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
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.
Students interested in community and social service may want to pursue graduate programs in social work, school counseling, psychology or mental health.
Health care professionals aiming to progress their career options might look into degrees in nursing, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, dentistry or other types of medical science.
Prospective professors of higher education should seek a master's or doctorate in the field they want to teach. Future English professors could study English & literature; art professors may want to study fine or applied arts; veterinary professors can earn a doctorate in veterinary medicine; and so on.