Is a Master’s Worth It? 4 Ways to Know if a Graduate Degree Is Right for You

Girls in grauation gowns with Master's hoods

Many graduates find themselves debating whether or not to do a master’s program. Questions arise like, is it worth the money? Do I need it in my career? Will it be helpful in the long run? 

The answers to these questions are not universal for everybody. However, there are ways to help begin the thought process, and ultimately, know if a master’s or other graduate degree is right for you. 

Here are four ways to know if a graduate program is for you.

1. Timeliness – You don’t have to immediately start your master’s degree. It’s perfectly okay to work for a few years before deciding if a master’s is worth pursuing. Some jobs will even pay for your master’s or provide incentives to get your degree. However, there are some careers that require you to have a graduate degree. 

Take time to research your career field and decide if a master’s will be important right away, like if you intend to teach at a university level and need the qualifications or if most jobs in your field require a master’s level of education or higher. Some may not, though a master’s may provide more opportunities for advancement down the road. 

2. Opportunities – Having a graduate degree may give you a greater pool of job options and can carry more weight on your resume, wherever you apply. Statistically, the 2020 unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s was 5.5%, while those with a master’s or doctorate was only 4.1% and 2.5% respectively. 

Even if they’re not immediately needed, higher degrees will offer advancements in position or salary in many careers. Statistically, certain master’s degrees increased salaries anywhere from 30% to 80% more than their bachelor’s level counterparts. The possibility of increasing your salary is definitely worth considering.

3. Knowledge – Not many people consider learning as the main reason for getting a degree. And yet, the knowledge obtained from a master’s program can be transformational for your career. 

By delving deeper into your subject area, you will gain greater breadth of understanding, greater discipline and become more equipped in your chosen field. You will also be better equipped to influence and teach those around you. Continuing your education is a great way to continue improving your personal and professional life.

4. Long-term value – It’s important to think about the long term when considering a master’s or doctorate program. Though it may not be imperative now, having a graduate degree can give you more opportunities in the future. 

Financially, a graduate level degree promises more income than an undergraduate degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a master’s degree earn roughly $200 more a week than those with a bachelor’s; while those with a doctorate degree earn around $600 more a week. That translates to a difference of over $10,000 a year for master’s degrees and nearly $30,000 more a year for doctoral degrees. Be sure to consider the long-term economic value alongside the cost. 

While there are notable benefits to pursuing a graduate degree, it’s important to consider if it’s right for you. Understand that time is a factor of your decision, and that even if you decide it isn’t immediately beneficial, it is never too late to go back to school. Be sure to consider the short-term and the long-term benefits of a master’s or doctorate program. Having a higher level of education can open more opportunities, give you a greater understanding of your discipline and ultimately help further your career in the long run. 

Ready to start your master’s or doctoral degree? 

Apply now at SEU.edu/apply or register for an upcoming info session at SEU.edu/gradinfo.

Explore Master’s & Doctoral Degrees at SEU.

SEU offers more than 25 graduate-level degrees in ministry and theology, business and leadership, education, behavioral and social sciences, and nursing.

 

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