The Pros and Cons of Earning a Master’s Degree

You're not the only one experiencing this. You're not alone if you've noticed an increase in the number of your peers applying to and attending graduate school, or who already hold a Master's degree. Between 2000 and 2017, the number of master's degrees awarded in the United States increased by 70%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). 1 The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) expects Master's and Doctorate program enrolment to rise by 3% by 2028.

It's understandable that even while getting a Master's or other graduate-level degree is becoming increasingly popular, you're still not convinced it's the correct path for you. However, variables such as cost and the length of time it will take to reenter the workforce must be taken into account while deciding whether or not to return for a degree.

Is a Master's degree truly worth the money you're spending? Even if you don't know the specifics of each circumstance, you can at least get a better sense of what to consider by weighing the pros and drawbacks. Here, we'll take a closer look at the facts and ask people who've decided whether or not to pursue a Master's degree to provide their thoughts on the possible benefits and cons.

Gaining a Master's Degree Has Many Advantages

To be considered for certain positions, you must have at least a Master's degree. For example, a master's or doctorate degree is required to work in the fields of librarianship, medicine, law, counseling, and social work. Prior to seeking a degree in one of these professions, you should familiarize yourself with the relevant degrees and licensing requirements. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of occupations needing a Master's degree is expected to expand at the quickest rate of any educational level between 2016 and 2026.

Most graduate degrees awarded in 2016-2017 were in three fields: business, education, and health, with a large number also coming from computer and electrical engineering.

Even while a Master's degree isn't required for many employment in these fields, many students choose to get one in order to climb into more senior or specialized positions or to make themselves stand out for highly competitive positions.

Calloway Cook, founder and CEO of Illuminate Labs, believes a Master's degree gives job seekers an advantage over those without one. Candidates with advanced degrees in business, marketing, or web development will have an advantage in the hiring process.

Possibility of making more money

In general, those who have earned their Master's degrees earn more money than those who have earned their Bachelor's degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people with a Master's degree had a median normal weekly income of $1,434, while those with a Bachelor's degree had a median weekly income of $1,198. 4 Having said that, this comprehensive analysis of pay rates takes into account individuals in professions in which a master's degree is required for one to even be considered for the position. The disparity may not be as pronounced for individuals who pursued master's degrees in fields in which the degree is desirable to have but is not necessarily necessary for employment.

In these less cut-and-dried scenarios, there is probably still some room for improvement in terms of earning potential. According to Jean Paldan, owner of Rare Form New Media, a lot of companies require either substantial experience working alongside senior roles on projects or less experience paired with a Master's degree for senior positions. This is where a Master's degree can be helpful. Rare Form New Media is a company that specializes in new media.

According to Paldan, if you have a master's degree, "you may go up faster than your counterparts who do not have one, and with those promotions come bigger income."