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Maybe you’ve always wanted to further your education past undergrad because of your love for learning — or perhaps a challenging job market has you considering your options. Should you go to grad school?
The benefits of a master’s degree are many — but is the effort and price tag worth it? Here are the factors you should consider when deciding whether you should attend grad school.
Should You Go to Grad School? The Pros and Cons
When making any decision, you need to weigh the pros and cons. When you’re asking yourself whether you should go to grad school, start by evaluating the factors that make you hesitate to determine if a master’s degree is worth it:
- Are you unsure what you want to do? If you recently graduated with your bachelor’s and don’t know what you want to do, think twice before shelling out for a degree about which you feel less than passionate. If you take out loans, you’ll have to pay the money back eventually, even if you never become a lawyer or psychologist.
- Is someone else pressuring you? Sometimes, outsiders exert significant pressure on you to follow the path they think you should walk. But your future belongs to you alone, and if you don’t like that course, you have the right to choose another.
- Are you avoiding the job market? The market is admittedly tough right now. However, fear of not finding work shouldn’t drive you to attend graduate school if you don’t feel passionate about your field or have to go into debt to fund it. With time and dedication, you can find a job you love — and your employer may foot the bill for your pursuits.
These are a few of the wrong reasons to go to grad school — but if you’ve always had a dream of a Master’s or you’re passionate about what you want to study, then you absolutely should pursue your graduate education. One of the benefits of a master’s degree is that it enables you to become a recognized expert in your field. Even before you earn a Ph.D., you can take on supervisory roles, build your reputation and break into professional academia.
5 Benefits of a Master’s Degree
Maybe you have a passion for your field, but you remain on the fence about whether the benefits of attending grad school outweigh the costs. Before you shelf your dream of furthering your education, consider the following factors to see if a master’s degree is worth it. A grad degree can help you:
1. Gain More Opportunities
If you hope to move into senior management or leadership positions, a master’s degree can help you attain this goal. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 38% of employers raised their educational requirements in recent years, and 33% now prefer an advanced degree for roles they used to reserve for those with bachelor’s degrees.
2. Achieve Higher Earning Power
In fields such as education, your salary depends upon your years of tenure and educational level. While only time can accumulate the former, giving yourself a raise is a significant benefit of a master’s degree.
3. Explore More Fields
You also have more flexibility with a master’s degree. For example, if you’re pursuing a social work career, you may only be able to score therapeutic support roles if you stay at the bachelor’s level. If you want to move into case management or crisis intervention, you must advance your education.
4. Grow Your Knowledge Base
It’s not the most frequently mentioned reason for attending graduate school, but there’s a case for knowledge for knowledge’s sake — as much as an overwhelmed undergrad student might think that’s a far-fetched idea.
Once you’re out in the workforce for a bit, you might find that you miss the mental challenge and personal growth of academic learning — and you might have a desire to keep learning more. A master’s degree is absolutely worth it if you crave digging your teeth into challenging and mind-expanding material.
5. Expand Into Academia
Finally, when deciding whether you should go to grad school, you need a master’s degree or higher if you hope to teach at the college level. Do keep in mind that most positions are adjunct, meaning they won’t often replace a full-time salary. Nevertheless, such roles can pad your salary considerably while leading to academic prestige and a reputation as a recognized expert in your field.
Should You Go to Grad School? Only You Can Decide If a Master’s Degree Is Worth It
Should you go to grad school? It’s a personal choice only you have the answer to. With some careful thought, you can decide if the benefits of a master’s degree are worth it to your career aspirations — and your life.