Have you ever thought about going back to school? It can impact your educational experience, career, and income just to name a few. Although going back to school can be intimidating, taking the risk will benefit you in the long run.

A big question to ask yourself: how will higher education change your future?  

Going back to Graduate School

Throughout undergraduate school, you’re trying to find yourself and what direction best suits you. After graduating, you have more time to try out different jobs and get your foot in the door to find the career path that works for you. Going back to school can diversify your knowledge and prepare you for the next step in your path.  

In 2017, 3.0 million students were enrolled in postgraduate programs. Between 2017 and 2028, the enrollment is estimated to increase by 3 percent (from 3 million to 3.1 million students). These programs include master’s, doctoral and professional degrees.  

Employers seek persistence, growth, and dedication in their employees. Extending your education can be the key to standing out in the job market. Click To Tweet

As education has evolved throughout the years, employers are looking at more than just the school you have attended, but also the skills you have acquired. They want to see the soft skills you have gained through internships and other related roles. They seek persistence, growth, and dedication in their employees. Extending your education can be the key to standing out in the job market.  

Earning a graduate degree will extend your recognition and credibility as well. You’ll be able to gain more knowledge and be credible by any professional industry you’re looking to pursue. Whatever advanced degree you obtain, you earn sense of accomplishment in addition to valuable knowledge. 

Career Change 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states the average American changes their job around 10-15 times between the ages of 18 and 46. That’s a 28 year stretch till you finally find the career you settled for. Earning a graduate degree can lead to more job mobility, especially in an economy that is rapidly changing due to technological advancements.  

Imagine having a senior title within your industry and better chances moving up within a company. People want to take on more hard skills and be able to transition into new positions, to learn something new and master it. Others who do not hold a graduate degree have to invest more time into making their way up. Some industries even require bigger leadership roles to have an advanced degree. The benefit of that is most employers will even pay for your schooling.  

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Photo by Jorge Vasconez

Graduate school opens many doors to new careers. More institutions are offering diverse programs, and some are even customizable for your unique interests. This is a great way to increase your opportunities in a new industry. For example, if someone wants to leave business and instead become a psychologist, they can pursue a graduate program in psychology.  

Show your next employer that you have relevant knowledge and are committed to lifelong learning. Graduate school is a great way to prove that you can take on more responsibilities and leadership tasks.  

Increase Income 

Whatever degree you choose to pursue, most graduate programs offer the promise of earning a higher salary. Continuous learning and adding degrees to your resume expand your chances of boosting your income.  

Of course, this all depends on which industry you are in, where you live, went to school, etc. But whatever additional degree you earn will likely help you earn many times the cost of the degree.  

 Statistics from the 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor reports an individual with a higher education level such as a master’s degree earns a weekly income of $1400 and an annual income of $74,000. The annual cost of earning a two-year master’s degree from a public institution is estimated at $23,000. Earning a master’s degree from a private university is estimated at around $53,000. Surprisingly, a professional degree increases income more than a Ph.D.   

In terms of return on investment, an associate degree has the highest ROI of 8,459% against all other degrees. However, earning a master’s degree is the next best ROI (at 2,301%) and earns a better income.  

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Photo by Austin Distel

College Experience 

Pursing a graduate degree puts you in the best environment to network and connect with peers and professors. 

Graduate school increases opportunities for getting involved both in and outside of the classroom. You can get involved in clubs, groups, and events. Networking can help you build relationships and create connections that will benefit your career advancement. Creating validity with these individuals allows you to stand out from others and jump ahead in the competitive job market. 

After creating meaningful connections, it’s essential to stay in touch with them. Don’t lose contact with those you don’t see routinely. This will help the connections remember you and increase your opportunities to work together. Click To Tweet

Before entering an event or class that will give you opportunities to network, do your research. Find out who’s going to be there and decide who you’d like to meet. Research a bit about their background and what more you’d like to learn from them. LinkedIn is a great platform to understand someone’s background and expertise. Having this kind of knowledge will allow you to have a purposeful conversation and see how you can collaborate or support each other.  

After creating meaningful connections, it’s essential to stay in touch with them. Don’t lose contact with those you don’t see routinely. This will help the connections remember you and increase your opportunities to work together. 

Next Big Step 

Advancing your degree is the next big step to enhance your career, increase your salary, build your network, and much more. 

Graduate school allows you to pursue the career you wanted when first starting in the job field. This also leads to a higher income depending on which degree program and career path you decide to take. In addition, building your network helps you gain more knowledge and skills that will help you stand out to employers.  

At the end of the day you are the one who makes your college experience. Yes, it is an investment with time and money, but it all pays off when you go after a goal and achieve it.  Plan and consider all the factors to determine if the return on investment is worth it for an advanced degree.  

Higher education is satisfying, offering endless opportunities and potential to grow professionally and personally. Earning an advanced degree can change your future for good. 

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Photo by Bruno Nascimento

About Dr. Donald “Doc” Hecht — Doc is an Educator, University Founder, and President Emeritus writing and discussing the trends and challenges facing higher, online, and distance education, among other topics. Please feel free to comment, make suggestions, or ask any questions! You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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