Depending on your career path, a master’s degree can open doors and help you climb the corporate ladder. It can also help you earn more money and build your professional reputation.
But getting a master’s degree isn’t necessary for everyone. Before you apply to a program, find out whether or not a master’s degree is worth your time and money.
Then ask yourself, “Is grad school worth it?”
In some fields, a master’s degree is not really necessary. And, it will only give you more student loan debt. Look at the entire return on investment (ROI) a degree would give you.
Should I get a master’s degree?
When you are looking at graduate school programs and planning your academic future, consider your potential salary, employability, and the cost of a master’s degree.
Then, compare the cost of graduate school–and student loan interest–with the boost in salary it may give you to decide if grad school is a good idea.
One of the biggest factors to consider when determining “is grad school worth it?” is salary.
In some industries, a master’s degree may increase your chances of getting hired, but will not impact your earnings. In others, a master’s degree can translate to a huge bump in income.
Payscale, a site that compiles self-reported data, has an in-depth salary database. You can find out what people in your role make in your region, and how much a graduate degree can affect your salary.
It’s a useful resource for determining if another degree will boost your earning potential or not.
Additionally, if you are looking to work at a larger company, check out Glassdoor. You can find out how much more those with a master’s degree make than their co-workers with only a bachelor’s.
From PayScale and Glassdoor’s data, you can see that a master’s in science, technology, or engineering usually results in a much higher starting salary.
By contrast, if you plan on entering marketing or advertising, a master’s degree has a negligible effect on your earnings. And if you plan on working in the latter fields, a master’s may not be necessary.
While a salary number can be a helpful indicator if a master’s degree is worth it, it’s not the only factor you should consider.
In some fields, open positions are rare and far-between. People in certain jobs may be paid well, but breaking into that industry may be incredibly difficult.
To find out what your chances are of finding a job and earning a good salary, review your field’s employability data with the following tools.
Also, take a look at an interactive report the Federal Reserve Bank of New York put together called the “Labor Market for Recent College Graduates.”
This report outlines unemployment information by industry, underemployment data, starting salaries, and mid-career income. It also highlights how many people in the industry have a master’s degree.
All of this information can help you determine your likelihood of finding a job and gauging what your income may be as you climb the corporate ladder.
Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers job growth projections to see what industries can expect growth or decline over the next ten years.
This information can help you see what fields need a graduate degree for an extra edge. And, which fields a master’s degree may be unnecessary.
In fact, there are some careers where a master’s degree can even be a detriment.
Since a master’s degree is often associated with higher income, companies will deliberately pass over candidates with graduate school on their resume because they would have to pay them more.
Therefore, carefully consider market conditions before enrolling in school.
Cost of program
On average, a year in a university’s graduate program will cost about $30,000 at a public school and close to $40,000 at a private one.
Keep in mind that the cost of a master’s degree is dependent on a range of factors, such as your program, location, and selected school.
Before enrolling, ask how many students graduate within two years and how many need more than that to complete the program.
If most students need an extra semester, that will indicate that you may need to budget for another year of school expenses. And, that added cost may offset the benefits of a master’s degree. That’s why program completion is a major factor to consider.
Is grad school worth it?
There are many different factors to keep in mind when deciding, “Is grad school worth it?”
While a master’s degree can increase your chances of landing a good job and a larger income, it is not necessary for all industries or career paths.
If you can get a degree at a school at a fraction of the cost, thanks to a scholarship or your employer, then getting your master’s can be a smart decision.
But if you have to enroll in a costly program for only a modest bump in income, it may not be worth the expense and time.
At the end of the day consider all factors and use the tools listed above to determine the return on investment for a master’s degree. Then you’ll finally have your answer to that burning question.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
|1 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 11/1/2018. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
2 Important Disclosures for Discover.
3 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for PNC.
PNC Bank is one of the nation’s largest education loan providers. For over 40 years, PNC has been committed to helping students and their families make possible the adventure of college.
6 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
9 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.94% – 12.78%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.04% – 13.04%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.34% – 12.99%2||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.12% – 10.98%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.03% – 11.23%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.12% – 13.13%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.92% – 10.01%7||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.72% – 9.68%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.26% – 12.13%9||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|