Is a graduate degree worth the time and expense? William Pannapacker, a professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, stated, “I would not recommend enrolling in any graduate program – if your primary goal is full-time employment – without some hard, externally verifiable evidence that the program is successful at placing its graduates in positions that the applicant would regard as acceptable.” Also, when it comes to the working world, there’s more to it than getting a degree; Lorrie Ross, a career and marketing consultant, said, “Professionals are not entitled to work because of a degree; they earn work based on their ability to work and think.”
According to some experts, some of the advanced degrees that are still worth the debt include Master of Public Health, MBA, Doctor of Pharmacy, and Master of Science in Predictive Analytics as well as advanced degrees in public health, biostatistics, epidemiology, and informatics.
Graduate Degrees and Salary Increase
According to the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, the salary increase one can expect by getting a graduate degree varies extremely, from a miniscule 1 percent increase to a whopping 190 percent increase. According to their analysis, which is based on census data, some of the graduate degrees worth the expense are in health and medical programs, zoology, social sciences, public policy, biology, molecular biology, biochemical sciences, chemistry, and physiology.
Richard Vedder, a professor of economics at Ohio University and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, stated, “Colleges are turning out more graduates than the market can bear, and a master’s is essential for job seekers to stand out – that, or a diploma from an elite undergraduate college.”
If you’re thinking about going to graduate school immediately after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, Andrew Roberts, author of the book The Thinking Student’s Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education, believes it’s difficult for students to know if grad school is the best choice for them until they’ve gained some experience in the workforce.
Financing a Graduate Degree
The majority of graduate school awards are based on qualifications such as excellent exam scores, good grades, and fantastic letters of recommendation. Make yourself attractive to schools; the more faculty members at a specific school want you, the more money you’ll get. If a university is really interested in you for a doctoral program, there’s a good chance you’ll get paid to go for your Ph.D. You have a better chance of getting free money for a doctoral degree than a master’s degree.
Some states offer need-based financial aid to graduate students while others offer merit based financial aid. Many states have restrictions on graduate financial aid based on the types of educational programs and required research.
Some universities, independent organizations, and the federal government offer graduate fellowships. “Portable” graduate fellowships can be used for just about any graduate program at any college.
If you’re curious about salaries for employees with doctoral degrees, check out the salary information provided by the National Science Foundation.
A lot of people are going to graduate school due to the tough job market or because they’re passionate about their field, but it pays to select a graduate degree program rewarded by the job market. It’s vital to do your homework before enrolling in any graduate degree program.
Brian Jenkins writes about careers in accounting, among other career fields, for BrainTrack.com.