Graduate School: Some Quick Stats
More people than ever are enrolling in graduate degrees. That is true. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization, enrollment in graduate programs increased by 3.6% in Fall of 2020. During the Spring 2021 semester, enrollment continued to rise to 4.4%. In fact, this growth far outpaced that predicted by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES).
Several sources attribute much of this growth to online graduate enrollment, which amped up during the pandemic. In fact, Education and Beyond (EAB) reports that “from 2019 to 2020, enrollment in online graduate programs grew by 63%.” There was also a median increase in the number of students in online programs. Rather than the big online giants getting these gains, smaller universities with respected, accredited online programs created much of this growth. One of the online programs experiencing the most growth was the MBA. And, for the first time ever, in 2020-2021, online MBA students surpassed in-person MBA students.
So more people than ever are enrolling in graduate programs. It is also clear that online master’s degrees are gaining in credibility. We at Global Campus believe in the quality of Michigan Tech’s online graduate programs. But we also recognize that people pursue advanced education for various reasons.
Therefore, we collated a few resources to help you determine if graduate school is right for you.
General Benefits of Graduate Programs
Considering the Pros and Cons: These two articles from US News and the Harvard Business Review (HBR) discuss some of the strongest and weakest reasons for attending graduate school. Although they differ on the drawbacks, both articles agree that an advanced education can diversify your career options and increase your marketability. Career-consulting firm BetterUp also lists six crucial questions you should ask yourself before considering graduate school.
Exploring the Top Reasons: “The Top Ten Reasons to Go to Grad School” summarizes common motivations for pursuing master’s degrees. These include investing in your future, getting noticed in the job market, and exploring your passions. This article also stresses how graduate programs help students gain important professional development skills. In fact, several of Michigan Tech’s graduate programs, such as the TechMBA and the Online Manufacturing Certificate, incorporate professional development and leadership skills in their curriculum.
Other Benefits of Advanced Degrees
Motivations differ, but below are a few of the other reasons people pursue advanced degrees.
Acquiring Increased Earnings and Greater Job Stability
Master’s programs obviously differ. Still, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) has repeatedly shown how graduate degrees may increase your earnings and lower your chances of unemployment. When it comes to engineering, there are other advantages to pursuing advanced degrees in certain fields. For instance, the median annual income for aerospace engineers with a bachelor’s degree is $118,600. This salary rises to $134 to $143k for those with master’s degrees. And this is just one example.
Accessing In-Demand Careers
A graduate degree may allow you to take advantage of career trends. For instance, in its future jobs forecast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the need for statisticians will grow by 33% by 2026. (For perspective, the average job growth is about 7%.) Michigan Tech’s Online MS in Applied Statistics is an innovative degree meeting the need for professional, trained statisticians. Similarly, managing and securing the flood of data produced by the healthcare industry has created new employment opportunities. Tech’s MS in Health Informatics can prepare you for a career managing and securing health data and much, much more.
Meeting Employer Needs
Master’s degrees are also becoming necessary for certain in-demand jobs. As early as 2016, Fast Company reported on how employers were pumping up their education requirements for new hires. This trend has continued. According to some estimates, as much as 27% of employers prefer master’s degrees for certain positions.
And then there is the relationship between advanced degrees and certification. The American Society of Civil Engineers offers board certifications (in certain fields). It offers certifications to those who have achieved at least a master’s degree, a P.E. license (or foreign equivalent), and 8 years of post-licensure progressive engineering experience. Michigan Tech’s own College of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering can help you take one of these first steps. That is, the CEGE offers an Online MS with a specialization in Water Resources Engineering. This field is available for board certification.
Graduate School: Let Us Help You Decide
These are just a few reasons and resources that were selected from the internet’s vast sea of information. There might be other factors influencing why you would enroll in graduate certificates or degree programs. And this blog also just skimmed the surface of the versatile online certificates and degrees offered by Michigan Tech.
If you need help choosing an online graduate program, deciding between a graduate certificate or master’s degree, or figuring out the application process, reach out to a representative from the Michigan Tech Graduate School or an expert from Global Campus. We’re here to help you open the door to new interests, educational pathways, and career opportunities.