Education

Is a Master’s Degree Worth the Investment?

Some master’s degrees can leave students with $50,000, $100,000, or more in debt. The word on the street is that an advanced degree can land you a good job, but many people question whether a higher salary offsets the cost of tuition loans. However, the job market is difficult, and many employers require you to have the right education. A degree doesn’t guarantee you a particular job though, so you have to decide if the investment is worth it.

Master’s Degrees: Gateways to Higher Salaries, or Not

The truth is the salaries of people with master’s degrees vary. The spread is quite diverse, ranging from $121,000 as a median salary for an electrical engineer, according to PayScale.com, to a mean salary of $53,500 for a mid-career counselor. If you are looking to change jobs, pursuing a degree can open new doors. However, comparing the pay between your current position, and what may be the case in a new field after earning a degree, can be challenging.

Your interest in the program and the career potential you may find are things that should also be considered. There’s no sure bet financial security will happen if you get a master’s degree. That’s why you should keep working while you earn it. That’s not easy, but if you can make such an arrangement, it can help in the interim. If things don’t work out, at least you’ll have work to fall back on.

The Degree Should Be Closely Related to the Target Job

A master’s degree will be worthwhile if the particular program is tailored to the field of interest. For example, physical therapy or business management requires specific types of degrees. An MBA will help you get ahead in business. You may not have majored in engineering as an undergraduate, but a master’s can give you the background needed to be successful in this area. Teaching usually requires a master’s level education, but is typically not enough if you intend on teaching college students.

Vetting Your Master’s Degree

Ensuring that your master’s degree is worth it requires careful planning. In addition to choosing a program that matches your career path, it’s important to know it is respected. Find out whether the program is accredited and research the institution it is accredited by. Degree programs with accreditation by national organizations are most respected, and your diploma will mean something when looking for your dream job.

Don’t forget to look deep inside yourself and your desires. What works for one person may not for another. If you want to earn a master’s degree, there is no set age to continue your education. It can still help you pursue your goals or increase earnings if you enter graduate school at a later age rather than right out of college. Whether you attend Tulane University or haven’t yet gotten your master’s in organizational development, your efforts may be worth it if you decide it is the right course of action.