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What Types of Careers Benefit Most from a Graduate Degree?

Not every career path requires you to have a master’s degree to do your job, but some graduate degrees can enhance your knowledge and increase your earning potential. And many careers, such as Nurse Practitioner or Mental Health Counselor require a master’s degree for even an entry-level position. That’s because these fields rely on deep theoretical and practical knowledge that simply takes more time to master.

But there are also general career paths where you would benefit from an advanced degree.

  • Business: There are many business careers that don’t require a graduate degree, but if you expect to rise to the top of your organization, the MBA Degree signals that you have deep analytical knowledge and leadership skills. The degree doesn’t just bring you more responsibility and respect; it can also help increase your salary. People with an MBA often switch careers and earn more money.
  • Education: Many states require teachers and administrators in education to earn a master’s degree. Even in areas where it is not a requirement, it may benefit you financially. Teacher salaries are usually determined on a stepped basis where the longer you teach and the more advanced degree you have, the more you will earn. And if you aspire to a leadership role like a school principal or school superintendent, you will most assuredly need an advanced degree.
  • Healthcare: Doctors aren’t the only healthcare professionals that require advanced degrees. Physician’s assistants, clinical laboratory technicians, and others all benefit greatly from the increased knowledge and training included in a graduate degree program. Nurses with a master’s degree can also advance into leadership positions to make a meaningful impact on patient care and the nursing profession.
  • STEM: On the leading edge of innovation and thinking, many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers require or benefit from advanced degrees. Chemists, biophysicists, and biomedical professionals often need the knowledge they attain through an advanced science degree to be effective in their jobs.

Why Get a Master’s Degree?

In addition to some professions requiring graduate study, a master’s degree may help you:

  • Earn more money: The average weekly earnings for a master’s degree holder is $1,401 versus $1,173 for a bachelor’s degree and $836 for an associate degree.
  • Advance further in your career: Once you’ve worked several years in your field, gained a lot of useful experience, and proven yourself an asset, sometimes the only way to climb to the next rung of the career ladder is with an advanced degree.
  • Learn valuable information: Graduate degree programs help you learn advanced concepts and demonstrate skills at a higher level than an associate or bachelor’s degree. You delve into concepts more deeply, explore different avenues, and build upon your current knowledge to gain a greater understanding. A graduate degree validates your knowledge and expertise in the field.
  • Be more marketable: If you decide to switch companies or even careers, an advanced degree is usually valuable no matter where you work. It can open doors that you never thought of and increase your chances of getting hired in more familiar places too.
  • Grow your network: Your fellow graduate students can become part of your lifelong network. These classmates may become colleagues down the road. And you never know when you may need an introduction or reference.


Bluefield University is a faith-based Christian university in rural Virginia. We offer more than 70 academic programs—including graduate-level tracks with flexible online options. We pride ourselves on helping you find your passion and giving you the tools you need to pursue it. Contact us today to learn more about where an advanced degree might take you and your career.

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