After years of hard work you’ve finally acquired your bachelor’s degree. In your mind, you’re ready for the workforce and the larger world that is beyond the borders of a college campus. But some of your friends and family are asking you an important question.
Do you plan to get your master’s degree?
You may have thought of this already. What was your answer? You may have said, “No, a bachelor’s is enough in today’s workforce.” This is a common thought. But what if you learned that higher education, the pursuit of a graduate degree, would benefit both you and your community at large? Consider the following data:
In a 2014 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a master’s degree were found to have an unemployment rate almost one full percentage point lower than those with only a bachelor’s degree, or over two percentage points lower than that of the average five percent unemployment rate.
While bachelor’s degree holders are still doing fairly well, master’s degree holders are clearly finding more success in today’s job market than those with only a bachelor’s degree.
In the same study, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, on a weekly basis, master’s degree holders made an average of $225 more than those with bachelor’s degrees. This puts the earnings of master’s degree holders at nearly $500 more than the average weekly wage.
Much like with the unemployment findings, master’s degree holders have clearly found a way to better pay than those with bachelor’s degrees. In a way, however, the gap in average wages between the two degree levels is more significant here than in the unemployment statistics. After all, you may have a similar chance of getting employed, but you still want the best pay you can get.
But what about factors besides money?
Better Perceived Health
In a 2001 study by the National Center for Education Statistics, those with bachelor’s degrees or higher were nearly six percent more likely to view themselves as healthy, as opposed to those who had only had a little bit of college experience. This doubles to nearly 12 percent versus those who have only graduated high school.
This study makes it clear that those with more education tend to be happier with their health. If a bachelor’s degree is so much better than no college, how much better must a master’s degree be than a bachelor’s in this area? Your quality of life is an important area of consideration.
Reduced Crime Rate
According to statistics from the Bureau of Justice, those with bachelor’s degrees or higher were almost two percent less likely to be incarcerated than those who never completed high school.
This is an area that benefits both the community and the individual. The less likely a person is to go to jail, the more likely it is that they can serve as a role model and inspiration for those who are currently in school. Higher education can impact more than just the individual, it can cause a domino effect within a community and reduce the crime rate.
In the end, your education matters for more than just yourself. Having a master’s degree can dramatically impact your income, employment rate, and contentment with your health. Having more than a bachelor’s can also help reduce the crime rate of your community, improve the quality of life of others, and inspire them to pursue higher education of their own.
You may still be debating whether you should pursue a master’s degree or not. After all, it is three more years of school. Regardless, you should keep the benefits of a master’s degree in mind as you consider grad school. It could make a huge difference in your life.