Today, it’s time to look at one topic that is extremely popular on the forum. It’s the decision to pursue a Master’s degree or not.
Here is how to decide:
Is a Master’s common in your field?
If a MA/MS is standard, you should probably get one. If it’s required for the sort of job you want to do, the same applies. Master’s degrees are standard in most education work, sciences and humanities. They’re not as common for practical sciences like medical research, engineering (mathematical or electrical) or architecture. For a lot of these applied sciences, it’s actually better to have real experience working for companies. Many firms want people with actual experience instead of another 2 years of book work. You can also find jobs that allow you to earn your Master’s on the side, which is the best of both worlds.
Do you want to teach?
If you plan on teaching beyond the high school/secondary school level, you will want to get at least a MA/MS. It is pretty simple. There are very few college/university teaching positions that are open to people who have not earned a Master’s. If you are in a profession like English or Theatre which is not always a steady income, a MA is a good backup plan for when you need to teach for money.
Do you feel lost with theoretical practice?
If you are confused by anything you’ve studied in undergraduate work or encountered in your time after graduation, you might need some more training. If you are switching or narrowing your field, that is probably the case. But if you are confident in all the theory, you should focus on getting experience in the work world before you go back to school, if you go back at all.
Do you learn better through study or through experience?
If you learn better through studying and some practical work on the side, go back to get your Master’s. This is also the best approach for the humanities field, where practical experience is still based on research and writing that you will do anyway in an academic setting.
If you learn better through experience, take a break from school and get a job that will challenge you to grow and learn more. This is better for anyone who does practical or applied sciences or social sciences. It is best to find one that will help you get a Master’s degree on the side, since you will kill two birds with one stone.
Do you know what you want to do?
If you know exactly what you want to do, you are ready to get a job. Most of the point of higher education is to give you space to explore and find your passion. If you still don’t know exactly what to do within your field, you should start a Master’s program to narrow your focus and find your dream profession.
How are your finances?
If your grades are good enough to earn a full scholarship, a Master’s program might be a smart financial move, since you will make more money once you get out with your degree. You also won’t have to pay for the tuition in the first place. This can be a good option for people who are out of school but not having much luck in the workforce.
If you are already making a lot of money in your first jobs, it does not make much sense to get your degree, unless you can make it work on the side. You should find out whether you can be promoted or get a raise without a higher degree, though, since that might be another reason to think about going back to school at some point.
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