Published: Dec. 20, 2019

Sarah Shoup's photo

Use this guide to help you decide if going to graduate school is worth your while.

1. Career Advancement

A graduate certificate or master's degree is a tangible indication that you have what it takes – the drive, determination, discipline and knowledge – to go farther in your chosen field and that you are an asset to the company. Your management may require an advanced degree for career levels.

2. More Earning Power

Along with advancement often comes an increase in salary for taking on a higher level of responsibility and decision-making. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. workers between the ages of 21 and 64 with a master’s degree or higher earn on average twice as much as those who have a bachelor’s degree.

SN Alumni

3. Career Change

A graduate degree or certificate often opens up a greater arena of career opportunities. Thirty years ago a person with a bachelor’s degree could find many entry-level positions in higher education administration, public affairs and social services. Today, a master’s degree or equivalent is required simply to be considered for such positions.

4. Education Specialization

The rapid growth of technology and new areas of specialization make additional education necessary to stay current in your field or to move to a new area of concentration.

5. Sense of Accomplishment

The feeling of personal achievement and satisfaction one gets from setting a goal and persevering even through periods of doubt, discouragement and other pressures will be remembered as a life altering experience.

Eric Dieter, Alumni

6. Recognition and Credibility

After investing years of gaining knowledge and training via a master’s degree or a specialized certificate in a chosen field, you will have earned the respect and credibility you deserve. Unequivocally, an advanced degree makes a difference on a résumé.

7. Networking Opportunities

Many graduate students are working professionals representing a wide variety of companies across many fields. You will also learn from, and potentially assist, professors with their research. Make the most of opportunities to get to know classmates and faculty.

Whatever the reason for going to graduate school, it’s not a decision to be made lightly. There are other major issues to be considered such as balancing school with your work/home life, financing your education and relocating if necessary, to name just a few. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly clear that an advanced degree matters and is worth the effort.