeastern’s 200+ graduate programs to find the one that can best help you achieve your goals.