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.
(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 11/4/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
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3 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.
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.
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of December 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.70%. Variable interest rates range from 2.80% – 11.06% (2.80% – 10.91% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.72% – 12.19% (4.72% – 12.04% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.
Please Note: International Students are not eligible for the multi-year approval feature.
|2.84% – 10.97%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|2.87% – 10.75%*,2||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|2.80% – 11.37%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.52% – 9.50%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|2.80% – 11.06%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|