In an uncertain and constantly changing economy, many new college graduates are asking themselves the question: Why earn my master’s degree? The answer may be simpler than you initially think.

Increased Earnings

Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that, in general, adults with a master’s degree tends to earn approximately 15 percent, or $8,000, per year more than their fellow students who stopped after earning their bachelor’s degree. When it comes to lifetime earnings, the figures are quite a bit more staggering. The Bureau reports that the holder of a master’s degree can expect to earn approximately $240,000 more over the course of 40 years than a bachelor’s degree recipient can. These numbers, when configured for potential lifetime earnings, end up in the $3 million range.

Though the coursework and time involved in pursuing and obtaining a master’s degree are certainly more extensive when compared to that of a bachelor’s program, the financial figures should be more than enough to convince anyone of the value behind the pursuit. However, if money isn’t exactly everything to you in life, there are other factors associated that you may wish to consider.

Better Job Prospects

Graduates with advanced degrees are much more likely to be considered for more promising positions with more prestigious employers. A master’s degree on your resume shows a potential employer that you not only possess the knowledge required to perform your duties well, but that you have exhibited consistent dedication to a cause that was important to you. Persistence is an admirable and much sought-after attribute in an employee. Your advanced degree speaks volumes about your character and your ability to stick with something and see it through to fruition.

Another reason that students are encouraged to pursue their master’s degree revolves around moving ahead in the workplace more rapidly after graduation. During the time you spend in school, you are repeatedly given the invaluable opportunity to forge professional connections and relationships that can go a long way toward acquiring the job you want. Letters of recommendation and professional endorsements from an accredited institution and its staff are exceptional resources to have when applying for a position with any company.

In today’s society, an overwhelming number of professional enterprises have begun to consider only applicants who possess a master’s degree. While a bachelor’s degree was, at one time, enough to usually secure a decent position with the firm of your choice, those times have essentially come and gone. The additional years and funds that it takes to obtain a master’s degree seem to pale in comparison to the employment accessibility and financial stability offered by having the degree itself.

The knowledge that, in the future, you will be financially secure, comfortable and in control of the direction your life takes, is truly invaluable. More than ever before, a master’s degree is key to long lasting and consistent success in the world following graduation, financially and otherwise.