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Why a Graduate Degree?

Obtaining a master's degree can be a challenging task, but it can be a worthwhile endeavor. The master of arts and the master of science are the two most common types of master's degrees offered among American universities. The benefits of obtaining a master's degree can vary according to the discipline your degree is in.

Higher Pay
In most professions, obtaining a master’s degree can lead to a higher rate of pay or a bigger salary. A 2003, article published by Salary.com noted the disparity between bachelor's degree earners and those holding a master's degree. Those with a bachelor's degree earned a median annual salary of $43,000, while those holding a master's degree made $53,000. Similarly, World Wide Learn noted that over a working lifespan of 40 years, the average master's degree holder will make about $400,000 more throughout his or her lifetime. The amount of money you make can also be dependent upon your job function in the field as well. Some of the more common fields where you can expect greater pay include teaching and even government jobs where your pay grade can be directly related to your education and experience.

Greater Expertise
Another advantage of obtaining a master's degree is the level of expertise you will gain on a subject. In some cases, this can lead to greater responsibility. A master's degree indicates that you have achieved a level of knowledge over and above the average person, even someone with a bachelor's degree in the subject. This alone can give you an advantage in certain job markets where greater specialized knowledge may be needed. Interior design is a common field where specialized technical, research, or theory knowledge can prove to be beneficial. Interior designers with greater expertise may be more likely to obtain a position if competing with others in the same field who only hold a bachelor's degree. There are 177 undergraduate interior design programs (of approximately 450) that are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. With the rigorous standards mandated by CIDA, many programs find it hard to include all requirements in the undergraduate curriculum.

There are more than 62 graduate programs in interior design of which 16 of them offer a PhD program. There is a high demand for teachers at higher education. Universities always looking for teachers and since majority of interior designers choose to pursue a graduate degree, the competition among universities to hire contract or tenure track in interior design is high.

Doctoral Preparation
A third benefit to obtaining a master's degree is that it can prepare you for doctoral studies in the same field, or one that is closely related. While it is not absolutely necessary to obtain a master's degree before moving on to a doctoral program, it can be helpful. A master's degree can provide you a higher level of knowledge, which can be used at the doctoral level. Most master's degree programs require a master's thesis or a significant project of some type. Completing a thesis can be good practice for a doctoral dissertation. A great advantage of obtaining a PhD is that most likely you will get a teaching or research assistantship which will pay the cost of living and your tuition.

Online and Distance Education
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Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

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