Does a Masters degree offer a good return on investment? Obviously this is a difficult question to answer. There are many factors involved in determining the return on investment from a Masters degree. There also isn’t a simple answer. There are many different things you can get a masters degree in and some are more profitable than others. For example, a Masters degree in social work generally has a low payout. On the other hand a Masters degree in bioengineering may be very lucrative.
Regardless of what field you want to enter it is important to take some time to understand how a Masters degree will impact your ability to get a job and your pay rate within your career choice. Some fields require a masters degree as the minimum barrier to entry. For example if you want to teach at a college you are probably going to need at least a masters degree and very likely a PhD in order to get any type of employment. On the other hand there are many fields where master’s diploma will simply move you to a higher patent level and it isn’t a requirement in order to get a job. Teaching at the grade school, middle school and high school level is an example of this. Masters degrees generally will help you make more money but they aren’t going to be required to get the job.
It’s important to understand how these factors play out in order to determine when the best time to achieve the Masters agree is for your career choice. For example if you want to be an elementary school teacher a Masters degree will allow you to make more money by moving you to a higher pay scale. However if you get a masters degree before you get your first job you may have trouble finding employment because you will be competing against less expensive teachers who do not have a Masters degree. Some school administrators may look at you as overqualified and expensive compared your competition. However, once you have a job, getting a master’s degree may allow you to move to a different pay scale simply by completing the degree. So in the case of a teacher you may want to get a job and pursue some type of part-time Masters degree program in order to up your pay, but you might want to avoid taking two years off work in order to get the degree that they may make it harder for you to find a job not easier.
The cost of getting a Masters degree can very dramatically from one school to the next. Your choice of schools will be greatly influenced by your career needs. If you simply need to get a masters degree in order to move up the pay scale you might want to choose the least expensive school you can find. On the other hand if getting a Masters degree is going to qualify you for jobs that pay a great deal and are highly competitive you may want to consider going to the best school you can possibly afford.
Another thing to consider is the opportunity cost associated with getting a Masters degree. When you’re studying for your degree there other things you are going to be able to do. In some cases it may mean taking two years off work in order to pursue your schooling. Even if you’re able to find some type of part-time school that allows you to continue to work you will still have to spend a significant amount of time studying they could otherwise be spent on other things.
When considering the cost of a degree you need to take into consideration how much you’ll lose by pursuing that degree. For example if you find a small state school that only costs $10,000 a year but requires you to quit your job in order to spend two years getting the degree that might look pretty attractive compared to $50,000 worth of tuition at an institution that allows you to take classes online. However when you factor in the cost of quitting your job the more expensive school may actually be a better deal because it allows you to keep your job and your current earnings.
Not only do we need to consider the cost of the salary he would forgo when pursuing a degree that requires you to quit your job, but you also need to consider the value of promotions, pension plans, healthcare, work experience, etc. that you would achieve by working while you pursue your Masters degree. In many cases doing some type of online or part-time school makes a lot of financial sense when all the factors are considered. Also as mentioned before you need to consider your employability after you leave the field and then try to come back in the future.
The most important thing to realize is that getting masters to agree is not necessarily a good investment. Many times it is a good investment but you can’t simply ignore the data and run out and enroll in any program you happen to find. Take the time to really think through the value of a potential degree and the costs associated. In many cases what looks attractive at first glance may be a very bad deal and what seems expensive initially may be a much better deal for you over the course of your career when all the factors are considered.