By DeVry University
Whether you’re fresh out of your undergraduate program or years into your career, you might be thinking about earning a graduate degree. Is now a good time to take the next step in your education? How can a graduate degree help you pursue your goals?
In addition to advancing your skills in your particular field, pursuing a master’s degree or graduate certificate can also help you in other ways. Read on to learn more about the value a graduate degree program can provide as you prepare to take the next steps in your career.
Why Pursue a Graduate Degree?
Earning a master’s degree can be a significant personal milestone that can help boost your confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment. Depending on the career you’re working toward, it’s also worth noting that some fields require a master’s degree for roles at the entry-level1.
Here are just a few of the ways a graduate degree can help you become a more effective, well-rounded professional:
1. Build Soft Skills
Graduate school provides you with hands-on learning experience in your field, which can potentially help you stand out amongst your peers. The courses at this degree level can help refine your soft skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, leadership and analytical skills as you participate in group projects and in-depth discussions during your coursework.
Graduate courses may also be more self-directed than undergraduate courses, which means you’ll need to learn how to set goals, complete tasks and objectives and organize your schedule. This can help foster life skills such as time-management, persistence and self-discipline.
2. Sharpen Your Skills in Your Current Field
Students who are already working and decide to apply for graduate school may do so to further develop their skills in their field of study. A master’s degree can build on your undergraduate major by giving you the opportunity to learn more specialized knowledge or expand your technical abilities in your chosen field. Acquiring new skills can help demonstrate your commitment to your current area of expertise or allow you to pivot and focus on a more niche discipline.
3. Network With Other Professionals
Graduate schools are great places to expand your network, particularly with other professionals and students who are also in your industry. Since graduate classes are generally smaller and focus on collaborative projects, you can develop valuable relationships with your professors and classmates.
4. Gain Insights From Instructors With Real-World Experience
Pursuing a master’s degree can expose you to instructors who are industry professionals, capable of integrating real-world observations and lessons into their classrooms. They have a solid understanding of the working world and are knowledgeable on the latest industry trends. They can also share their experiences and offer insight into what skills and competencies students should focus on developing for their individual goals.
5. Grow Your Resume
When you earn your master’s degree, you’ll have the opportunity to acquire a set of skills that can help you become more proficient in your chosen field and build your resume.
In some industries, you may be required to obtain certain industry certifications to pursue higher-level or specialty roles. In accounting, for example, to be eligible for the CPA Exam you must have earned a certain number of credit hours, which typically involves pursuing your education beyond an undergraduate degree. A master’s in accounting program may help you meet these requirements, with some schools having CPA Exam prep elements built directly into their program’s curriculum.
6. Change Career Paths
Graduate degrees can help you prepare to transition into a new industry if you're looking for a career with better growth potential, seeking a change of pace or just following your passion. Whether you want to learn new skills or build on existing ones, pursuing a postgraduate education is one way for you to take your education goals to the next level and position yourself to start working toward a future you want.
7. Pursue New Opportunities
If you want to advance your career in the company or industry you’re currently in, a master’s degree may help you develop the skills you need to pursue higher-level positions. In fact, some organizations even provide education benefits to their employees where they reimburse part or all of their tuition costs.
8. Explore Current Business and Industry Trends
While an undergraduate program may focus on the broader strokes of a topic or industry, allowing graduates to consider a selection of different careers, graduate degree programs tend to focus on a niche knowledge base or specialty within an industry. As part of your curriculum, you’ll have opportunities to explore what’s happening in today’s market as well as the software, hardware and skills needed to get the job done.
Ready to Earn Your Graduate Degree?
At DeVry, we offer master’s degrees and graduate certificate programs in business, technology and healthcare – along with an MBA program that can be completed in as few as 10 courses2. Classes start every 8 weeks, and are designed with busy, working adults in mind.
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2Eligibility and application of course waivers varies based on the type of course waiver credit earned, the student’s enrolled location and/or the student’s state of residence. For more information, please refer to the Course Waiver section of the Keller academic catalog.