In today’s world, engineers are needed more than ever.
Moving forward, they will help to address and solve a variety of problems, from climate change to building new infrastructure for future generations.
With engineers, the world is a better place – which is why their education is so important.
Typically, the road to becoming an engineer is as follows:
- Earn a BA degree in engineering from a university
- Gain work experience
- Become a full-time engineer
This is a tried and tested formulae that have led to millions of engineers going on to have successful and fulfilling careers.
However, in the modern age, it’s now recommended that you also study for a master’s degree in engineering. There are lots of different reasons why this will benefit you – and this guide is going to explain them in full detail.
As soon as you’re ready, grab a notepad and pen so that we can run through 10 of the best reasons to study for a master’s in engineering.
1. Develop Your Skills, From Management to Problem Solving
Typically, a master’s degree is any subject that will teach you additional skills and knowledge that weren’t taught at BA level – and engineering master’s are no different.
For example, if you decide to study an online masters degree in engineering management, you’ll be able to take your management skills to a new level. This will then equip me with the know-how regarding how to lead engineering teams in the future, enabling excellent career progression.
What Do I Need to Study for a Master’s in Engineering?
Each university is different when it comes to its requirements. However, more often than not, you will need:
- Work experience in the field of engineering
- An engineering-related bachelor’s degree
In addition to this, it’s also common for universities to request letters of recommendation from work colleagues and peers that you know.
What’s The Main Difference Between a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Engineering?
This is a very popular question on Google that people search for on a daily basis.
The answer is simple: with a bachelor’s degree, you gain a general understanding of engineering with a slight focus on specialist areas. With a master’s degree, you go more in-depth surrounding specialist areas (such as environmental engineering) while also learning how to lead a team of engineers. Essentially, you become much more equipped for a prosperous career.
On-Campus vs. Online Master’s – Which is Better?
When it comes to choosing a master’s in engineering, you can either study on-campus or online (for example, the master’s degree in engineering management above is online-based).
Of course, choosing between the two methods of study can be difficult – especially in the modern age.
The good news is that both come with benefits.
If you opt to choose an on-campus master’s degree, then you’ll be able to gain access to in-person teaching as well as campus resources, such as libraries and private workspaces.
On the other hand, if you choose an online master’s degree in engineering, you’ll be able to study from home around your own schedule. If you lead a busy life (e.g., you work for an existing engineering firm and are also raising a family), then the best choice for you is likely an online master’s.
It’s also worth noting that online learning (also known as eLearning) is becoming increasingly popular throughout the US, particularly with mature students who are on tighter schedules. Moving into the future, it’s entirely possible that the majority of master’s degrees will be taught online rather than in-person, primarily due to their convenience and the fact that it creates more opportunities for mature students further afield.
2. Command Higher Salaries
As a qualified engineer with a master’s degree, you’ll be able to command much higher salaries from future employers. If you’re someone who is highly ambitious and wants to experience financial security, this is something that will likely appeal to you.
According to the research by the employment website Monster, the average salary for a master’s degree in engineering is $110,000. This is significantly higher than the average salary for owning a BA in any engineering-related field, which is $91,010 in the US.
It’s also worth noting that the average salary for engineers with master’s degrees isn’t accounting for annual bonuses, which could take your salary well above $110,000.
So, if you’re a money-motivated individual with a passion for engineering and learning, it’s highly recommended that you study a master’s degree in engineering.
3. Experience Greater Job Security
During these tough economic times – where millions of individuals have lost their jobs – it’s understandable to want greater job security. After all, nobody wants to get laid off due to factors they can’t control.
Here’s the great news: people with master’s degrees have greater job security than those without. Employment in masters-level occupations is projected to grow by nearly 17% by 2026, which is the fastest of any education level. This is largely due to the competition levels in existing job markets, where more people than ever before have graduated with BA degrees. In the past, BA degrees were what set individuals apart from others – now, it seems as though master’s degrees are going to fill this spot.
Here’s an interesting statistic to take a look at:
This highlights that graduates are now going to need something else to set them apart from the rest of the pack, with master’s degrees being exactly this. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that more employers are demanding masters-level applicants for their jobs.
4. Choose From a Variety of Specialist Subject Areas
In the world of master’s degrees, there are lots of specialist engineering topics that you can choose from.
For example, many people decide to choose an engineering management master’s so that they can develop their leadership and motivational skills.
In other cases, people will choose civil engineering master’s degrees or environmental-based ones.
Essentially, there are lots of different specialist subject areas to choose from that will then lead you down specific, long-term career paths.
If you’re someone who is passionate about the environment and helping the planet, then perhaps an MSc in Environmental Engineering would be most suited to you. This way, you would learn about sustainable resource management, environmental analysis, water retreatment, and much more. In an age where there’s a high demand for environmental engineers, this is something you might want to keep in mind!
5. Network and Build Long-lasting Connections
By studying for a master’s in engineering, you will also be able to network and build long-lasting connections, which then helps to aid career growth.
Compared to BA programs, master’s degrees are usually significantly smaller in terms of student numbers. Naturally, this allows students a greater opportunity to network with their lecturers, peers, and guest speakers that come to do talks.
Plus, it’s also worth remembering that most universities will hold networking events for their master’s students to attend on-campus. Here, different engineering companies and firms will come to visit and provide advice to future master’s graduates. During these sessions, it’s not uncommon for students to exchange contact details with the managers and directors to arrange potential work placements.
So, if you’re lucky enough to enroll in a master’s engineering program, make sure to do as much networking as possible. Although it requires effort in the long term, it could lead to your dream role.
If you haven’t got one already, you’ll need to create a LinkedIn account, as this is where the vast majority of modern-day networking is done.
6. Boost Your Personal Development
Master’s degrees aren’t just about absorbing new knowledge – they’re also about personal development.
While studying an MSc in engineering, you’ll be able to develop your personality and professional outlook beyond belief. Specifically, you’ll improve key areas such as:
- Time management (as there will be lots of studying you’ll need to do for exams and coursework)
- Social skills (socializing and networking events are common during master’s programs)
By the end of your program – whether it’s for 1, 2, or 3 years – you’ll be a much better person than you were before. In turn, this increases your employability and will make you more attractive to potential employers.
7. Gain Access to Experienced Professors
When it comes to any master’s program, only the best professors are given the responsibility of teaching the students. Therefore, if you were to enroll in a master’s, you would immediately notice an increased quality in the delivery of the teaching. Remember, most master’s professors have direct experience within the engineering industry and aren’t just delivering you information from a textbook. Both before and during lectures and seminars, you will be able to communicate with them and ask as many questions as you like. Plus, more often than not, master’s professors will quickly respond to any email queries they receive from students, as they ultimately want you to achieve the best grades possible.
8. Lower Tuition Fees
Typically, most master’s programs charge lower tuition fees than BA programs. This is excellent, as it means students don’t have to worry about doubling or even tripling their existing student loans. Instead, they’re only adding a small percentage to the existing one. Plus, in some instances, you don’t need to pay off your master’s loan until you have successfully repaid your BA loan first.
According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of a master’s degree in the US is $66,340.
In contrast to this, the average cost of a bachelor’s degree in the US is $101,584.
Therefore, you can see that master’s programs (on average) are around one-third cheaper than BA alternatives.
9. Work Placements
Around the world, there are hundreds of different universities that offer master’s degrees in engineering.
Of course, individual modules and assessments often vary. However, a large percentage of these universities will offer work placement programs for students to undertake while they study – meaning they get the best of both worlds.
These work placements will typically be with established engineering firms within the industry. Although there is no long-term guarantee with these placements, they’re a great way to make an impression and create future contacts to use. Plus, if you do a great job during your work placement, there’s a good chance that they will offer you a full-time role upon your graduation from the master’s course.
If you’re eager to start a work placement while studying at the same time, it’s highly recommended that you find a university that offers a master’s degree with a joint work experience placement.
Additionally, you can also keep your eye out for master’s programs that offer work placements abroad, which will allow you to gain practical engineering experiences in other countries, such as across Europe and Asia.
10. Improve Your Résumé
Last but not least, a master’s degree in engineering can drastically improve your résumé – which won’t go unnoticed by potential employers.
Whether you apply for jobs online or through word-of-mouth referral, your master’s degree will help to distinguish you from other candidates who only have a BA in engineering. This means that you will have a much greater shot at landing your dream job, all because you dedicated an extra couple of years to studying!
Now that you’ve reached the end of this guide, you should now clearly understand the 10 best reasons to a study for a master’s in engineering.
No matter where you’re from or what age you are, it’s possible for anyone to study for a master’s in engineering, providing they have a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
By doing this, it’s a great way to improve your long-term career prospects, from the companies you work for to how much money you make annually.
Best of all, master’s degrees don’t require you to take out loans as large as bachelor’s ones, meaning you don’t have to worry about doubling your existing debt.
Good luck with your decision – and make sure to choose a university that’s right for you.