Employment for master's and doctorate students on the rise

Many careers that require a master's degree are on the rise, including several in health care.
    Many careers that require a master's degree are on the rise, including several in health care.

    Employment for master's and doctorate students on the rise


    This past August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a 2018 analysis regarding employment prospects for advanced degree graduates. According to its study, employment in careers that require a master’s degree or doctorate are projected to increase 17 percent through 2026.

    The BLS predicts the most openings for graduate level jobs in the following fields:

    • Community and social service: jobs that help the community and recommend advice
      • Examples: guidance counselors, social workers, mental health counselors
    • Legal, education and library: industries that coordinate research or manage education programs
      • Examples: lawyers, school administrators, librarians
    • Health care: workers who help people become and stay healthy
      • Examples: nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists, pharmacists, dentists
    • Postsecondary teaching: teachers in higher education
      • Examples: college professors, especially those specializing in health specialties, the arts (music, theater, art), business, English language and literature, nursing
    • Science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and social science: careers that serve to advance knowledge and find solutions to real-world issues
      • Examples: medical scientists, psychologists, statisticians, biophysicists

    Separate BLS data determined that unemployment rates are also linked to workers’ degree levels. Doctorate graduates have the lowest amount of unemployment, at 1.5 percent. Graduates of master’s programs have 2.2 percent unemployment, bachelor’s graduates have 2.5 percent unemployment and individuals with a high school diploma have an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent. This pattern is not a coincidence; students with advanced degrees are in high demand.

    The same data revealed a similar succession, this time comparing graduates’ degree levels and their weekly earnings. Unsurprisingly, doctorates have the highest median earnings, at $1,743. Master’s graduate earnings are not far behind, with a median $1,401 weekly income. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree and a high school diploma have median weekly salaries of $1,173 and $712, respectively. Going back for an advanced degree is worth it, literally and figuratively.

    Recommended advanced degrees in these industries
    Entering these careers with a bachelor’s degree is possible, but most of these high-paying, in-demand jobs require at least a master’s degree. No matter, it’s likely there are applicants with master’s or doctorate degrees going for these types of jobs. To stay at the level of the competition, or to get an edge in the job market, graduates with bachelor’s degrees may benefit from going back to school. What these students decide to study depends on their career path, their specialization and the amount of time they are willing to dedicate to their advanced degree.

    The competition in the job market can be fierce, but with a master’s degree or doctorate, doors could swing open.

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