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Why should I get a master’s degree?

In the United States, there are 21 million adults over the age of 25 with master’s degrees1—and 21 million individual stories of why these adults decided to pursue them.


But while every story has its unique flavor, there are several prevailing reasons why these adult learners wanted to earn MS degrees. If you’re thinking about joining them, but are still wondering why you should get a master’s degree, here are five top reasons:

You Seek Advancement

Career growth is a prime reason working professionals choose online master’s degrees. That was certainly true for Ulysesses Wilcox, a graduate of Walden University’s online MS in Leadership degree program.

“Obtaining your master’s degree can open up many doors, many opportunities,” he says. “That’s the decision I made, and I think it’s beneficial. It’s advantageous for anyone who desires better opportunities in their workplace or … some type of professional advancement. The master’s degree is the way to go.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the research division of the U.S. Department of Labor, concurs: “Each level of education you complete may help you develop more skills, give you access to higher-paying occupations, and signal that you’re able to follow through on important tasks, such as planning ahead and meeting deadlines, that employers value.”2

You’d Like to Earn More Money

In many professions, a master’s degree can increase the size of your paycheck. Or, as the BLS puts it, “In terms of dollars, education makes sense.”3

In 2017, across all professions, MS degree-holders received median weekly earnings of $1,401, a 16% increase over the $1,173 median weekly earnings of workers with bachelor’s degrees. Professionals with master’s degrees also experienced a lower unemployment rate—2.2% compared to 2.5% for those with BA or BS degrees.3

You’re Ready to Change Careers

Earning a master’s degree can help prepare you for new career vistas. The BLS and Enrollment Specialists at accredited online colleges can be excellent sources of information for those who want to shift from one focus area to another in their current line of work as well as for career-changers.

If you have a bachelor’s degree and have always yearned to be a teacher, you might choose a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program. An MAT degree can help provide the education and experience you need to become an effective educator.

It’s Time to Refresh Your Skills

As Americans choose or need to work longer,6 higher education can help increase knowledge and build 21st-century skills to keep you relevant—at every stage of your career.

“In an increasingly competitive global and knowledge-based economy, it’s more important than ever for workers to invest in themselves through education and continuous learning to update their skill sets and knowledge base,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “No one knows the exact skill sets American workers will need for the high-growth careers of 2040. But we do know that … a willingness to invest in some form of postsecondary education and a commitment to lifelong learning … are the keys to preparing America’s workers for whatever the future holds.”7

You Value Lifelong Learning

“Learn as if you were to live forever,” Mahatma Gandhi said. Keeping the mind limber and engaged is an excellent reason to pursue an online master’s degree.

With the life and job experience you’ve gained since earning a bachelor’s degree, you’ll likely have a deeper appreciation for education as an adult learner. “It developed my analytical mind in a way that college didn’t, because I was 18 years old, and when I started at Walden, I was 48,” says Barbara Hanson, a graduate of Walden’s MS in Mental Health Counseling degree program. “I found a new voice that was 48 years old. Only through graduate school at Walden and the rigorous academic process was that voice brought out.”

Find Your Voice With an MS Degree

Are you ready to take the next steps in furthering your education and career? Find out if Walden’s online master’s degree programs are right for you.

Walden offers stimulating coursework in over 40 master’s degree programs geared to working professionals. You can earn a master’s degree in areas of study that include criminal justice, education, psychology and counseling, business, public health and health sciences, social work and human services, nursing, and public policy and administration.

Walden’s online master’s degree programs are career-focused and led by faculty who are scholars, researchers, and industry professionals. You’ll find comprehensive student support to guide you every step of the way: from determining financial aid options, including limited-time savings and other tuition assistance, to creating an academic plan.

When you’re ready to earn a master’s degree, look to Walden, the No. 1 granter of master’s degrees,8 to help you achieve your career goals and higher education dreams.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online master’s degree programs that can help you thrive in a competitive marketplace. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

8Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Database (IPEDS). Retrieved July 2018; includes 2017 preliminary data and all classifications of instructional programs (CIP) codes.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,