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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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.
Information advertised valid as of 9/24/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
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3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.
4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.83% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.87% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.83% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.77% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.98% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.94% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 11.26% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.87% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 10/02/2020. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).
6 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.
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Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.17% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.