Are you considering going to Grad School? Looking for a promotion, ready to change career paths, or just not sure what your next steps are?
When I was a recent college graduate, I, too, pondered this question, and ultimately decided it was the right path for me. Later, as a career counselor, I helped countless college students and career changers answer this question.
Since undergraduate degrees are becoming the baseline for most jobs, here are some things to think about.
Why do I want to go to Grad School?
Is grad school required for advancement in your career field? In some disciplines, having a graduate degree is necessary for securing a position. Certain fields like law, social work, education, or healthcare may require a graduate degree in order for you to work in the profession.
However, it may not be for everyone so it is important to do your research. Obtaining a graduate degree can help you stand out in highly-competitive industries, but some positions and industries do not require a graduate school degree for advancement, and work experience proves to be more valuable. Be sure you are attending for the right reasons and not just because you were comfortable with school and your undergraduate experience.
Can I afford it?
You can! But it is situational. Grad school requires a big investment of time and money. Tuition varies, but it’s several thousand per semester at least. You also have to consider living expenses, travel and relocation expenses (if you are moving for graduate school), and costs for books and other materials.
Unless you’re working while going to school, your income may be impacted. Fortunately, most institutions offer paid graduate assistant positions and scholarships, which can help offset the costs. Many employers will pay for you to pursue your graduate studies, and several graduate programs are offered online these days.
Will I really earn more?
Higher earning potential is also a common reason why people attend grad school.
According to the NACE 2023 Salary Survey, individuals with a master’s degree earned over 50% more than individuals with a bachelor’s degree across a wide range of industries, including business, psychology, biology, computer software, allied health, and communication disorders.
What kind of program am I looking into?
Program and degree exploration can be a lengthy process. It is important that you are passionate about what you are studying and that you have taken the time to research your options and potential career paths.
Don’t just Google it!
Explore and apply to graduate programs that offer courses of study that you are interested in and that have faculty who are known for their expertise in your area of interest. A virtual recruitment environment may allow you to confirm your decision or expand potential options.
Grad school isn’t for everyone, but it may be the right thing for you! Not only can it help advance your career, but you’ll get connected with individuals who share your passion and grow skills to be more qualified in your industry. And Virtual Events can help you through this process!