Your Next Career Move: Is It Time to Go Back to School?

You’ve graduated with your Bachelor’s degree and have taken a few steps up the corporate ladder. Despite your successes in the corporate world, you have lately been wondering whether going back to school for a master’s or PhD would be a better long-term decision. If this is what you are thinking, then you should ask yourself several questions before you even apply for graduate school. Why do you want to go to back to school, and what are you trying to accomplish by considering graduate student life?

Many people revisit the academic world and graduate student life for the wrong reasons. If you are simply bored with your current situation, there are definitely many infinitely cheaper hobbies to pick up instead of a bill for graduate school. If you are looking to impress your boss or other coworkers, there are easier ways to do that as well. If you believe that having a higher degree will increase your salary and/or earn you a promotion, you should do some diligent research to find out whether this is indeed the case.

There are several sites that report the average income of certain professionals, including the salaries of those with a Bachelor’s and those with a more advanced degree. Keep in mind that several careers value relevant experience instead of education. Look around your office to see what types of degrees are benefitting your coworkers. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your employers about your decision! Your employers have a good idea about how another degree will affect your professional outlook. If having an advanced degree is important for your profession, many large companies will give you time off to take classes, or even pay for your education! However, remember that companies budget money far in advance of when the money is spent. Therefore, if you know it might help you financially, you should let your supervisors know that you plan to go to graduate school a good semester or year ahead of when you actually start. 

If you are thinking about going back to school for graduate study, you should consider the cost of graduate school. How does your desire to have the degree compare to the cost of the degree? After you get a graduate degree, will you work hard to make sure that your money eventually comes back around in the form of a higher salary? If you had asked yourself these questions and still feel like going to graduate school is the right choice for you, then you should compare graduate school programs around your location. Visit the campus, take in the local graduate student life, and talk to a few professors in your potential school of study before making any decisions. Finally, weigh your lifestyle against the time requirements for graduate school. Do you have time to go back to school? Will your family and employer be encouraging and patient towards your graduate student life? Pursuing a graduate degree is a major decision, so be sure to consider all the angles before you make the plunge.

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