The unemployment rate in the United States is hovering around 4 percent, which most economists agree is a reasonable and safe amount. Yet, with so many people engaging with the job market, it can be even more difficult for new professionals to find high-quality work or for workers to pivot into new positions or career fields.
Whether this is your first time entering the workforce or you are looking to make a change from your current employment circumstances, you probably need to take the time to earn a master’s degree. Here’s why.
Often, bachelor’s programs cover the basics of a particular field, which may or may not be up-to-date with what professionals in the real world most need to know or be able to do. In contrast, a master’s degree digs deeper into a particular specialty and usually covers some of the latest findings within a particular field. Thus, when you enter the job market with a master’s degree, you will have the exact knowledge and skill necessary to excel in your role.
It’s well-known that hiring managers only devote a few seconds to reviewing resumes, at least during the initial rounds of candidate searches. In those few seconds, hiring managers are looking for details about a candidate that stand out — like a master’s degree. Even if you are enrolled in online master’s programs and have not yet completed your degree, your pursuit of advanced education will impress most employers enough to get you into the interview portion of the application process.
Many master’s degree holders pursue advanced academic credentials in fields that are not directly related to their undergraduate studies. Indeed, a master’s degree is a useful tool if you are interested in switching careers, and it can highlight your versatility and flexibility to employers who need creative and accommodating workers.
Workers with master’s degrees know more and are generally more capable of more complex tasks than workers who are equipped with bachelor’s degrees or less. Therefore, once you earn your master’s degree, you can demand a higher salary from employers — and you are much more likely to receive it. Over their lifetime, master’s degree holders tend to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more than bachelor’s degree holders, so if high earnings are important to you, you need a master’s.
A master’s degree is rarely a required qualification for entry-level positions, except in specific professional fields. However, if you want to progress into management, either at the start of your career or in the midst of it, you will benefit from a master’s degree. Master’s degree programs often involve courses related to leadership, so employers often prefer to put master’s degree holders in leadership roles — which also tend to come with better pay and other perks.
Many master’s degree programs demand students to complete capstone projects, which in addition to showcasing their advanced knowledge and skill may allow students to contribute to their field in a meaningful way. If you have some amount of passion for your particular field, you may gain a sense of pride in your ability to have a lasting impact on it. Of course, if contributing to your field is a primary goal of yours in seeking a master’s degree, you might consider remaining in academia to pursue a doctorate.
Your network is your net worth, so you should put energy into building and maintaining a professional network that can benefit you in your working life. In a master’s program, you will come into contact with dozens of professionals who can have a positive impact on your career, from fellow students with similar career goals to professors and even well-known professionals in the field whom you might encounter at special lectures, conferences and other events. With the network you build during your master’s program, you can gain access to more lucrative positions that advance your career in important ways.
You don’t want to see yourself fall victim to a rising unemployment rate, especially if the economy succumbs to a threatened recession. Therefore, you should invest in yourself by pursuing a master’s degree, which you might need to achieve the career success of your dreams.