Deciding whether or not to pursue higher education can be a tough choice. In some fields, a master’s degree provides greater credibility when job hunting or when aiming for a promotion. That’s why a lot of professionals consider taking up higher studies.
There are a lot of advantages to a master’s degree, such as a master’s in business administration. However, the intensity of the program demands us to stay focused and motivated. This is especially true if we’re planning to juggle work and studies at the same time.
Hence, the decision to pursue a master’s degree should not be taken lightly. It’s a life-changing decision that may disrupt our lifestyle and routine for a few years.
Here are four things that I considered before enrolling in a master’s program:
How much it will cost to attend school and how you plan to pay for it is a huge factor to consider. It’s important to understand that even though most master’s degrees are offered at lower rates than doctorate programs, they still require fees for tuition and books. This can be challenging if funds are limited.
I also considered the possibility of giving up my job to attend classes full-time and lose health care benefits during this period. However, quitting my job didn’t seem like an attractive option since that would leave me with no income.
Hence, the most viable option for me was to work and study at the same time. However, this came with adjustments and compromises. Since I’m working, I can only take up a few units each term. And this means that it would take longer for me to finish my master’s.
If you want to finish your master’s degree within one to two years, you have to find ways to pay for it upfront. That timeframe is doable if you choose to be a full-time student. But if you’re only doing the program part-time, you must come to terms with the fact that you may be spending three to four years to finish it.
While it might seem like spending two or three years at school would not be that big of a deal, it still means that I may be missing out on special celebrations and milestones in my loved ones’ lives.
Time spent studying, writing term papers, and doing research could mean lesser quality time to spend with loved ones.
For those who are prioritizing kids or family time, pursuing a graduate degree may not be the best choice for now.
For some people, this may be an easy choice because the program of interest is only offered near their location. But for others, it may not be so simple.
My priority was to look for schools near my home and workplace so I could reduce expenses and transportation time. I also wanted to spend whatever free time I could have with my loved ones nearby rather than spending time on the road to travel back to my hometown.
4. Employment Opportunities And Economy
Knowing that pursuing a master’s degree will take up much of my time, money, and energy, I wanted to know beforehand if it is indeed worth going into.
You see, a master’s degree is not really valued in all industries. But since I work in the corporate field, there are opportunities where having a master’s degree could really pay off.
I talked to experts in the field and asked about how long it took them to get there. I also asked them which skills, qualifications, and credentials they honed to be suitable in their current position. It’s also wise to do some research on what salary range to expect before taking the plunge.
I also had to evaluate if I want to go the corporate path or academic path. In many fields, when you have a master’s, you can pursue careers in your field or in academia.
One of my goals after finishing my degree is to try to rise up to an executive position in my company. I believe that having a master’s degree can help me gain technical knowledge and credentials for that advancement.
Pursuing a master’s degree would require time and a considerable amount of money. That’s why it’s important to consider all the factors before you enroll.