So, you’ve been thinking about going back to school. You already have a bachelors degree and are wondering if a graduate program will benefit you. I am here to tell you that yes, it often will.
First, earning a masters degree often makes more sense in terms of time. A student can finish a MS in an average of 2.5 years, where it may take up to 4 years to complete a second bachelors degree. Who has time for that? While saving time, a MS will allow you to also “upgrade” your degree, improve your professional position economically or in responsibility, and may give you greater flexibility in the marketplace. It also allows people with bachelor’s degrees to change your career entirely. For others, a MS is required to advance in their current company or department (such as management), or even teach in higher education (undergraduate level college courses). With that said, according to the 2011 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median monthly earnings of those with a Masters degree is $5,052 vs. the median monthly earnings of those with a bachelors degree, $4,212. Unemployment of those with a Masters degree is only 3.6%, vs the 4.9% of those with a bachelors degree. What does this tell us? Making a financial and time investment into a Masters Degree has both financial and employment benefits. Just looking at those statistics, the average person with a Masters degree is making 840$ more a month. That is an income of over 10,000$ more a year. Multiply that by how many years you have left to work. Sounds good, right?
Now let’s look at the emotional and human aspect of earning a Masters Degree. If the long-term investment into your future isn’t enough, we just have to look at one’s personal growth and confidence gained from advanced learning. The confidences built by knowing you have a specialized and advanced degree is surmount. A Masters Degree may elevate you among peer groups, allowing you greater accesses to opportunities in both your personal and career life. This opportunity will allow one to build professional working relationships with professors and industry professionals, which one would not have access to otherwise.A MS often provides one with a greater ability to network and establish contacts as well. The MS you have earned can be preparing you for a new career, a raise in pay, a promotion, and/or allow you access to jobs you have wanted, but were not qualified for. Have you considered your long-term personal and professional goals? Would an MS help you reach those goals?
Lastly, graduate school is not for everybody. One must truly be passionate about a subject matter they want to study and earn a degree in. By attending graduate school, you are positioning yourself to achieve mastery of a subject or discipline. This specialized academic course of study is intended to hone your professionalism in a specific area and develop mastery in a field. It is important to recognize and understand that the scope of focus, academically and intellectually, takes a greater commitment and motivation. You are not attending graduate school because you are bored. You are attending graduate school because you are excited about studying and researching a topic you are passionate about, you are excited that it will provide new career opportunities, and you are excited about this new experience.