Is Grad School Worth the Investment?

Graduating_masters degree

The end of undergraduate school marks a crossroads for many people, where deciding whether to continue on with graduate school or join the workforce arises. Meanwhile, older workers who wish to stay financially secure often ponder upgrading their knowledge assets by returning to grad school as well. For many, grad school is a great decision, but for others it can have a poor return on your time and monetary investment.

What to Consider Before Committing to Grad School

For some, the opportunity to gain specialized knowledge about something they’re passionate about can’t be passed up. Others just have fun learning or have a desire to accomplish something that requires an advanced degree. If those are your reasons, going to grad school is a clear solution, but most are in a different situation.

The most common trouble with the decision comes from deciding if the investment of grad school will pay off in the future from increased job security and a better salary. While the traditional impression that more schooling will result in better job prospects and rewards, in many industries this isn’t true.

When Grad School Isn’t Worth It

According to data collected, a master’s degree in many non-science and non-business industries is simply not worth it. When analyzed, it was found that there was no benefit in salary or job security from a master’s degree in any of the following:

  • English
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Architecture
  • Social work
  • Education
  • Public administration

Of course, there are exceptions. In general, you’ll be better off financially by entering the workforce immediately after graduating. Most of these industries value experience and accomplishments over specialized knowledge that most likely won’t be useful in daily work.

When Grad School is Worth It

The research also outlined some industries where there were substantial benefits of completing grad school. A master’s degree in business administration provides the most benefit in salary, but also in job security as it provides great versatility throughout industries. There were also some other fields of jobs that were highlighted as good investments for grad school:

  • Engineering (industrial/electrical/chemical)
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Marketing (and other business fields)
  • Economics

The average result from master degree holders in these categories was a 15 percent increase to salary over the span of their career. This isn’t a complete list, but it gives you a picture of the kinds of jobs that grad school makes sense for.

You also need to consider that the demand in many fields will grow in the near future, making a master’s degree even more desirable in a candidate. The main needs of the future will revolve around the rising need for health care. This means that extra medical specialization will only increase in value over time, making advanced nursing degrees a good investment.

Before you decide to go to grad school, consider all the information presented above. Factoring in your job and salary prospects after you complete your advanced degree will help you figure out if grad school is a smart investment.

If you are really hungry for knowledge but cannot afford to pay the graduate degree price tag, consider finding a friend or an acquaintance that possesses the knowledge base and agree to pay him or her for private lessons. This way you can acquire new skill at a low cost and save time in the process!

Image by Vivas M