6 Ways Graduate Programs Can Help Your Career

Earning a graduate degree can require a significant amount of time, energy, and possibly money. So it’s understandable to question whether the return makes the investment worthwhile. To answer this, it’s important to look at the total value and number of benefits—more than you might think—that can come with a graduate degree.

Here are six ways graduate programs can benefit your career.

1. Higher Pay

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with a master’s degree get paid about $250 more per week than those with a bachelor’s degree. Not every degree will get you that bump, but many will—and some more than others. For example, a master’s degree in biology can boost your salary by 86.5 percent. Business managers see increases of 51.4 percent while nurses see a 44.4 percent bump. Investigate the pay ranges in your field to learn how much more you could earn.

2. Better Benefits

Graduate degrees mean more than just a bigger paycheck. The better positions available to those with more education often include more extensive benefits, particularly among C-suite executives. This often means better quality insurance with lower deductibles, more paid time off, incentives and bonuses, profit-sharing programs, and other benefits that can add value to your income. Also, because a graduate degree expands your career options, it can give you more salary and benefits packages to choose from.

3. Start Higher, Climb Faster

A graduate degree helps you get your foot in the door of a future employer—and often at a higher position on the ladder because you’ll have the training and specialization needed for those positions. Those same skills and qualifications may also move you up to even higher positions faster once you’re hired and demonstrating them. Plus, the more specialized the needs, the lower the competition for those jobs as fewer people can claim them.

4. Field Specialization

Undergraduate studies are necessarily broad, often involving classes that may fall outside your major. For graduate degrees, most of your courses dive deep into your specific field of study. Plus, your graduate thesis or project gives you additional opportunities to focus even more on your specific area of interest. In addition, graduate programs bring more hands-on opportunities to put theory into practice, further honing the skills you’re learning in the classroom. In short, graduate school transforms you from a generalist into a specialist.

5. Networking Opportunities

As valuable as the lessons of your graduate coursework are, you may find even more value in the networking along the way. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” Networking can play a key role in landing that first job after graduation and working your way closer to your dream one. That’s because graduate studies connect you more directly to the professional world and those working in it. Indeed, your professor alone likely has many connections and can point you in the right direction to develop your own.

6. Soft Skills

It takes a lot of work to make it through graduate school. You’ll be challenged with academic demands, time management, self-discipline, teamwork, leadership, and critical-thinking skills—often far more than undergraduate studies. Employers recognize this and see your graduate degree as proof that you can handle varied and complex tasks and perform them in a timely way at a high level, making you more attractive to hire.

Take the first step toward your dream career by checking out the graduate programs available at Azusa Pacific University.