After a high school diploma, it’s easy to say, “I’m going to college.” It’s the most common path, so it seems an easy choice to make. Once you’ve completed a Bachelor’s degree, however, the choice isn’t as simple. When you finish your undergrad and walk across the stage, it’s not always clear which path you should walk. There are a lot of options, all of which should be researched and thought over before you make your choice. 

If you’ve done well in your Bachelor’s degree and truly enjoy learning, graduate school is a possibility for you. Getting a postgraduate degree, however, is a considerable investment. A master’s degree can be 1-2 years of studying and research. If you’re considering getting your master’s degree, you should be ready for an intense learning experience. A master’s degree is twofold: one, they are primarily research-based, and two, they involve highly advanced and specialized studying.

Should you succeed in your degree and demonstrate mastery of your chosen field of study, it will open up career options for you. Not only has the job market changed so much that often, a sole bachelor’s degree is not enough to establish a career, but getting a master’s degree increases your job prospects greatly. Those with master’s degrees set themselves apart from the rest with their specialized knowledge. Not only this, but employers often prefer their employees to have one. Many companies seek out candidates with advanced degrees (source). An added bonus is the increased earning potential – those with master’s degrees earn a 23% higher median annual income than those holding only a Bachelor’s degree (source).  

Another academic path that can be followed after your undergrad is the Doctor of Philosophy, also known as a PhD. It is the highest university degree, given after a course of study typically ranging between 5 and 7 years. PhD students are required to produce original research going beyond the current knowledge base in their thesis and defend it to experts in the field. Attaining a Doctor of Philosophy can propel your career forward. Getting your PhD is the main requirement for becoming a scientist, researcher, or university professor. 

The three careers listed above are known to be lucrative and hold respect in the eyes of society. Science is a pillar of our world as all of our advancement as a society is dependent upon scientists and their research. It’s hard to know how successful one can be as a research scientist because each position is so individualized. The good thing is that after obtaining a PhD, scientists can make between $80,000 and $150,000 (contingent upon their experience and area of expertise). Read more here. Becoming a university professor is much harder to do, – tenure track, research, teaching is a lot to handle. If you can make it work, being a university professor is highly advantageous. Professors make a good salary, and it’s a stable profession no matter what the job market is doing. 

These paths are not the only ones available to you. These types of degrees, however, are proven to improve your career prospects and they’re well worth the time put in to achieve them. If you love research, studying, and/or you’re fascinated by a particular field of study, consider obtaining a Master’s degree or Doctor of Philosophy after completing your Bachelor’s degree. 

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