What Is a Graduate Degree and Is It Worth It?
- The number of people at least 25 years old whose highest degree was a master’s grew from 10.4 million to 21 million.
- The number of people at least 25 years old who had a doctoral degree grew from 2 million to 4.5 million.
What Is a Graduate Degree?
- Master’s degrees are awarded for completion of a program that generally takes one or two years of full-time, college-level study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Types of master’s degrees include the Master of Arts (MA) degree, the Master of Science (MS) degree, and master’s degrees in professionally oriented programs such as a master’s in business administration (MBA) degree.
- Doctoral degrees are the highest award an individual can earn in graduate education. Doctoral degrees can include research/scholarship doctoral degrees such as a Doctor of Education (EdD) and professional practice degrees such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
Benefits of a Graduate Degree
Expand Your Knowledge
Pursue a Passion
Enhance Your Resume
Develop a Network of Colleagues and Mentors
Develop Soft Skills
Is a Graduate Degree Worth It?
- Higher salaries: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2020 median weekly wages were $1,885 for individuals with doctoral degrees, $1,545 for individuals with master’s degrees, and $1,305 for individuals with bachelor’s degrees.
- Career advancement: Earning a graduate degree can help individuals on their path to career advancement, and in some cases it may be a requirement. For example, if you want to advance from a position as a registered nurse to become a nurse practitioner, you will need to earn an advanced degree.
- Expanded career options: Combining your undergraduate degree with a graduate degree can open more career options. For example, if you have an undergraduate degree in business administration and you’d like to work in health administration, earning a master’s in health administration could pave the way to the career you’re seeking. Likewise, if you have an undergraduate degree in accounting and want to open your own accounting firm, you might consider earning an MBA.