Career Choices Graduate Degree

Congratulations!  You have a college degree!  The world is now your oyster.  But wait…there is a bit of a roadblock.  Is it enough education?  Do you need more classroom time, or do you need to find a bottom rung to jump onto, or both?  Are you ready for the world…or is the world not yet ready for you?

 Are you thinking about a graduate degree?  Here are some tips that may help clarify the decision:

1. What was your major?  If you are in liberal arts, unless you nearly immediately walk into a good job, the answer is probably “yes.”  Liberal arts degrees are nice in their own way, but outside of successfully starting your own business or having something you are already getting into, a graduate degree is nearly a must for someone with a liberal arts degree.  Take it from someone with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in History.

2. What is the cost?  More school costs more money, to you, to your parents, or to the rest of us who pay taxes or donate to the school.  Be certain you can either work your way through it, or can pay off the debt easily later on.

3. Do you even need it?  Many advanced degrees are simply add-ons for people who just like learning.  Engineers do not necessarily need advanced degrees, as a good career with good advancements can come without it, as does continuous training.

4. Did you like school?  If getting your first degree was miserable, two to three more years on an advanced degree is almost as painful; there may be less coursework overall and it is more focused on your degree, but the workload is harder and the expectations are higher from your professors.

5. What will it take away from?  Getting an advanced degree is a time commitment.  Would it be better to get work experience and build your resume, or return to school?  Will you be able to have a job while going to graduate school?  Will an advanced degree allow you to make more money, enough to cover the cost and improve your situation?

6. What is everyone in the field you are going into doing?  If they are, it’s a good chance you may need to as well. 

I greatly enjoyed most of my experience in graduate school, and it allowed me to get the job that I currently have…which, oddly enough, has little to do with my degree.  One thing to keep in mind is that people with advanced degrees have little unemployment, and are typically able to find jobs or create some for themselves, even in the modern environment where jobs can be hard to find.  Good luck!