Is a Master's Degree Worth the Investment?

Posted: November 18, 2020 | Author: Grace Thorkelson | Read Time: 4 minutes

Is a master's degree worth it?

For many students, four years of post-high school education and a bachelor’s degree is the end goal. Debt may have likely begun to accumulate, not to mention the fact that homework assignments, projects, and studying for tests is the last thing a recent graduate wants to be bothered with. On the other hand, though, a fair amount of students are ready to hit the ground running in their respective graduate programs. Applying for, attending, and financing a master’s degree can be a long and intimidating process. So, before you determine whether it is something you want to pursue, we encourage you to ask yourself a variety of questions that we will delve into below.

What is my Return on Investment?

Forbes suggests several questions to ask yourself when considering your educational and financial opportunities for the future

  • What is your current salary and how long is the program you would be potentially enrolling in?
  • Can you work part or full-time or even get a paid internship or assistantship during the program?
  • What would your starting salary be directly upon graduating?
  • How old are you? And, how long will you be in your profession?
  • What are interest rates currently at?
  • Would I qualify for financial aid and/or scholarships?

All of these questions are related to financial decisions students will have to weigh for themselves and their families. While these are all critical choices, taking other considerations and questions into account (personal, career, experience) are immensely important as well.

Is the Degree Required for my Career of Choice?

Many professions require a specific degree or certification in order to practice in a specific industry. For instance, lawyers must earn their degree from an accredited law school and pass the Bar examination for the respective state that they would like to practice in. Physical therapists must earn their Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education program, and thereafter pass the licensure exam for the state in which they reside. While the careers spoken of above all require certain graduate degrees, many professions do not. Many experts in the fields of marketing, public administration, management, information technology, education, construction, food services, and much more do not need a master’s degree in order to be successful or move up the ranks within their organization.

It is important for potential graduate students to research the details of their desired occupation to have a better understanding of what level of education is expected or required. Having more schooling is very likely to increase your income throughout the course of your career, but as previously mentioned, weighing out the return on your investment is critical.

Non-Career Related Benefits

The Best Schools believes that “your master’s degree is also an outstanding way to advance your knowledge and field experience, building on your bachelor’s degree program with a greater focus on current practice. With the speed at which today’s technology moves, whole courses of study become outdated almost overnight.”

Despite the fact that there are a variety of outstanding career benefits that come along with furthering your education with a master’s degree, learning for the sake of learning and improving yourself should not be undermined.

“I tell all the students that I work with that the master’s degree is in ways easier than your undergrad,” said Brett Lunceford, graduate recruiter and current Master of Professional Communication student at Southern Utah University. “It is because you are diving deeper into something that you care about. You can take each class and apply it to your current job or apply it to a future position that you want. When you start applying what you are learning the material makes a lot more sense and gives it more purpose.”

Not only will your schooling feel more relevant, but you will likely be much more passionate about it.

Despite the fact that we have discussed several monetary decisions you should pay attention to, don’t get caught up in only the financial aspects of this life-changing decision. Investing in yourself and your education is something that you will likely never regret.

Produced by SUU Graduate Studies

SUU's Graduate School draws from a prestigious heritage and allows students to pursue a quality education. The master's degree programs offer students the chance to further their professional and educational careers on campus or online.

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