While speculating about the benefits of a master’s or doctoral degree program is easy, quantifying exactly what you’ll gain from such a degree is less simple. The oft-asked question of whether an advanced degree is worth the effort depends on an individual’s goals. However, there’s more to consider than just a chosen field of study. University of Phoenix has seen plenty of people grapple with this decision and has a few tips for how to approach the situation.
Is Graduate School Necessary?
There are some situations in which there’s almost no question whether graduate school is worth it. A prospective doctor simply cannot make themselves a doctor through hard work and experience. They also need to pass certain tests after taking the required education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “a bachelor’s degree is typically required for entry in 169 occupations.”
Yet even if you do not definitively need graduate school for your chosen career path, there are other factors to consider when weighing options. For example, there are plenty of jobs that require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree even though a hiring manager may give preference to applicants that have a master’s degree. Whether it’s ever stated or not, companies often have a way of favoring those with more education.
In 2020, the BLS published a report with employment projections based on educational attainment. The median usual weekly earnings for someone with a master’s degree were $1,545 and for a doctoral degree were $1,885. The same report showed median usual weekly earnings for a bachelor’s degree as $1,305. The Harvard Business Review noted that more people than ever before are earning a university undergraduate degree, which has prompted many to also obtain a master’s degree just to stay relevant and stand out in the workforce.
Beyond Earning Potential: Intangible Benefits
University of Phoenix Vice President of Enrollment Chris Gloor said, “Students have a sense of accomplishment when they invest in themselves. When you earn a degree, you make a sacrifice and invest money, time, effort, dedication and commitment. Having a degree can tell others you possess these qualities. An education and advancing [your] knowledge can be what sets [you] apart … it’s [your] competitive advantage in the job market.”
Career Advisor Carol Camerino has watched students develop and learn personally as well as academically. There’s just no telling how far this one decision can go. Students who enroll in an affordable and flexible online program watch doors open and opportunities come alive before their very eyes during advanced degree programs. This is the chance for a person to explore their chosen field in-depth and discover their favorite aspect of the job.
Opportunities in Graduate School: How You Can Expand Your Resume
Here are just a few ways a graduate degree can pay off for a career and enhance a resume:
- Improved skills: A graduate degree can help you maintain and improve existing skills and add new ones in the process. You’ll also get more practice with writing and research, both critical tools to have for nearly any career choice.
- Notoriety: It’s not unusual for people with advanced degrees to appear in academic journals for their research or findings. Even if your future employer isn’t reading the formal reports, it can increase the exposure in your field and help you stand out amongst a pack of candidates.
- Salary: As mentioned, the statistics show that your earning potential can keep going up. According to the BLS, the median wage was $103,820 for doctoral- and professional-level occupations—the highest of any education level—and $68,090 for master’s-level occupations.
- Network: Knowing professionals in your field not only helps you establish your name, it can also be your gateway to a new job. Whether you are referred, recommended or hired directly, you have a chance to get yourself in front of the right people through a broader professional network.
How Does a Master’s Program Differ from a Doctoral Program?
Both master’s and doctoral programs are designed to help you develop advanced skills and knowledge in a given field of study. However, a master’s degree is more like a more rigorous bachelor’s program. You’ll take tests, write papers and discuss any number of relevant topics with both instructors and peers.
A doctoral program will lean more heavily on research and how you analyze and compile your findings. There’s no doubt that there will be some overlap between the two, but the overall focus is quite different. You can expect a doctoral program to turn you into an expert on your chosen area of expertise.
University of Phoenix Offers Numerous Advanced Degree Opportunities
Going for an advanced degree means finding a program that works with your schedule, budget and goals. University of Phoenix offers a number of online master’s programs that come complete with flexible start dates and one-class-at-a-time scheduling. There are also doctoral degree programs to choose from including Nursing Practice, Business Administration and Education. Program completion times range from 20-42 months.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix was founded to help adults keep up with a rapidly changing market, particularly when they have any number of other responsibilities to manage. Serving a diverse population and offering a wide array of programs and certificates, the University helps students tailor their career paths one degree at a time. Learn more at www.phoenix.edu.