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Master's degrees in applied sciences tied to higher income

Polytech students, especially women, who earn higher degrees tend to earn significantly more after graduation.

Turun amk:n Salon yksikkö
Students at the Turku University of Applied Sciences' IoT Campus in Salo (file photo). Image: Lassi Lähteenmäki / Yle

A master's degree from one of Finland's universities of applied sciences can raise an employee's salary by thousands of euros, according to a report released by the Labour Institute for Economic Research (PT) on Tuesday.

"Our research indicates that five years after beginning master's studies, the participants' [average annual] wage income was about 2,900 euros higher than that of a control group," says Professor Petri Böckerman of the University of Jyväskylä, who is also a research economist at the PT. The study compared vocational master's students to vocational bachelor's recipients who did not attend vocational master's programmes over the course of several years.

Abbreviated as YAMK in Finnish, such degree programmes, also known as vocational master's degrees, are offered by Finnish universities of applied sciences (also known as polytechnics or AMKs) to students who already hold polytechnic bachelor's degrees.

More impact in health and social services

Over the short term, the benefit of a master's degree is significantly higher in the health and social services branch than in business or technical fields, the researchers say.

Meanwhile women with such degrees tend to see a bigger bump in wages than men.

Finnish universities of applied sciences have granted master's degrees since 2004. Since then the number bestowed annually has grown steadily to the current level of around 3,000.

The study was bankrolled by the state-funded Academy of Finland. Most of the PT’s permanent funding comes from the SAK, STTK and Akava trade union confederations.

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