Graduate school offers an enticing opportunity for people seeking a promotion, career transition and salary increase. However, having a secondary degree isn’t a job guarantee and can be a costly endeavor. Before deciding to pursue graduate school, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your plans post-graduation? Don’t enter graduate school blindly. Think about what you really want to accomplish by attending a graduate program, especially the role you are hoping to attain upon completion. Interview people currently in your desired profession to get their advice on recommended programs and the skills you should aim to develop while in graduate school.
- How much is it really going to cost to attend the school? Besides just the tuition cost, time is money. Research the average salary you can expect to receive from your desired profession and location. If you won’t be able to continue to work while at school, will the cost of attending school and time away from earning a paycheck justify your future earnings? Even if you anticipate a salary bump, don’t forget to factor in the potential loans for which you will now be responsible.
- Do you really need to attend grad school? Not all advanced degrees are created equal. While some professions require a secondary degree, could you change roles simply by utilizing your current network? If you want a promotion, talk to your boss or others in your field to see if you could arrive at the same result just by getting additional licensures. While a job transition or promotion still might not happen overnight, it won’t require the same cost or time commitment as school.
- What school is right for your goals? Research your chosen program carefully before committing. Make sure the typical jobs and average salary past students have earned upon graduation are in line with your career goals. One of the many benefits of graduate schools, such as MBA programs, is the vast network they provide. It’s important to factor the available network, courses and professors when making your decision.
Attending graduate school can be a valuable option, but shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Once a decision has been made to apply and attend graduate school, the next step is to financially prepare for your upcoming adventure.