Career trajectories don’t always necessarily follow a straight upwards path from school to success. Sometimes they can zigzag a bit with their ups and downs, and quite honestly, this isn’t a bad thing at all, as we’ve discussed before. Your career is like a lot of other things in life with changing priorities and circumstances requiring you to adapt accordingly.
Thus, at some point in your post secondary career life, you might find yourself in a situation when it might genuinely be a good idea for you to reconsider your educational achievements and go back into the school system for a graduate degree.
Some of the Potential Benefits
There are numerous potential benefits to graduate studies in general, which can apply to an assortment of different degrees and career fields. Here is a list of some of the benefits:
- A graduate degree will definitely set you apart from those in your field who only have undergraduate degrees or no degrees at all:
- It raises your marketability. A graduate degree does put you into a more marketable “elite” group of professionals who have this one additional asset with which to promote themselves.
- Your networking options will explode. Going back to graduate school will put you into contact with different people who will become part of your network going forward.
- Executive positions in many fields definitely become more accessible with a graduate degree.
Do you have Time to Invest?
Your average masters degree in almost any field will require at least 1 to 2 years of additional full time study and can take as many as three or four years. If you decide to do it on a part time basis, you’re looking at a four to five year investment of time. The amount of time for PhD degrees are even more intensive, averaging out to about three to five years for full time study programs.
What about the Financial Investment?
Costs can vary enormously depending on which school you go to and which program you choose. For some of the most affordable pricing options, you can pick smaller institutions like Olivet Nazarene University for their graduate programs and save quite a bit of money on your annual tuition costs. On the other hand, you might choose a prestigious private school such as Wharton or Columbia University. A graduate degree from a smaller school can cost as little as $20,000 or less to complete while a similar degree from Columbia can run into the $80,000 range.
On average however, you’ll be investing about $12,000 to $30,000 per year on tuition expenses during your graduate studies program, with the higher end being more common with name brand private universities.
Graduate Earnings Potential
There’s a lot of variation here. If you’re going to be moving into medical graduate programs, you can look forward to average earnings increases of up to 190%. For fields such as chemistry, molecular science and biochemistry, earnings increases thanks to graduate degrees can range from 98% on the lower end to as much as 110%. Likewise for law graduates, whose average post graduate earnings potential can skyrocket by as much as 90% or more. Similarly, high earnings increases also apply to most hard sciences, social sciences, and health related fields.
For more information on undergraduate and post graduate earnings by profession, here is one excellent resource. It is a recent study conducted by researchers at Georgetown University.
About the author: Stephan Jukic is a freelance writer who generally covers a variety of subjects relating to the education, education technology, marketing, marketing tech and brand promotion. He also loves to read and write about subjects as varied as the idea of a location-free business, portable business management, and strategic marketing and advertising tactics. When he’s not busy writing or consulting, he spends his days enjoying life’s adventures either in Canada or Mexico. Connect with Stephan on Google+ and LinkedIn.