A graduate degree is often touted as the new bachelor’s degree…a critical distinction in a crowded pool of candidates. But is more education always the answer? What benefit can you get from a graduate degree, other than more debt? 

Benefits of a Graduate Degree

Despite the price tag, there are benefits to consider when thinking through whether or not to take the graduate degree plunge. First, a graduate degree offers more of a niche focus. Undergraduate programs can sometimes paint broad subjects on a career field, but a graduate program can zero in on a specific area of expertise. Second, a graduate degree can provide a needed career change – especially for veterans as they transition out of the military. Next, while earned respect and intellectual growth are hard to measure in the valuation of your career, they are not to be ignored. The experience of a graduate program can increase your critical thinking skills, all while garnering respect from current or future employers. 

More Education Isn’t the Only Option for Career Advancement

The key thing to remember is that while a graduate degree may benefit some careers, others are better served with targeted training. Consider your options carefully, and if your interests are in STEM or business, consider taking the graduate degree plunge.   That diploma could build out your resume nicely and be your ticket to success. You just have to weigh your options carefully to know what is right for your career. Don’t look at what your friends or colleagues are doing. If your company provides tuition reimbursement, you may want to consider taking the slow approach or just directly apply those dollars to certification programs instead. It is important to figure out what will add value in the short and long term, and then just go for it. 

 

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.