By Laura Morrison, July 2014
For many people, going to college to pursue undergraduate studies is a logical step, and is part of many high school graduates' road map for life. But what about graduate school? While undergraduate degrees are so ubiquitous as to be required for a job in almost every professional field, the decision of whether to pursue graduate studies is less obvious.
Especially for those who are not necessarily pursuing a career as a doctor or lawyer, the prospect of plunging back into the academic world - not to mention the associated financial implications - may give pause. However, even if your desire is to pursue a field in which a graduate degree isn't required, there are still important benefits you might extract from a graduate education that may help you as you pursue your career.
Unlike your undergraduate studies, your graduate program will likely be completely geared toward your field of choice - you won't have to fill schedule space with general education requirements, and can instead devote the whole of your studies to your field. This provides excellent opportunities not only to expand your knowledge but also to network with important individuals in your field, which is at least as important - if not more so - than the information you'll acquire.
Many potential graduate students express reservations toward attending graduate school based on the additional cost they would incur. However, in many cases, graduate school tends to reward its students with providing opportunities to make more money once you graduate.
Not only can a graduate degree make you more employable, but it might also positively affect the amount of money you can ask employers to pay you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduate degrees correlated strongly with both higher earning potential and significantly lower unemployment rates. In fact, as the BLS reported, the national unemployment average in 2013 was 6.1 percent, while those workers who had received a master's degree averaged 3.4 percent unemployment. Doctoral graduates appeared even more employable, seeing only a 2.2 percent unemployment rate.
About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for GradSchools.com. She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.