Almost 100 years ago, the demand for secondary-level education massively increased because new well-paying jobs required workers with higher levels of technological, written, and quantitative skills. Meeting this demand played a critical role in America’s 20-century economic success.
Here we are a century later, experiencing a similar phenomenon—but at the graduate level.
The educational innovation taking place around forming and refining professional graduate programs has sprung directly from the workplace, meeting a demand for professionals with improved performance and productivity. Brand new fields are emerging around these professionals’ advanced knowledge.
As Sean Gallagher, Northeastern University’s chief strategy officer writes in Forbes.com, the most compelling educational innovations are taking place in graduate professional programs, as we strive to meet employers’ needs for the “problem solving, critical thinking, and technical skills that graduate-level education provides.”
How are professional degrees innovative? Here are four ways:
1. Elevating Standards
Of course, some fields require a graduate degree to allow you to practice (law, medicine) or to be recognized as a qualified professional (education, nursing.) But there are a growing number of fields that are elevating their standards, requiring higher-level and highly tailored competencies (homeland security, project management). If you’re considering entering these fields, you’ll need master’s degree-level credentials to be a strong candidate.
2. Preparing for Bigger Roles
Employers are also increasingly demanding that existing employees hold a master’s degree in order to move into a higher-level job in their fastest-growing professional and leadership roles. They’re looking for leaders with innovative degrees that will help their organization stay competitive in today’s complex, global economy.
3. Specific Skills
Taking the initiative to earn a professional degree demonstrates professionals’ tenacity, drive, and determination. And the resulting credentials attest to their ability to perform high-level tasks, solve complex problems, and communicate effectively.
4. Emphasis on Connections
Professional graduate programs provide students with the opportunity to network with other professionals and faculty from all over the world, who are at all stages of their careers. These networks are critical to ongoing professional development and career advancement.