A graduate degree can help you move up the corporate ladder or increase your pay level. It can refresh and rejuvenate your career with new ideas, skills and knowledge — and open doors to new opportunities. And those are all great reasons for getting your master’s or doctorate degree.

Here are five examples of how — and why — an advanced degree can help you advance in your field:

1. Learn More
Going to graduate school allows you to build knowledge and insights about a specific topic or industry. You’ll work with faculty who bring new knowledge (through research) to the classroom and share the latest innovations in your field. They can help you keep up with emerging trends and technology, and give you an opportunity to learn from other professionals in your class. And that can take you to a whole new level in your career.

2. Change Careers
Hoping to step toward another career path? There are times when you want to start a new career that’s different from your current work background — and a master’s degree can help you accomplish that.

For example, if you’re an emergency nurse but eventually you want to specialize in women and children’s behavioral health, you may want to look for options like a master’s degree in clinical or school counseling. A master’s or doctoral degree can build on your experience, constructing a whole new career out of what you love most about your field.

Interests can change over time and a master’s degree can take you in a different direction. You may be a scientist who wants to go from the lab to the classroom or a physical education teacher who wants to help cancer patients feel better through exercise.

3. Earn More
You love your field, but you don’t love your salary. With a master’s degree, your value in the workforce will increase — and so will your salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with master’s degrees earn a median annual salary of about $69,100, while those with only bachelor’s degrees earn about $57,600.

4. Be Promoted
If you’ve been eyeing a promotion for quite some time now, a master’s degree may give you an edge. Senior management positions in almost all companies require an advanced degree, according to Brian D. Kelley, Chief Information Officer at Portage County Information Technology Services.

In a CareerBuilder survey, employers said that advanced degrees help boost the employee’s chance of getting promoted down the road. That’s because employers have seen education make a positive impact across the board, from an employees’ ability to produce better quality work, to higher productivity and the ability to boost customer loyalty.

5. Teach
A master’s degree can also expand employment opportunities. Specifically, it can lead to a teaching position at a university or college. An advanced degree is a requirement for teaching positions in higher education.

Teaching at the college level is not only an additional source of income, but also another way to share your knowledge and expertise with future generations. Your experience and your depth of education will help you become a leader and a mentor.

Of course, there are many ways that a master’s or doctorate can change your life or help you take your career to a new level. Do you know other ways a graduate degree can give you a career break? Share them in the comments section below.

Ready to start exploring a master’s or doctoral program? Visit our website for a list of more than 100 opportunities that can take you anywhere you want to go.