4 Essential Skills Earned with a Master's Degree

Stepping across the stage to receive your bachelor’s degree is an accomplishment to be incredibly proud of, but it also doesn’t need to be the end of your educational journey. In fact, it may be the next step in your education—getting a master’s degree—that gets you to the position you want.

That’s not just because of the pay bump that usually comes with a master’s—approximately 20 percent above bachelor’s degree salaries—or the 2 percent unemployment rates for master’s degree holders but also the many skills that come with it. They make you all the more ready to step up higher on the career ladder and succeed when you arrive there. Here are four skills you’ll pick up with your master’s degree the next time you step across the stage.

1. Self-Direction and Discipline

While you’ll still have access to many of the helpful student resources you had as an undergraduate, you’re more responsible for finishing your graduate degree. You may also already be working in your industry, adding a day job to the equation. To juggle it all requires both self-discipline and self-direction, two valuable commodities in the job market. As Ashira Prossack, a communication trainer and coach, wrote in a Forbes article, “One of the first ways a manager identifies a promising employee is by looking at how little or how much direction they require from their supervisors.” These people, she points out, are “the first people in line for a promotion.”

2. Team Player

While earning your degree, you’ll collaborate with your classmates on assignments; you might even get the chance to contribute to your professor’s project. At the graduate level, these projects also directly connect to your desired career. For example, Azusa Pacific University’s biotech graduate program collaborates with companies like Gilead Sciences, Amgen, and Medtronic, working alongside top professionals. This gives you invaluable training in the teamwork employers need, especially at managerial and organizational job levels. Teamwork also enhances your networking skills. Indeed, it may be a team member that later connects you with the job you want, as is so often the case.

3. Research Skills

The ability to research and produce high-level papers and reports from your research is a critical skill across many industries, regardless of whether it’s included in employers’ job listings. Refined research skills can help you identify and solve problems in the workplace and discover new products or trends to support a company’s success. Your graduate research skills can also pad your resume and earn feathers for your cap before you even receive your degree. For example, Evelyn Allen, MS ‘19, published her master’s thesis in the Journal of Marketing for Higher Education and presented her research at a psychology conference.

4. Specialization

Bachelor’s degrees are the ideal starting place to get the career you want, as they offer a general overview of what you need to know in your field and the many career directions you can go in it. A master’s degree, however, turns up the focus by digging deep into the subject area or the segment that best fits your specific passions. In short, it turns you from a generalist into a specialist. This greatly expands the impact you can make in your field and at the company that hires you.

The APU Master’s Degree Difference

With more than 50 master’s programs, APU offers graduate students the opportunity to advance their education while working hands-on in their fields. Completing an APU master’s degree isn’t just another piece of paper. You’ll graduate with real-life experience, connections, and job skills. See which degree program will help you achieve your career goals.