When you are feeling stagnant in your career, one option is to pursue an advanced degree, such as a Master's or PhD. Although these degrees are not guaranteed to help your career, there are several ways that they will make you a stronger candidate for many types of jobs. An advanced degree might be just what you need to jump to the next level in job satisfaction and fulfillment in your career. There are several ways in which continuing your education has the potential to benefit you.
Whereas an undergraduate education provides an introduction to your field, a graduate degree gives you much more specialized knowledge in that field. Many of the most important job positions require the specialized knowledge that you can't get in a few years of general education and introductory courses. As you dig deeper into your field while studying for a higher degree, you will gain knowledge that will prove to be useful in helping you stand out in future career opportunities.
If you are committed to your company and continue working your regular job while you study for your advanced degree, there is a decent chance you will be able to earn a promotion when you finish your education. As long as you keep producing results in your job while you study, your employer will be pleased by your commitment to the job and impressed by your hard work. This, along with the degree itself, makes you a more attractive employee next time a promotion is on the line.
As you work on your graduate degree, you will end up meeting many people in your field, whether they are fellow students, professors, mentors, or people in your current job who you get to work with on projects related to your classes. When you are done with your degree, this network of people can be very valuable in helping connect you to potential jobs that make use of your new education and experience.
Every job application has a section where you list your education. Being able to fill out one more line on that application listing your advanced degree can make you a more qualified employee for the position. However, there are a couple of caveats. First, the degree might not help you if it is in a field completely unrelated to the position you are applying for. Second, when faced with a tough market, you might find yourself applying for jobs that don't actually need the level of education you have attained. Some employers will turn you down because you are overqualified for the job, which can make it difficult for you to find appropriate work.
If nothing else, having another degree under your belt will increase your earning ability. It might not translate into higher wages right away, but statistics show that people with a Master's degree earn, on average, more than those who hold only a Bachelor's. The same is true for people with a doctorate when compared to people with only a Master's. If you continue your education early in your life, this gives you plenty of years in the future when you should be able to earn a higher wage, provided you find the right job.
As you can see, continuing your education has many potential benefits, although none of them are by any means guaranteed. Carefully evaluate your options to decide whether it is a good time to go back to school.