November 22

Why Studying for an Advanced Degree Can Help Your Career


Graduating with a bachelor’s degree is a dream for lots of people and it offers a sense of accomplishment for everyone who earns one. Many believe that it launches them into adulthood and into the career they have been dreaming of. But what happens when you learn there is another rung on the ladder that you can climb? An obvious option would be to pursue an advanced degree. Deciding to go back to school for an advanced degree can be a complicated decision as there is so much to think about. The good news is that an advanced degree can help advance your career and this article will be focusing on how exactly it can do this.

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It Increases the Possibility of a Promotion

An advanced degree increases the chances of being hired as well as the possibility of getting a promotion. Over a third of all employees say they are a lot less likely to hire someone who does not have a degree while over a quarter of all employees say they prefer to promote people who have an advanced degree to advanced positions. Gaining new skills and competencies through the completion of an advanced degree and having the necessary experiences puts you in a better position to land the advanced position you have been eying.

In fields like social services, higher education administration, and public affairs, an advanced degree, usually a master’s, is a requirement for most employees. This is in sharp contrast to two to three decades ago when an undergraduate degree would have been sufficient for these positions. Studies have shown that employers have raised their educational requirements in this period, with many of them even requiring their employees to seek higher education and supporting these employees as they complete these degrees.

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Bypass Lower-Level Positions

There are lots of people who would like to get into interesting fields they are passionate about but do not want to start at the bottom. For these people, there is the possibility of taking advantage of the leapfrogging effect.

Instead of starting at the bottom, an advanced degree helps them start in the middle, typically in management. Having an advanced degree gives them a huge advantage over candidates who are interested in the same positions. It also encourages employers to consider them for these higher positions.

Strengthening Desirable Professional Skills

Pursuing an advanced degree is often not about amassing as much information as you can from the coursework; it is also a great opportunity to develop skills and competencies that will help your career now and in the future. Such skills and competencies include critical thinking, problem-solving, interpersonal professional skills, technical and communication skills. You may have earned these skills when completing your bachelor’s degree, but pursuing an advanced degree helps you hone and sharpen these skills and competencies.

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In addition to these skills and competencies, pursuing an advanced degree can help you earn additional work experience through TA positions, work-study opportunities, externships, and internships. Traditional skills enhanced when pursuing an advanced degree include research, public policy, public speaking, and writing, all of which are highly desirable regardless of the field(s) you work in.

Completing an advanced degree is very challenging, especially if you are doing it alongside a demanding career. Doing so shows you have a strong work ethic, perseverance, and are innovative. Because employers are always looking for people who can fit seamlessly into a team and collaborate productively with others, the graduate school skills you gain could go a long way to prove you are this type of employee.

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Get Additional Career Opportunities

A bachelor’s degree can help you land your first job but it will often restrict the types of career opportunities you can pursue. An advanced degree, on the other hand, can help you pursue career opportunities that would not have been available otherwise.

A graduate degree opens up opportunities for both horizontal and vertical career mobility. This happens a lot in areas such as nursing where completing an advanced degree allows a registered nurse to pursue new opportunities inside and outside the healthcare system or to even advance in leadership positions they otherwise would not have had access to. Completing an MSN to DNP online program at Marymount University, for example, equips nurses with the skills to get into leadership positions where they can effect change in the complex healthcare system.

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It Can Make Switching Careers Easier

One of the reasons why a lot of people do not change careers is uncertainty and fear. They don’t know whether they will be able to land a new job, and they are afraid that they cannot find a career to switch to. Some careers are harder to get into without a lot of experience and this is also something that holds people back.

Holding an advanced degree and having the right amount of experience can make switching your career easier. Additionally, the degree shows you are a serious and highly professional candidate who would be a great fit for the advertised position.

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Switching a career is a lot easier when you have an advanced career in a broad field. If you already have a business degree, pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration will allow you to work in almost any industry that needs business expertise. This is also true for tech careers, where broad advanced degrees such as a Master’s in Computer Science allow you to work in fields ranging from software development to data analytics.

Offers Opportunities to Become a Lifelong Learner

Most people pursue a bachelor’s degree because they see it as a necessity and a milestone that needs to be passed. Choosing to pursue an advanced degree provides opportunities for personal growth, professional advancement, and creating valuable connections.

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Once you know how you learn best and what you are interested in, you get the opportunity to continue with personal and professional development by pursuing the understanding of the technological and scientific innovations that shape our lives.

Committing to keep moving forward enhances your self-sustainability and makes you employable regardless of what changes or where you are in your career.

It Acts as a Confidence Booster

Earning a degree, especially an advanced one, is very challenging. This is especially the case if you are working while trying to complete the degree. When you earn the degree, you accomplish a very big goal. You gain the skills, competencies, and experience that will help you in life and your career. Achieving all this and gaining additional skills in areas like public speaking and communication helps increase your self-confidence.

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Studies show that people with higher levels of self-confidence are usually more successful. These people also end up earning a lot more because they are assertive with their demands. They are also seen as valuable to a company or business because they are a lot more likely to produce positive customer or client interactions.

Makes You an Expert

Everything you learn as well as the skills, experience, and expertise you gain when completing an advanced degree will make you an expert in a specific field. People will come to you if they need any assistance in that particular field and this is what makes you very valuable. You become an authority and people come to rely on you for various things.

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Being an expert in a specific area narrows your career option but also makes it easier to climb the ladder in that field. This is because there are only a handful of people with the same specialization. With more opportunities available and high demand due to few people in your specialization, you get the chance to ask for a higher salary.

Also, being an expert in a specific field helps secure your job. Businesses and companies are reluctant to hire people who they cannot replace easily and thus pursuing an advanced degree in a narrow field can help increase your job security.

Get Academic Recognition

A major component of completing an advanced degree is completing a research project. Your research will often involve pursuing new ideas and theories to see how viable they are. If you conduct exceptional research, you are likely to be recognized in the academic community. You might be invited to present your paper, contribute to another project or even receive accreditation in a published piece of academic work. International recognition is also a possibility, especially if you get published in a recognized paper.

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All the above will help you become a sought-after expert in your field, provide numerous networking opportunities, and open doors that you might not have known existed before. All of these can help you get into careers that you might not have considered before, or advance your career in new ways.

It Provides a Sense of Personal Accomplishment

Even though numerous factors contribute to individual identity, completing an advanced degree is an achievement that you will be proud of and that can shape how you see yourself. Earning a degree increases your personal value and credibility, both of which invite a higher level of respect.

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By knowing that you have the academic competency to complete an advanced degree, you will have a greater sense of confidence in your ability to move to and thrive in leadership positions. Getting into these positions keeps the cycle moving as you earn more credibility and respect and cement yourself as a leader in your field, and everything starts over again.

It Will Grow Your Social and Professional Network

Career advancement is usually about much more than being the most qualified person or being the best employee; it can also be about networking. Networking and making meaningful personal and professional connections is one way professionals create life-long friendships and relationships. These relationships often lead to career opportunities that would have been unavailable otherwise.

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To make enough connections, treat everyone you need during your graduate studies as someone you would like in your professional network. This includes classmates, those in your study group, your thesis advisor, lecturer, TA, and even your professors. All these people could provide a connection to employment opportunities that will help your career advancement.

To maximize your networking opportunities, take advantage of any types of meetings or situations where groups of people come together. These include seminars and guest lecturers. Arrive early for these events and do not be afraid to introduce yourself to different people.

You can also hand out your business card to every professional you meet. Also, take their business cards or write down their contact details so you can follow up with them through a call or email later.

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Higher Compensation

The potential for a higher salary is one of the main reasons people pursue an advanced degree. Earning a master’s or doctorate is often seen as an investment into the future. Earning a master’s degree can lead to earning over $10,000 more per year than someone with a bachelor’s degree. The gap is even larger when you compare those with a doctorate against those with a bachelor’s degree. The additional amount could mean hundreds of thousands of additional dollars throughout a career. This could mean increased savings, a comfortable life, going on vacations, and even returning comfortably.

An advanced degree can also open up opportunities for supplemental income. Colleges and universities are always looking for people with master’s and doctorate degrees to teach classes. Part-time teaching at a college or university is a great way to earn extra cash while keeping your knowledge in your field of specialization up to date.

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Studies have shown that the job market is changing rapidly, with more employers requiring their employees to have at least a bachelor’s degree. To improve your life and career prospects, you need to stand out, and an advanced degree will help you do just that. A postgraduate degree is the best way to a meaningful and fulfilling career, and completing an advanced degree benefits not only your career but the lives of those around you that you inspire by completing one. Pursuing one also helps you achieve a sense of personal accomplishment and improves your confidence so you can go for what you want in life.


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