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5 Reasons to Earn a Master's Degree in Engineering

masters degree in engineering career

Today, we are facing a variety of existing and emerging challenges that engineers are being called to address — from climate change to infrastructure instability, from health care needs to food insecurity.

Engineers must embrace and nurture a spirit of compassion and innovation in order to develop and implement solutions to these critical challenges.

Each year, thousands of ambitious and driven engineers (just like you) enter the workforce with the desire to secure a meaningful career. And the number of skilled engineers seeking employment is projected to grow.

Is a Master's in Engineering Worth it? 

As the engineering landscape becomes increasingly competitive, more and more engineers are choosing to obtain graduate-level credentials to differentiate themselves. Research shows that obtaining a master’s degree in engineering helps you to “keep your skills fresh” and prepares you to “address not just the problems facing your industry today but those that are bound to come up in the future.” 

In other words, a master's degree in engineering will make you a valuable asset to any team, especially amidst the growing competition in the field. 

Download Vanderbilt University’s graduate engineering degree guide to learn  more about obtaining a master's degree in engineering that will prepare you to  transform the field.

VU Graduate Engineering eBook Cover-1

Let’s discuss just five of the reasons you should consider obtaining a master’s degree in engineering:

1. You will have the ability to command a higher salary upon hire.

On average, engineers who achieve a master’s degree in engineering make thousands more upon hire compared to engineers who only hold a bachelor’s degree. For instance, engineers hired with a four-year degree make an average annual salary of about $91,000, while engineers with a graduate degree earn an average annual salary of about $99,000 — a difference of about $8,000 per year.

Note: Interested in learning about job outlook? Check out our blog article, "What is the 10-Year Engineering Job Outlook?"

2. You will experience more career advancement opportunities. 

In addition to the ability to command a higher salary upon hire, engineers who hold an engineering graduate degree also qualify for more job opportunities. A graduate engineering degree will make you more competitive for upper-level leadership roles and managerial-level positions, in turn expanding the types of engineering careers available to you.

Note: Check out a couple of our blog posts that discuss specific engineering careers: "7 Types of Engineering Careers in Surgery and Intervention" and "7 Engineering Careers in Construction Management." 

3. You will develop meaningful networking connections.

In addition to boosting your professional opportunities, graduate school is a time to build lasting connections. In general, graduate programs are significantly smaller than undergraduate programs, which gives you the opportunity to develop close relationships with your professors and fellow graduate students.

The network you build in graduate school can become a helpful resource throughout your career. Attending a graduate school with a strong alumni network can also benefit your career search. 

4. You will increase your level of job security (even during economic instability).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in careers requiring a master’s degree is expected to increase by almost 17 percent by 2026 — the fastest of any education level. Even during periods of economic stability, candidates holding a master’s degree are more likely to find and maintain employment. A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrates that jobs that require a master's degree will grow faster than jobs requiring bachelor's, associate and especially high school degrees.

5. You will make yourself more competitive with specialized skill sets.

In order to make yourself indispensable to employers, you need fine-tuned skills in a specific area of engineering. By choosing to go to graduate school, you have the opportunity to focus your coursework on a particular area of engineering that appeals to you.

Whether you are passionate about biomedical, electrical, civil, chemical or environmental engineering, a graduate degree will equip you with the sought-after skills needed to transform your specific industry. 

Note: Not sure which master's degree in engineering is right for you? Read our blog: "Top 10 Graduate Engineering Degrees to Consider in 2025."

Why you should achieve your graduate engineering degree at Vanderbilt University School of Engineering:

  • What sets Vanderbilt School of Engineering apart from other institutions offering similar engineering graduate programs? 
  • How do we ensure that our graduate engineering students are prepared to secure a meaningful career?
  • Why pursue a graduate degree with the Vanderbilt engineering community

Fueled by a culture of compassion and excellence, we employ renowned field experts to design a rigorous and compelling engineering curriculum, we ensure that all graduate engineering students secure a paid internship prior to graduation and we foster a tight-knit community that is conducive to collaboration, inclusivity and knowledge-sharing. 

At Vanderbilt University School of Engineering, we are committed to equipping future engineering thought leaders with the skills and tools needed to envision engineering solutions and ultimately, drive positive change in the world. 

Vanderbilt University mission statement

For more information on our other graduate engineering programs, visit our website pages:

We hope you take a moment to explore the variety of master of engineering and master of science degrees we offer at Vanderbilt School of Engineering. Or, if you are ready to take the first step in securing a lifelong, successful career in the field of engineering, we invite you to request more information or start your online application today. 

We look forward to preparing you to land your dream career in the engineering field!

VU Graduate Engineering eBook Cover-1

Discover the value of obtaining a master's degree in engineering. Download Vanderbilt University’s graduate engineering degree guide today!

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