With the high rising costs of tuition and the parallel high cost of living, many people ask the question if it’s worth it to get a masters degree or MBA. To keep up with the cost of living, people may go back to school in hopes of a higher salary upon graduating. Tuition costs are not going down, so this is a big gamble to take. Of course it is going to depend on your location and industry that you work in, but the truth is that nobody has a crystal ball and can give you a definite yes or no on going to graduate school. You must weigh out the pros/cons and do a cost/benefit analysis.
1. What do other’s make in your field and do they have a Masters or MBA?
The first question to ask yourself is where are you now and what do you want to do? Find out how much your boss, director, or high level employees in your company make by using sites like GlassDoor.com and Salary.com. Find out their bio on LinkedIn.com and see what kind of education they have listed in their profile. If you’re seeing a high percentage of them with post graduate degrees and that is that job you eventually want, chances are that you’ll also need a graduate degree.
What kind of bachelor degree do you have and does it compare to the person in the position you want to be in? The degrees that pay the most are in the STEM family. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.
2. Cost/Benefit Analysis
Don’t just merely look at the cost of tuition. You also have to weigh out what you could be doing with that money if you were not going to grad school. If it costs $30k to go to grad school, how many years would it take for you to pay it off? How much interest would you also have to pay for the life of that student loan? If you had $30k to spend on something else, would it net you a greater return than this diploma? The time you will be spending studying for entrance exams, classes, tests, and writing papers — are you prepared to sacrifice that time? Will you be able to handle the added stress of working full-time while attending classes 3 times a week plus homework, studying, writing, and meeting with classmates for group projects.
Some people work for companies who will pay for a fraction of all of the tuition costs. Usually it comes with a stipulation where you have to keep working at that company for a year after you graduate or will have to pay back the money. Also you likely will have to graduate with a high GPA or your company may not help pay for it.
3. Are you good enough?
Are your grades good enough in your bachelor academic career to propel you into a good grad school? Did you get high scores on your GRE or GMAT? If you cannot get into a good grad school, is it even worth going? Some say that you should not waste your money on low tier graduate schools because it is not worth the cost and time spent. This is up to your own judgement though.
What will happen after your graduate? Will your current employer promote you? The answer is most likely not. You will need to find a new job that will value your education more. How much experience do you have? Will your experience take you farther or will you need a graduate degree to help you.