So, you’re thinking about going back to school. Or maybe you’re wondering if pursuing a master’s degree is actually worth it. No matter whether you’re finishing up an undergraduate degree or going back to school after a long time, it’s important to understand the risks and benefits of grad school. Paying for grad school can seem like a daunting thing. But once you’re able to do that, there are multiple benefits to a master’s degree that will set you apart from the competition in the workforce.
Paying for Graduate School
Paying for graduate school can be daunting. Whether you’ve just finished undergrad or you’re going back to school after a long time in the workforce, the cost of tuition is tough. You’ll also need to pay for your living expenses, and classes might take up time that would otherwise be spent working. But not all is lost. Some of the same financial aid options are available to grad students as they are to undergraduate students. You can still fill out the FAFSA, for example. All students going to graduate school are considered independent.
In addition, if you need help covering the rest of your costs, you can apply for a private loan. This option is solid especially for those with good credit scores, as you can take out graduate student loans that have a relatively low interest rate. Interest will vary depending on your credit score and the loan amount. The cost of school is one of the biggest hurdles facing those interested in pursuing a degree. But at the same time, there are numerous benefits. Here are some of them.
Advanced Understanding of Your Field
The exact knowledge that you gain will vary depending on your degree. Are you going into English or marketing? What about technology? What about more highly specialized scientific fields? No matter your field of study, pursuing a master’s degree will let you gain more insight into your niche. You’ll be able to follow your passions and advance both your academic and workplace careers. When you have a graduate degree, it shows that you’re a credible participant with industry knowledge. If you hone your focus on one specific niche, you’ll be more competitive when applying for jobs in that particular field.
In addition to gaining additional skills and becoming better at your current skills, some people might even use their master’s degree to enter a new field. Maybe you want to pursue something completely different from what you did in undergrad. For example, maybe you focused on English in undergrad, but now you want to pursue a law-related degree. Going to school for something other than your undergrad degree makes you a more versatile job candidate as well. Depending on the two fields of study, you may be able to combine them. For example, people with a background in both software development and marketing will appeal hugely to big tech companies selling new products.
Furthering Your Career
Once again, this partially depends on your field. But if you have a master’s degree, you might be a better candidate for promotions into leadership and management. That goes especially for people working in competitive fields, where you might not always have a practical edge over your coworkers. Most employers have increased their standards regarding educational backgrounds in the past few years. The more advanced companies might prefer that their employees have a master’s degree rather than just an undergraduate degree. Some of the best places to have a master’s degree are the healthcare and education fields. In both of these areas, academic expertise is key to getting promotions and being relied on as an expert in the field.
Making More Income
You can earn significantly more money if you have a master’s degree — which in turn can make it easier to pay off both undergraduate and graduate student loans. The average employee holding a bachelor’s degree will make about $65,000 dollars annually. But if you have a master’s degree, that average could go up to $80,000 dollars. That’s a massive increase in income that could be great news for your overall financial stability. The earnings potential increases even more depending on the field. For example, if you’re a major in life sciences or biology, you can earn more than 50 percent more with a master’s degree than with a bachelor’s degree. With the medical and healthcare fields, you can earn more than double the salary of an undergraduate employee.
Since your master’s degree involves heavy study, you get a chance to hone your analysis, research, and writing skills. This makes you a better problem solver. If you’re able to solve problems in the workplace, you’re more likely to be promoted to complex managerial positions. You also get the chance to continue learning throughout your lifetime.