What is the Value of a Master’s Degree? – Worth the Time?

Earning a college degree is one of the best ways to build your future, hands down.  But going beyond just an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and earning a master’s degree is something that you’ll have to consider at some point in your education.  A master’s degree represents the next step up in your knowledge and skill level, although there is some debate that persists concerning its overall worth.  The argument runs that earning it won’t really advance your career forward that much and that it will consist of you using up time that could be better spent gathering real world experience.

But the fact is that learning just what the value of a master’s degree is will be important.  For some, it’s an important aspect of their education while for others it’s not worth the investment of time, energy, and money.  There are two sides to every argument, and that’s true in this one more than in most.

  • Many employers during a recent survey reported that actual job experience and tenure was more important to them than an additional degree.  In other words, those with a bachelor’s degree and two years of on the job experience were more attractive candidates than those with a master’s degree and no experience in the job market.
  • However, a large number of employers also recognized that hiring an employee with a master’s degree meant getting an employee with a deeper set of skills and knowledge, and one that would require little to no on the job training.  The jury is split on this, and it really comes down to an individual employer’s opinions.
  • Employers also believe that those with a master’s degree are equipped with better analytical thinking and problem solving skills than those without one.  For certain positions that is a major boon.

Looking at the numbers helps to illustrate one interesting difference – that those with a master’s degree usually earn more than those with a bachelor’s or lower.

  • Studies suggest that increases of three to five thousand dollars in annual salary are the average when you hold a master’s degree.  In other words, you’ll earn more money thanks to having a master’s degree in most cases.
  • You’ll also earn far more than the national average, in most cases between three and five hundred dollars more per week, maybe more.

Some experts also point out that a master’s degree is the best way for one to change the direction of their current career and education path.  For example, if you’ve earned a bachelor’s in a field but you’ve suddenly realized it’s really not for you, earning a master’s is the best way to modify your direction without having to go back through another four years of school. In that respect it’s well worth thinking about and one of the better options.

Simply put, a master’s degree is in an odd limbo area between a PhD and a Bachelor’s, and for some it’s not worth it.  Weigh the pros and cons and consider what your own specific goals are and you’ll likely be able to determine what it’s worth to you and your future.