Deciding whether or not to attend graduate school can be difficult.
For some, it can be a financial decision more than anything else. Here is a cost benefit analysis for those trying to make the decision from a monetary point of view.
It’s Not for Everyone
Although some careers require a master’s degrees, there are several high-paying jobs that don’t. For example, many different types of engineers only need to obtain a bachelor’s degree before earning an average starting salary of $60,000 and higher — way higher, sometimes.
However, there are always options for master’s degrees in every major. Even engineers can go on to earn a Master of Engineering, which is rated as the third best master’s degree in terms of pay and demand. So there’s financial incentive to get a post-graduate degree in that instance, too.
When deciding if a master’s degree is right for you, make sure to consider the value of the master’s degree in relation to the cost. Consider the wage you would make without a master’s degree and how much you will make with one. Weigh the difference against how much money you would have to borrow in addition to any existing loans from previous investments.
Jobs That Require a Master’s Degree
Unlike engineering careers, there are other jobs that either require a master’s degree or greatly benefit from one.
While some careers, such as physician assistants require a master’s degree before starting, others, such as mental health counselors and teachers, can be more open ended. While requirements for teachers vary by state, many undergraduates can start teaching after receiving their bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate.
In some states, teachers can teach for five years before being required to have master’s degree; in others, K-12 teachers never require a master’s. Financially, of course, this will make a difference as college teachers earn higher salaries than K-12 school teachers.
Additionally, teachers face the reality of lower wages and paying off student debt. Of course, there are ways that teachers can get money for graduate school. Many other jobs offer the same variables, such as different salary ranges and varying state requirements, to consider when making the financial decision.
The Right Time for a Master’s Degree
You can think about the timing once you’ve made the decision to get a master’s degree. If you can get a job right away, you can work for a few years and then come back to school after you’ve saved up some money.
Another important factor to consider is that some employers will sponsor a graduate degree education. If you are not ready to jump into your master’s program right after your undergraduate education, you can work for a company that will help pay the tuition.
There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or when to go to graduate school. Although finance is a major factor, it is not the only one to think about when making the decision. Other factors include motivation to complete more years of school, passion for your career, and what you want to do with your life. Make sure to keep in mind what is best for you and your future.
- Gregory J. Privitera
- Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc
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- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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- Ten Speed Press
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