Interested in engineering careers? Considering whether a master's in engineering will pay off is a crucial step in making an informed decision about your education and career. After all, getting an advanced degree, especially in engineering, often requires significant time and financial investment. So, by all means, explore the long-term perks of the degree before committing to it.
Read on to explore several important benefits of earning a master’s in engineering.
1. Advanced Skills Make You Stand Out in the Job Market
In the past 20 years, bachelor’s degrees have become common in the United States.1 Graduates who have earned master's degrees have set themselves apart from other candidates for attractive jobs.
According to 2021 statistics by the United States Census Bureau, 23.5% of people in their mid-twenties (and above) have a bachelor’s degree as their highest educational achievement. Only 14.4% of people aged 25 and older have advanced degrees.2
A Master of Engineering degree shows potential employers that you have deepened your knowledge in a complex area—an advantage that identifies you as a stronger, more qualified fit for a job than someone with an undergraduate education alone.
2. A Master’s Degree Unlocks Higher Earning Potential and Career Advancement
Engineering is a dynamic, growing specialty, and entry-level wages can be competitive even for those with just a bachelor’s degree. Getting a master's degree, however, can significantly increase your earning potential. According to the American worldwide employment website Indeed.com, a person with a master’s degree earns approximately 20% more than someone with only a bachelor’s degree.3
Further, while you may get hired with just a bachelor's degree, an online Master of Engineering prepares you for bigger, more lucrative career paths: jobs that come with additional responsibilities, greater authority, and a broader impact in the engineering industry.
Senior-level positions such as those in project management or as senior mechanical engineer or engineering manager, for example, typically require a master’s degree.4 Over time, the higher salary from these leadership careers could enable you to live where and as you please, pay your kids’ college tuition, and retire early.
3. Pursuing a Master of Engineering Expands Your Network
According to Forbes, most successful people largely attribute their success to strong networking channels they’ve built throughout the years.5 It’s not just about how many people you connect with, however, but the quality of individuals you network with and their importance in your career development.
Pursuing a master’s degree in engineering can be an ideal way to connect with like-minded people who can help you move up. You get a chance to build relationships with professors who can serve as mentors throughout your career. Fellow students with hands-on experience in specific fields can be potential employers or collaborators.
These networking opportunities are critical in your career advancement because they provide access to hidden job markets, where many positions are filled through referrals and personal connections. According to statistics posted on CNBC, 70% of all jobs are not advertised publicly on job sites, and about 80% are filled through professional and personal connections.6
With these figures in mind, hold on to the following two sayings: “Your network is your net worth.” and “It’s not just about what you know. It’s who you know.”
4. A Master’s in Engineering Program Develops Soft Skills
In addition to enhancing your technical skills, graduate programs in engineering instill essential soft skills, which can help you thrive and succeed in every part of your career. Examples of these skills include:7
- With effective communication skill, you can clearly convey complex ideas and technical plans to colleagues, executives, clients, and other key stakeholders
- Teamwork fosters creativity and innovation by encouraging your collaborators to share solutions and brainstorm new ideas together; according to Forbes, people who can effectively collaborate with others in a professional setting are more likely to achieve their career goals
- Time management skills sharpen your ability to set priorities correctly; individuals who manage their time effectively stand out in the workplace as they are seen to be more efficient and reliable
- Problem-solving skills prepare you to identify and address complex engineering challenges; critical and strategic thinking learned in a master’s program enable you to analyze complicated problems and determine the best courses of action
- Effective leadership involves setting a clear vision, communicating it effectively to your team, and building a culture of accountability; in today’s workplace, where most organizations put their employees in teams, leadership is a critical attribute for success
5. A Master’s Degree in Engineering Positions You for Doctoral Study
If you plan to pursue a Ph.D. in engineering, earning a graduate degree first can help you prepare. While you typically don’t need a master’s degree to pursue a higher degree in engineering, earning one familiarizes you with advanced postgraduate education.8
Not only does an advanced education strengthen your academic portfolio, it also demonstrates your dedication to engineering. The quest to get accepted into Ph.D. programs can be extremely competitive9 and this significant asset can impress the admission committee.
Sharpen Your Skills and Improve Your Job Outlook
Choose an online graduate program that hones the project management and analytical skills you need for long-term success. In the online Master of Engineering program at Case Western Reserve University, you’ll deepen your knowledge while enjoying the flexibility to study any time, from anywhere. Take advantage of the expert faculty’s vast research experience and benefit from professional support, including entrepreneurial opportunities through CWRU LaunchNet.
In addition to an online Master of Engineering, Case School of Engineering offers online Master of Science programs in:
Don’t wait to gain advanced knowledge that sets you apart as an ideal hiring choice. Contact an admissions outreach advisor to get started.
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from forbes.com/advisor/education/masters-in-mechanical-engineering/
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2022/educational-attainment.html
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/how-much-does-degree-increase-earnings
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from ca.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/masters-in-engineering
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/biancamillercole/2019/03/20/why-networking-should-be-at-the-core-of-your-career/?sh=3bb2b9681300
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from cnbc.com/2019/12/27/how-to-get-a-job-often-comes-down-to-one-elite-personal-asset.html
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from forbes.com/advisor/business/soft-skills-examples/
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/should-i-get-phd-in-engineering#
- Retrieved on September 9, 2023, from indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/benefits-of-earning-a-masters-degree