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Is the Master’s the New Bachelor’s?

A man gives a presentation at a conference table

Stats suggest it is. Advanced education makes a clear, positive impact on productivity, communication skills and innovation.

That’s because jobs now require increased levels of specialized knowledge and skills not always covered in undergraduate study.

The number of master’s degrees conferred by U.S. institutions has risen dramatically since 1980, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 1979–80, 305,000 master’s degrees were awarded, compared to 786,000 in 2015–16, an increase of 158 percent.

The New York Times recently reported that two out of 25 Americans ages 25 or older hold master’s degrees, roughly the same proportion of those who held bachelor’s degrees or higher in 1960.

That’s useful information for job seekers. For its 2017 national survey, Career Builder surveyed 2,300 hiring managers in industries spanning the private sector. Twenty-seven percent said they recruited candidates with master’s degrees for positions that used to require bachelor’s degrees, and 37 percent hire grads with bachelor’s degrees for jobs once attainable with high school diplomas.

Advanced education makes a clear, positive impact on productivity, communication skills and innovation. That’s because jobs now require increased levels of specialized knowledge and skills not always covered in undergraduate study. Filtering applicants by education level is, for the most part, a sorting system for hiring managers bombarded with résumés.

But how can prospective students afford these advanced degrees? Those that choose Wilmington University do so because of its commitment to keeping higher education affordable, accessible, flexible and convenient. WilmU also offers numerous accelerated degree programs that allow students to fulfill bachelor’s degree electives with master’s-level courses relevant to their programs of study. They save time and money because tuition is charged by degree level, not course level. It’s a smart way to get ahead without breaking the bank.

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