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.
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|* 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.
1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.
Information advertised valid as of 7/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).
5 Important Disclosures for Citizens.
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.
©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
* Offer valid for new Custom Choice Loans for which applications are submitted for a credit decision between 12:00:00am EST on June 1, 2019 and 11:59:59pm EST on August 31, 2019. A 0.50% interest rate reduction will be included in the loan options presented to an applicant during the online application process, upon passing the initial credit review. The interest rate reduction will be applied as of the first disbursement date and will be effective for the life of the loan.
7 Important Disclosures for PNC.
Fixed Annual Percentage Rates (APRs): APRs range from 4.52% to 9.58% for a 5-year term. APRs range from 5.05% to 10.26% for a 10-year term. APRs range from 5.55% to 10.84% for a 15-year term. Fixed rates are based on the creditworthiness of the borrower and co-signer, if any. Loan Payment Example: The monthly payment per $10,000 borrowed at a fixed rate range of 5.05% APR to 10.26% APR for 10 years means you would make 120 payments which may range from $131.94 to $207.24. For the fixed rate loan, the monthly payment will remain fixed for the term of the loan. Payments may vary for other repayment term options.
Variable Annual Percentage Rates (APRs): APRs range from 4.90% to 9.92% for a 5-year term. APRs range from 5.38% to 10.57% for a 10-year term. APRs range from 5.85% to 11.11% for a 15-year term. Variable rates are based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index plus a margin depending on the creditworthiness of the borrower and co-signer, if any. The LIBOR index, adjusted quarterly, is equal to the average of the one-month LIBOR rates as published in the “Money Rates” section of the Wall Street Journal on the first business day of each of the three (3) calendar months immediately preceding each quarterly adjustment date. The LIBOR index is currently 2.47%. If the index increases or decreases, your rate will increase or decrease accordingly. Loan Payment Example: The monthly payment per $10,000 borrowed at a variable rate range of 5.38% APR to 10.57% APR for 10 years means you would make 120 payments which may range from $135.93 to $212.65. For the variable rate loan, the monthly payment may increase or decrease if the interest rate increases or decreases. Payments may vary for other repayment term options.
APRs and loan payment examples are for the fully deferred repayment option for the Undergraduate & Graduate loan programs and include the 0.50% interest rate discount for automatic payments. The lowest APR is available to well qualified applicants. Your actual APR will be based on your credit qualifications, selection of fixed or variable rate option, loan program, repayment term, repayment option and whether you elect the automatic payment feature. Loan payment examples assume 30 days to first payment after the deferment period (45 months in school and 6 month grace period). Payments vary for other rates, repayment terms and repayment options.
In addition to Undergraduate and Graduate loans, PNC offers loans for Health & Medical Professions, Health Professions Residency and Bar Study. Rates may vary by loan program and are subject to change at any time. Visit pnconcampus.com for current rates, additional loan payment examples and more details about the Solution loan products.
Please note: PNC reserves the right to modify or discontinue the terms of these program at any time without notice. You are encouraged to explore all scholarship, grant and federal borrowing options before applying for a private loan. Private loans are subject to credit approval.
PNC is a registered service mark of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
7 Important Disclosures for Discover.
Discover's lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.
|3.96% – 11.98%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|3.37% – 10.75%*,3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.35% – 11.44%2||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.66% – 9.64%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.36% – 11.62%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.14% – 10.68%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.90% – 11.11%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.37% – 11.87%7||Undergraduate and Graduate|