Is a Masters Degree Worth the Effort?

With average salaries starting at $80,000 for master's degree holders, it comes as no surprise that master's degree programs are in high demand.

accelerated graduate degree student studyingThe benefits of distance learning are many, including the ability to fit courses in around one’s current employment so you’re not losing pay for missing work, nor are you spending hours getting to and from classes and shouldering the expenses associated with a commute.

In some cases, even a student still working toward their baccalaureate degree can “double-dip”, earning credits toward their bachelor’s and their master’s degrees at the same time.

An accelerated master’s degree earned online is no different than any other master’s degree issued by an accredited institution, and many top schools offer programs to students from all walks of life, whether a returning student, working student or someone long since graduated looking to further their education.

Average Salaries for Master’s Program Grads

In some fields, the difference in starting salaries can be as wide as 20 percent or more between a candidate with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. According to, the average starting salary nationwide for an undergraduate degree was $67,000, while for a master’s degree the base pay jumped to $80,000.

The highest level of starting pay was for an MBA, at $93,000. Think about what those extra dollars could do in your pockets. Accrued overtime, year after year, you could afford the kind of life you want for yourself and your family. An investment of time and money in education pays off not just at the office but in terms of building a more secure future.

MA vs. MS vs. MBA? Or something else?

There is some debate as to the relative values and differences between the Master of Arts and the Master of Sciences degrees.

In general, the Master of Arts was conferred for advanced studies in the humanities, while the Master of Sciences was awarded based on studies with a scientific or technical focus.

However, many master’s programs are being broken up into highly specialized post-graduate degrees such as the MBA (Master of Business Administration), MEd (Master of Education), MCouns (Master of Counseling), MEM (Master of Engineering Management) and other highly specific master’s degree standings. As the influence of advanced degrees becomes wider, the designations have become more specific and career-track oriented.

Curious about going all the way to a doctorate? Check out our latest article on the top paying doctoral programs.

Is a Masters Degree Necessary to Climb the Career Ladder?

Workers in every field need every advantage they can get when the economy is tough. No matter what your career path is, no matter how good you are at your job, the economic benefits of earning an advanced degree are undeniable. According to the Census Bureau, between the years 2002 and 2012, more than five million people completed master’s degrees, an increase of 45 percent.

A bachelor’s degree is the starting point that a high school diploma was a generation ago, and with a more educated workforce, there has to be a way to stand out from the pack.

Combining an undergraduate degree, work experience, a well-written resume, and a graduate degree is just one method of drawing attention to your superior qualities for the better job or promotion you’ve been working toward.

A new study by Pew Research highlights the fact that for the Millennial generation, a baccalaureate degree does pay, but that master’s degree pays off not only at hire, but over time in terms of accrued household income.

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Joy Miller
Joy Miller
Hannah Davis
Hannah Davis
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