A post-graduate degree can open many more doors for advancement and opportunity in your career, but how much is a graduate degree actually worth?
According to the graph below, the average person who holds a master’s degree earns an additional 36 percent per year beyond bachelor's degree holders because of it. Multiply that by 10, 20 or 30 years, and getting your master’s makes a whole lot of sense…and cents.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics corroborates this findings with their own studies. In the second quarter of 2013, workers 25 and over with an advanced degree (professional or master's degree and above) earned on average $286 per week more than those with a bachelor's degree only. Multiplied by 52 weeks, this would be $14,872 per year. Over a working lifetime of 30 years, these workers will earn approximately $446,160 more than their less-credentialed peers.
However, not all master’s degrees are created equal. U.S. Census Bureau findings show that those with a master’s of arts degree typically yield less income than the average listed above, while MBA’s and master’s of science degree holders earn more. To determine whether it’s a smart financial move for you, decide on your final career goal and then research the following:
Will earning a master’s degree…
- Help me achieve that career goal?
- Help me fulfill the educational requirement for the occupation I want?
- Increase my earnings potential in my current position?
- Make me eligible for promotion at my current employer?
- Increase my credibility to clients and/or staff? (This is an important question for business owners and consultants)
On the other hand, if you want to take a graduate degree program because you have a very strong interest in gaining additional knowledge on a subject, or if you have a specific educational goal you wish to achieve, then future income is certainly not the only aspect to consider.