4 Ways to Know if You Should Get a Master’s Degree

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Have you thought about going back to school to earn a master’s degree? Do you wonder if studying for an advanced degree is worth your time, energy and money? Many working life sciences professionals contemplate if obtaining another degree is essential to reach their career goals. While a lot life sciences careers require advanced degrees, there are many professionals who develop successful and lucrative careers based on their experience, bachelor’s degree and/or additional certifications.

There can be countless outside factors that impact your educational endeavors.  The wishes of parents, family members, friends and colleagues can influence your career and educational choices. Often times, professionals are unsure of if they really desire a career path, or if someone else wants a certain future for them. The most important area to have clarity around is your prime job targets.  Once you are clear on what positions you’re interested in, deciding on whether or not to pursue additional education is easier. Here are four ways to know if you should get a master’s degree!

1.     It’s required to land the job you want

This might sound obvious, but there are certain fields that require advanced degrees. Jobs such as professor/instructor roles in academia and highly specialized subject matter expert positions are good examples. In these instances, a master’s degree (and sometimes a doctorate degree) is usually required.  If you want to pursue these types of roles, obtaining a master’s degree is non-negotiable because many recruiters wouldn’t consider you qualified without it.

2.     You are planning a career change

If you’ve been working in one industry or role and would like to make a career change, a master’s degree can be very beneficial. Participating in a degree program where you gain the education and understanding of the practical application of concepts is ideal. Practitioner-focused programs and those with practicums can help you acquire solid experience during your studies, which can translate well on a resume and during an interview. When competing with other job candidates who might have more experience than you, a master’s degree can set you apart.

3.     You have the time and support

Regardless of if you’re working full-time or not, pursuing a master’s degree can be very demanding. Do you have the time to dedicate to reading, studying and completing assignments? Are you supported at home and at work to help you get things done if you have less time? Many universities estimate that students should spend 7-12 hours per week studying per class. If you have assistance from family members, friends and co-workers, earning a master’s degree can be more realistic.  

4.     You want to progress deeper in learning to support your career/passion

Do you just enjoy learning aspects related to a certain area that you’re passionate about? Would having more knowledge on a specific topic help you progress within your career? If you can answer “yes” to either or both of those questions, then getting a master’s degree might be a great investment of your time. Obtaining an advanced degree requires you to dig deep into an area and perform extensive research, so having a genuine desire for learning can help to keep you motivated.

Deciding whether or not to pursue a master’s degree is a question that many professionals consider. Outside influences can play a major part in the decision-making process and cause additional pressure.  It is vital for you to have a clear idea of your job targets before coming to a decision.  In addition, understanding if a master’s degree is required for your desired roles and if it will help make you a more competitive candidate during a career change, is necessary.  When considering the logistics of your schedule, you need to know if you actually have the time and resources to devote to coursework.  Finally, if you’re motivated by learning and career growth getting an advanced degree might also be worth it. How will you know if you should get a master’s degree? 

Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. (https://www.fly-highcoaching.com) She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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