As a recent college graduate, I can relate to William Klein. Klein recently graduated from the College at Brockport, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. Shortly after graduating, Klein moved back in with his parents and returned to his high school job, serving tables for $7.25/hour. It’s not that Klein did not look for another job or that he didn’t apply for these jobs. The problem is that these employers did not think that Klein had enough education and needed to get a master’s degree before they would consider hiring him.
Long gone are the days when a bachelor’s degree was enough education to get your foot in the door at a prestigious job. Instead, the master’s degree has become the newest ticket you will need to ride the ride.
Some are calling this new trend credential inflation, but whatever you call it, there is no denying the fact that more and more people are pursuing a master’s degree in order to get a job. In 2009, 657,000 master’s degrees were awarded; this number has doubled since the 1980s and has increased even more substantially in the past few years.
“Several years ago it became very clear to use that master’s education was moving very rapidly to become the entry degree in many professions,” said Debra Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. Stewart thinks this is due to the pact that a master’s degree allows students to study more specific subjects, therefore becoming experts in their degrees.
Obviously, it makes sense that students are studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) would need a higher level of education to become more specialized in their fields. However, they are not the only ones who are experiencing credential inflation: even humanities departments are seeing the importance of applied degrees and the importance of an even higher education.
“There is a trend toward thinking about professionalizing degrees,” said Carol Lynch. Lynch is the director of professional master’s programs at the Council of Graduate Schools. “At some point you need to get out of the library and out into the real world. If you are not giving people the skills to do that, we are not doing our job.”
It’s true that students do need to get out into the real world at some point, and in the past, that point was as soon as they earned their bachelor’s degrees. Personally, I was very thrilled with the idea of never having to study for a final exam every again. However, if this new trend continues, it looks like my fellow recent graduates and myself will be putting our school colors back on and hitting the books for at least another two years.
Via The New York Times
What’s Your Bachelor’s Degree Worth?