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Should I Get A Master’s Degree?
Getting a master’s degree is a serious commitment. You need to go into a master’s program understanding the time, energy and financial resources you need to succeed. Balancing the short-term costs and demands of a master’s program with the long-term gains will help you determine if a master's degree is worth it. It’s a decision that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Use this guide as a gut-check to determine if you should pursue that master’s degree you’ve been thinking about.
What’s the Value of a Master’s Degree Today?
The value of a master’s degree shouldn’t be measured solely in monetary terms. However, for most professionals, increasing earning potential is one of the primary reasons for pursuing a master’s degree. It’s proven there is a correlation between level of education and earnings.
A master’s degree can increase your weekly earning potential by nearly 20% compared to a bachelor’s degree. Over the course of a year that equates to $12,948 in additional earnings when comparing median earnings of bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Even at an average cost of $30,000 to $40,000 (according to Peterson’s, a leading educational services company), a master’s degree can pay for itself in approximately 2–3 years if you see income increases in line with the median earnings for all professionals. That’s also without considering financial aid like scholarships or employer tuition reimbursement programs.
What matters most when choosing a master’s program? Compare features, benefits and cost to find the right school for you.
Over the course of your career, the investment in your education can certainly pay off. But, as we said, salary is only one consideration when determining if you should get a master’s degree.
Pros: 5 Popular Reasons to Get a Master’s Degree
Outside of monetary gains, there are many other positive aspects of earning your master’s degree. A master’s degree provides you with the tools to strategically solve business challenges at the highest levels in an organization.
Here are five of the top benefits that should motivate you to get your master’s degree:
- Prepare for a new career field. Whether you’re seeking new challenges or want to increase job stability, a master’s degree is a great way to prove expertise to a new employer if you’re light on practical experience in your new field.
- Stand out for advancement opportunities. In some industries, you hit a ceiling on advancement if you don’t get a master’s degree. If you want to get ahead at your current company, convince them of the value you’ll bring with advanced education. If you’re ready to move on, a master’s degree can increase your upward mobility.
- Gain specialized knowledge or broaden your skill set. Broadly, there are two types of master’s degrees—generalist and specialist. A generalist degree, like an MBA, can prepare you to lead cross-functional teams at the management and executive level. On the other hand, a specialized master’s degree can deepen your skill set and expertise, making you a subject matter expert.
- Maintain cutting-edge industry skills and learn new technology. Businesses are changing faster than ever. A master’s degree can help you stay ahead of the learning curve on new technology and upgrade your data-driven decision making skills.
- Expand your strategic and leadership capabilities. A master’s degree also prepares you with crucial soft skills like critical thinking, problem solving and communication. These skills will help you in developing comprehensive business solutions (and persuading their adoption).
While the benefits of a master’s program are compelling, you also need to go into your program with your eyes wide open to challenges you may face. It will help you be better prepared to navigate and persevere through difficulties.
Cons: 3 Challenges of Getting a Master’s Degree
Getting a master’s degree isn’t easy. However, if you’re determined, the right master’s program will provide the flexibility, tools and resources to ease many of the challenges of getting your master’s degree.
- It may be expensive (and the payoff may not be immediate). The total cost of a master’s degree is highly dependent on the degree and university you choose. Cost can be prohibitive for some students, so make sure the master’s degree program you choose has an affordable cost per credit hour and accepts transfer credits. Also, see if a university has a partnership with your employers to reduce the cost of a degree.
- It will require significant time, energy and sacrifice. Think of getting your master’s degree like a part-time job. Be prepared to dedicate approximately 20 hours per week toward earning your degree. The best master’s degree programs will create a flexible learning environment to help you accommodate your schedule (without sacrificing the quality of your experience).
- You may need prerequisites to qualify for a master’s degree. Courses like statistics or accounting can scare people away from earning their master’s degree. Make sure you’re aware of the prerequisites of a master’s degree, as well as degree requirements. A great master’s program will offer individual advising, support and resources to help you through courses you find particularly difficult.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine if a Master’s Degree Is Worth It
A master’s degree should be seen as more than a credential that checks a box on your resume. To get the most from your experience, ask yourself these important questions before committing to a master’s program.
- Am I open to learning new things and questioning my current perspectives?
- Do I have one to two years to dedicate my time and attention to earning my master’s degree (regardless of life’s evolving challenges)?
- Is there a master’s program that aligns with both my passions and my professional needs?
- Am I making an investment in my long-term career prospects and growth?
If you think a master’s degree is worth pursuing, it’s time to find the right program to help you accomplish your goals.
Think You Should Get a Master’s Degree? Explore Programs at Franklin University
Franklin University is built for busy adults. Our online master’s degrees help you earn your degree on an accelerated timeline, while providing the support and flexibility that promotes success. Our curriculum is tailored to developing real-world, practical skills and taught by industry experts. You’ll walk away with much more than a degree. You’ll have a revitalized perspective and the cutting-edge skills to get ahead.
Explore our complete list of master’s degree programs to find the best master’s degree for you.