Your Career and (Even Higher) Higher Education

Mar 6, 2020 by

You knew early on that you’d have to have a bachelor’s degree in order to compete in today’s job market. More hiring managers than ever expect bachelor’s degrees, and many jobs that once required only a high school diploma now require a college degree. So off you went for your BA or BS, and now you’re on the job market or working hard at your career. And guess what? All of a sudden, a bachelor’s degree doesn’t seem like quite enough.

The same trends that have made bachelor’s degrees as mandatory as high school degrees once were has made graduate degrees important in areas where bachelor’s degrees were once sufficient. Today, getting to the next level of industries like computer science, public policy, and education means returning to school once again.

Why Earn a Master’s Degree?

The need for a master of science or master of arts degree can be frustrating (at least, that is, if you don’t already have a master of science or master of arts degree)! But there are good reasons to get these sorts of master’s degrees even beyond their clear applications in the modern job market. An MBA or other master’s degree programs can get you a better job and a higher salary, sure, but they can also help you improve your specialization and make you truly better at what you do. To be a doctor or a lawyer you have to get a higher level of education; why shouldn’t you demand the same of yourself? A doctorate in your own area of study and chosen profession can make you the best version of you that you can be. The money doesn’t hurt, either: Master’s degree holders and other folks with graduate degrees earn $17,000 more, on average, than those with just a bachelor’s degree.

This is true in all sorts of areas, explain experts at once school known for its master’s degree programs. Criminal justice? Computer science? Mechanical engineering? Biomedical engineering? Check, check, check: They’re all areas in which a master’s degree will bring your knowledge and ability to the next level.

You can found a business on your own, sure, but you’ll be much better off at your startup or working for another firm if you have the tools and knowledge that it takes to perform smart analytics—and those tools and knowledge are the sorts that you’ll gain when you pursue a master of business administration (or MBA). The list goes on, from special education programs to social science ones; whatever you do, you can probably do it better—and for more money—with a master’s degree, doctorate, or another graduate degree.

Making Time for a Master’s Degree

Your master’s degree will help you unlock higher wages and better positions in the private or public sector. But not everyone can afford to drop everything, take time off, and pay the tuition that it takes to attend a full-time master’s degree or doctorate degree program. What can you do when graduate school seems like too much of a burden?

You have options, experts say. Among the most appealing may be an online degree program, could allow you to keep working and earning money while you study. The coursework won’t be easy, of course, but an online university will at least allow you the flexibility to do more of that coursework on your own time.

You’ll deal with long days as you balance work with a master’s degree program, but the rewards can be significant, and you won’t have to put your career on pause while you go get your master’s degree (or doctoral degree, or any other graduate degree).

Other options include low-residency programs and part-time programs, both of which will give you the time to keep your job, internship, or other commitment while pursuing even higher education and even better opportunities in whatever field of study and work that you choose.

Whatever you decide, you’ll need to start by building your application. That means taking the GRE, investing in certificates and other supplementary materials, and doing everything else that you can in order to prove that you’re the right pick for the program. You may be ready to handle the coursework, but does your application say so?

If you got your bachelor’s degree in political science but want a master’s degree in computer science, then you may need to do some independent research and coursework and lock down a few certificates before the master’s degree program of your choice will decide you’re ready. Of course, if you already have an undergraduate degree in computer science, then things are a little easier—but no matter what type of master’s or doctoral program you’re after, you should be able to find ways to prove yourself to be a fit.

When you find the right graduate program in the right subject—and at the right price and on the right schedule—then you’ll be ready to take your career to the next level.

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