A master's degree is an advanced degree available for students who have completed a four-year bachelor's. You can typically obtain a master's degree in most fields of study. While the specific advantages vary a bit by program area, several common benefits apply to people who complete a master's degree.
Increased Job Potential
A June 2009 article in "The New York Times" noted that many people have equated a bachelor's degree in the 21st century to earning a diploma in the past. Thus, with more people graduating college and flooding the job market, it often takes a master's degree to stand out from the crowd. Jobs that you could once get with a four-year degree may even require a graduate degree. Thus, completing a master's opens the door to more career options.
More Earning Potential
Higher education rarely guarantees more income, but statistically, it has proven consistent in doing so. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that a typical master's degree holder earned $1,300 per week in 2012. This marked a 22 percent higher earning potential relative to bachelor's degree holders. Over a lifetime, your earning power can increase dramatically, especially if you invest in a master's early.
A master's degree also has intangible value. In particular, it affords you greater personal and professional credibility. For some grads, the pride in telling friends and family that you have a graduate degree has value. Within your profession or industry, you may also experience higher levels of credibility among peers or clients. You may even find supplemental income opportunities, such as speaking, teaching or writing, that wouldn't be available with a bachelor's.
Longevity and Promotability
A master's may also grant you greater staying power and promotability within an organization. A May 2010 article on the Society for Human Resource Management website noted that demand is so great for advanced education in the HR field that a master's not only increases pay, but also leads to greater sustainability within an organization. The article also noted the upward mobility is much greater in many industries when you have a graduate degree.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.