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Graduate degrees especially beneficial for STEM professionals

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
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Graduate degrees especially beneficial for STEM professionals
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Before pursuing grad school, students must first consider the return on investment that they'll receive from earning an advanced degree. A new report from Georgetown University concluded that a graduate degree is extremely beneficial for students. Those considering expanding their education should factor in the data collected from the survey, as it gives valuable insight into the state of the job market, and how an advanced degree can help give them a competitive advantage - especially in certain fields of work.

A graduate degree can give you a competitive advantage.A graduate degree can give you a competitive advantage.

Report findings
By attending grad school, students are able to network with peers and learn skills that arm them with what they need to be successful in their careers. For these reasons, job applicants with a grad degree on their résumés stand out more, and it could be why they're chosen for a position over another candidate. In fact, the Georgetown University report explained that advanced degrees "have provided the best shelter from the effects of the Great Recession."

According to the report, those who have recently earned a graduate degree in the following areas have an unemployment rate under 5 percent:

Overall, the unemployment rate for recent graduate degree holders is at an estimated 4 percent, and the figure for graduate degree holders aged 35 to 54 was 3.3 percent at its highest. On the other hand, recent graduates with only a Bachelor's degree have an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. Therefore, a graduate degree makes a large difference in starting a career in a fierce job market.

"A graduate degree boosts earnings substantially."

Landing a job isn't the only benefit of a graduate degree. It also boosts earnings substantially. The report found that those aged 35 to 54 with advanced degrees in the arts and education field earn around $62,000 and those with a higher degree in engineering make around $114,000. Meanwhile, those same professionals with an undergraduate education make an average of $47,000 and $93,000, respectively.

STEM professionals benefit the most
While the data showed that professionals in any given field benefit from an advanced degree in some way, those in the science, technology, engineering and math fields benefit the most. Not only does additional schooling provide students with focused education in these technical fields, but it also helps equip students with the resources they need to make major contributions to society. CNBC reported that part of what keeps the U.S. so powerful is its innovations in the STEM space. This places more of a need on qualified professionals in these industries.

The news sources explained that, despite the U.S. Department of Education's prediction of millions of new STEM jobs being created, about 3 million of them will go unfilled by 2018. Those interested in a STEM career are encouraged to earn advanced degrees and pursue a job within the space to make valuable contributions to society - and there's government funding to help promote that. President Obama proposed that $170 million of the 2015 fiscal budget go toward STEM-related education programs. 

By Monique Smith

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Queens College
Queens College offers more than 100 master's degrees and advanced certificates in the liberal arts, sciences, social sciences, and teacher education.
www.qc.cuny.edu