According to experts, there are millions of Americans who have earned master’s degrees. One recent survey estimated that as many as 16 million Americans have gotten master’s degrees. This accounts for a whopping 8 percent of the country’s adult population.
Getting a master’s degree is not a simple thing nor should it be entertained lightly. If you are planning on getting a master’s degree, you should have a concrete reason and be thoroughly prepared for it.
Learn about the proper motivations for getting such an advanced degree and how you can get ready for one.
Why Get a Master’s Degree?
There are many reasons someone can want to earn a master’s degree. For example, there are people known as perpetual learners who want nothing more than to keep expanding their field of knowledge. On the other hand, more people are pursuing advanced degrees due to practical considerations instead of theoretical goals.
Here are some of the reasons you may want to go back to university.
To Stand Out
There is a lot of competition in today’s job market and having an undergraduate degree may not be enough to get you an interview anymore. A master’s degree could be suitably impressive, especially if you are aiming for a highly technical or very academic position. A master’s, especially one that includes field work, can be like having work experience to some employers.
For Job Requirements
Some job requirements actually need you to have the benefit of the expanded information and understanding provided by a master’s degree. For example, basic coverage of physics can be useful if you are simply working in a lab, but if you want to join the crew of a nuclear power plant, you will definitely need a master’s education in nuclear physics to go along with it. Other career paths may require master’s degrees the further up you go if you want to advance.
Finally, you may want to get a master’s degree because the courses offered can offer you an enhanced understanding of your career or chosen field of study. New discoveries are always being made and your best avenue for getting relevant information could be by pursuing an advanced degree. Or you can voluntarily want to get a master’s degree because the knowledge you could gain from it can make your job easier, not because it’s just a work requirement.
Preparing for a Master’s Degree
A master’s degree will take serious dedication to complete which means you must also be dedicated when preparing for one. This will not be like going to a weekend conference or for a short seminar. A master’s degree requires plenty of time and resources to complete.
Below are some ways you can prepare properly for your sojourn into higher education.
You must have a good reason for taking a master’s degree, given the amount of time and money you will have to invest in it. Frivolous reasons for getting a master’s degree range from wanting to avoid employment or because you want to go back to the college lifestyle. Search yourself if going back to college is truly the best avenue for you if your reasons don’t include enhancing your understanding or improving your chances of employment.
Consider the Cost
The average cost of master’s degrees is over $71,000. The cost of tuition as well as living expenses can be huge and well beyond the means of many Americans. For this reason alone, you should carefully consider how you plan on paying for your master’s degree. There may be other ways you can progress in your career that don’t involve putting you in tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
As previously mentioned, the cost of a master’s degree can be astronomical and you should consider how you will pay for it. There are several ways you don’t have to finance your education yourself.
First, try to discover grants and scholarships you could be eligible for. If you do, try to apply for a wide range so you can be considered for many financial aid packages. If you need an advanced degree because of work, talk to your company and see if they are willing to pay or at least share the cost of the degree while you keep working for them in a reduced capacity.
Talk to Significant Parties
Finally, talk to significant parties involved in the decision.
For example, you should inform your significant other or partner if you need to take a pay cut or even quit your job entirely to get a master’s degree. Your friends and family should be informed if you want them to understand that you need to concentrate on your new degree instead of socializing. Communicating your goals and your intentions is always important when making big decisions.
Earning a master’s degree can be an important stepping-stone in your career path. Or it can be a gateway to higher understanding. In any case, you should do your best to prepare for it in as effective and practical a way as possible.