Qualify For a Salary Boost by Earning an Advanced Degree

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Qualify For a Salary Boost by Earning an Advanced Degree

With so many college graduates being out of work these days, there is an increasingly common trend of jobs and promotions being awarded to candidates who simply have higher qualification. It is often stated that it is vital for both job seekers and job holders to improve their qualification in order to stand out from the rest. Employment data offers an insight into this.

Master of All


Gone are the times when a bachelor's degree guaranteed a high paying and stable job. Instead, more and more graduates are staying in school to pursue master's degree in an effort to leap frog ahead of the competition. A master's degree aids success in job applications and extends the reach of your resume, allowing you to be seriously considered for senior posts.

Salary Range


Gaining a master's degree not only greatly improves your chances of getting a top post but dramatically increases the likelihood of a salary increase. Studies have shown that pay increases can range from 10 to 300 percent, per degree. Of course the size of this increase depends on the institution your degree is from, with well renowned universities conferring a greater effect on the raise. What is surprising is that the degree by which your salary can be improved varies immensely among different careers.

Top Earners


The biggest jump in earnings for new master's degree holders over bachelor's degree holders can be found in the physical sciences where an average salary hike of $37500 was recorded. This almost doubles the next largest salary improvement of $22000 and $21000 which was experienced in the computer programming and science management fields, respectively.

Middle Ground


Master's degree holders in the human resources sector earns an average of $19000 a year over their bachelor degree holding colleagues, while economics and engineering majors brought home on average $16000 and $15500 more. Chemistry, finance and elementary education professionals were just below on an average of $11000. Art and Philosophy stood at $9000, with Mathematics at $7000 and foreign languages at $5000.

Little Change


The smallest salary difference between master's degree and bachelor's degree holders appears to be in Psychology and Sociology sectors, earning only $2500 and $1800 a year more, respectively. This may be offset by the perceived personal rewards these careers can provide to those involved.

Weighing the Options


These figures are particularly interesting for the currently employed professionals considering pursuing an advanced degree while working. Although many companies provide support for boosting their employees' qualification, the considerable time and effort commitment may not be worth it, financially. Typically, though, the expenses incurred from funding an advanced degree have been found to pay themselves off in three to five years.

It could be argued that the opportunity for support should be capitalized on as the trend is likely to continue with minimum qualification soon reaching the master's degree level. Perhaps a very busy and stressful few years is worth the peace of mind of securing your job for the foreseeable future and the enviable flexibility of being able to apply for more senior posts as they arise.

About the Author:

Becca Carey is a freelance writer living in Phoenix, Arizona. She writes for higher ed blogs where you can learn more about getting a master's degree online.

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