Is a Masters Degree the Right Option for You Now?

5 Questions That Will Guide Your Decision

Imagine this: An enthusiastic young student, just completed his undergraduate studies in business administration, and very excited to be graduating soon and joining the world of work.

Armed with a first-class degree, you are now trying to figure out your next steps.

Does this begin to sound someone like you? Possibly, you have decided to pursue a Masters degree immediately – but is this a worthwhile venture?

What is a ‘master’s degree?

Today, in many countries, the value of the conventional 3-year undergraduate degrees is slowly diminishing and pursuing a ‘Master’s degree is attractive.

A master’s degree is a graduate study either taught or research-based and taken after your undergraduate studies.

Just dedicate between one and two years, and you’re only going to be able to do your first degree linked MA, MSc or MRes.

After two or three years, you will be a ‘Master’s degree holder, adding to your academic accomplishments. And then what?

Think profoundly about what motivates you before embarking on a ‘master’s degree. Studying for a masters degree is a significant decision that deserves more reflection.

Here are five useful questions that you should ask yourself before deciding on whether or not to pursue a ‘master’s degree.

  1. Do You need a ‘Master’s Degree to achieve short terms of job prospects and advance your career?

Before leaping into the ‘master’s degree class, spend some time figuring out what impact will a ‘master’s degree have on your job prospects and career goals. If a ‘master’s degree is the primary key to the kind of job you want, then it is time to enrol for your postgraduate studies now.

Sometimes you’re going to study for a master’s degree to prepare for a specific career path. For instance, if you want to become a media consultant, but your undergraduate studies are unrelated to this field, pursuing a ‘master’s degree will be worth your efforts.

While educational requirements can for particular employment are optional, some jobs, such as speech-language pathologists, biomedical technicians, and information researchers, require a master’s degree, no exceptions.

Likewise, an appropriate master’s degree will be a bonus if you decide to pursue a profession that places great emphasis on academic capacities, such as becoming a human rights barrister.

According to JoAnna Williamson, chairperson of the US Based Franklin University department of management and marketing, “Having a graduate degree is not about what career opportunities will come to you, ‘it’s about what opportunities you will seek.”

The kind of impact you want is whether the ‘master’s degree will:

  • Build new relationships.
  • Bring you a promotion.
  • Advance your career growth.
  • Unlock new job opportunities.

    What Financial benefits will you reap from having a Masters degree?

CareerCoLabs Chief Executive Officer Dr Kristen Tolbert says. “It is essential to be very evident as to why you are going to graduate school and assess the advantages relative to the investment.” In terms of investment, Masters degrees are expensive both in times of cost and time. Even if you are already working, you will need some time off work to carry out your research, write your thesis and also engage in discussions with your peers. At the same time, you will need to fork out some of your earnings to pay for the degree.

So the question is: Are you merely sowing your money, or reaping more it?

If your motivation for enrolling into graduate studies is to acquire new skills, become more marketable in a highly competitive job market and earn more money, then that sounds a good investment.

But remember that Dr Tolbert says “The degree in itself does not guarantee a job or professional advancement.” Tolbert cautions that: “For many employers, experience and skill far outweigh the degree.”

You could also enrol for targeted courses that focus solely on your career goals and are cheaper in terms of cost and time.

Check out ‘Mic’s guide to courses that you can take to boost your pay, without necessarily doing a ‘master’s degree.

  • How much will graduate studies cost?

A ‘master’s degree is not something to take out of excitement or following the trends. You need to decide if it’s the correct choice for you and finding the ideal course that fits within your income is crucial.

According to the FinAid.org website, the average cost of a master’s degree for students is between $30,000 and $120,000. The cost varies depending on the university and the master’s program itself.

Studying for a masters degree is a substantial investment, so make sure it’s going to pay off.

In most cases, you will have to finance your graduate studies for a ‘Master’s degree, and this is no mean feat.

To find out how much a ‘master’s degree costs;

  • Speak to individuals who have enrolled for studies
  • Find out what positions they hold in the workforce
  • Ask whether they feel that graduate studies are having an impact on their job status
  • Contact careers services, or professional bodies for advice.

Your findings should help you evaluate whether or not a ‘master’s degree is worth your investment. You should, therefore, be relatively confident that the money you invest will reap you some profits.

  • What professional opportunities will I get?

Do you have an eye on a specific graduate course? It is essential to evaluate how many professional opportunities will result from your decision to spend some time studying the course.

Unless your professional objectives are crystal evident, at this stage, it may be more useful to spend some time in the workplace while taking a gap year.

If you want to find out what professional opportunities are there for you, take a look at the alumni network, and that will give you a clear picture of what you can expect from the graduate course.

  • Will I be able to work while studying for a ‘master’s degree? 

Many people have decided to enrol for graduate studies while also working. But this can be tough, especially if your workplace does not offer flexible study leaves.

Balancing work schedules and studies require practical time-management abilities and support from your employer. It is essential to understand that earning your master’s degree is an enormous commitment that also requires significant efforts.

If you find it challenging to balance work and studies, then you may consider either enrolling for your masters online or joining the weekend programs, designed for the working group.

Conclusion

Whether you decide to obtain a master’s degree or not, you need to foster your career. Recruiters are looking for people like you, to fill top employment with skilled applicants.

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