First of all, great question! You’re smart to explore whether adding a master’s degree to your undergraduate education is expedient and if it’s right for you personally. Truth be told, not every job warrants graduate-level training. For example, if you are a machinist and happy to stay one, investing in higher education may not pay off financially or offer greater job satisfaction. If, on the other hand, you wonder if you could increase your chances for career advancement if you added credentials to your resume, then it’s time to address your question, “Why should I pursue a master’s degree?” We’ll help you do that by posing some additional questions you should ask yourself, along with insights into answering each one.
Am I in the career I want for the rest of my working life?
Often when we pursue a major as young college students, we don’t have enough real-world knowledge to know if the field we selected is actually a good fit. If you earned your bachelor’s degree and have been working in your initial career for several years, you’ve had some time to assess if you would like to make a career move. Perhaps you’ve come to realize that your interests lie in a different industry, that you could put your talents to better use elsewhere, or that you could make a bigger difference in another career. If so, earning a master’s degree is a often a necessary step towards job transition.
Ottawa University offers a wide range of online, accelerated master’s degrees that will prepare you for satisfying careers in:
Am I satisfied to stay in my current position within my chosen career?
Maybe you are in the right profession and have learned a lot in your current role. Sometimes that new knowledge coupled with superior job performance makes you a good candidate for positions with more responsibility - positions where you can grow in the industry and tackle greater challenges. However, if you are competing for that position with a candidate, whether inside or outside the company, who holds a master’s degree, the odds are not in your favor. Given a choice, most employers are going to defer to the person with experience AND education. Many students find that if they are actively working towards their graduate degree, employers will give them greater consideration for an open position. So, if you have your eye on a promotion or seek career advancement within your current field, a master’s degree will give you the leg up you need to rise to the top of the application pile.
Beyond the opportunity for moving up the ladder, earning an online master’s degree is smart for professional development. With things changing at warp speed in almost every industry, going back to school can help you stay abreast of industry trends, equip you with new skills and knowledge, and make you more effective at your job. In short, it will keep you from getting left behind when new, younger graduates come on board.
As a recent undergraduate, am I having a hard time finding a job because I need more education to stand out?
The job market is tough right now, no question. And it is negatively impacting recent undergraduates the most, with an unemployment rate of 7.2% and an underemployment rate of nearly 41%, meaning a disproportionate number of these recent graduates are taking jobs that don’t require a degree. To increase your odds of getting hired, you need to be committed to being the best candidate, the most skilled, and the most highly educated. That’s why enrolling in a master’s program will demonstrate a good work ethic and give you an edge with greater knowledge and experience when the market finally turns around and the right door opens.
Could a master’s degree provide the earning potential I need to provide for myself and/or my family and save for retirement? Is it worth the investment?
Did you know that a master’s degree holder earns an average of $13,000 to $17,000 more annually than someone with only a bachelor’s degree? If you finish your graduate program by the time you are 30 and work for 35 more years, that’s potentially almost $600,000 in additional earnings over the course of your career. Even if you spend $50,000 earning your degree, the return on investment is significant. You’ll be more secure financially, can put more towards retirement, save for your kids’ college fund, or simply improve your overall quality of life. Not much of a downside there.
What message would I be sending myself, my family, and my current or prospective employer?
Returning to school to earn your master’s degree is no small thing. It takes time, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Do you want to prove to yourself that you can do it? To demonstrate the importance of education and hard work to your family? To show your employer that you’ve got what it takes to get the job done, both personally and professionally?
There’s a lot to be said for the character you exhibit by returning for a graduate degree as an adult. It shows you know what you want and you’re willing to do what it takes to get it. With that comes respect – both for yourself and from others. You hold your head up a little higher when others learn you’ve got your master’s; you exhibit more confidence when applying for that new job or promotion; you know you are on equal ground with your peers. Those are strong motivators for many and can be benefits of earning an online degree that you can’t put a price tag on.
If you feel as though any of these questions pertain to you, then we are here to help. As the best, fastest, and most affordable online university in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix, Ottawa University’s accelerated online degrees are the perfect option for adults looking to pursue a graduate degree in 2021. We are a fully accredited, non-profit university that utilizes industry experts as professors. We understand and foster the strong values that you bring to the classroom as a working adult.
Contact an enrollment advisor today to get started!