Matthew Gates http://www.gradschoolhub.com 7m 1,080
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Is Grad School Worth It?
There is no doubt that going to college will certainly boost your education and knowledge and prepare you for the real world. A college education teaches you about discipline, meeting deadlines, having to answer to multiple bosses every week, showing up on time, researching topics of information, studying and preparing yourself to understand information, presenting that information in an acceptable manner that can be understood, sharing your ideas, and sometimes even utilizing your peers in group-based projects.
While high school was supposed to teach you this, it still may not have prepared you for the real world. There are certainly plenty of people with a high school education who make it and are successful, but for many others, they end up going to college, studying what they are interested in, and strive to find a job or career they want to do.
The typical general study guidelines are:
- Associate’s degree: broad study.
- Bachelor’s degree: general, but more focused study.
- Master’s degree: specialized focused study.
- Doctorate degree: specialized study leading to contribution of field.
Each degree requires two more years of study with a lot of commitment to research, dealing with more deadlines, and having to multitask and appease multiple bosses. A doctorate degree may take almost a decade to obtain, as it requires a lot of field research, specialized study, and a contribution to research within the field.
A decade or two ago, an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree were “good enough” and people with these types of degrees were more than likely to be considered top candidates on a job application. Nowadays, a master’s degree is becoming more of the sought-after degree by companies, specifically companies who are interested in researchers, analysts, and specialized-focused individuals.
While the majority of people will certainly be able to obtain a job of their liking with a college degree, it may be harder to get higher paying jobs in a specific field. For example, most people who graduate with a psychology degree are not psychologists, nor are they even social workers. They may be able to get work closely doing what they want in those fields, but they will not be considered as having those titles. A person who graduates with a biology or chemistry degree may be able to get a degree, but the company they end up working for will likely have them trained to become more specialized in certain areas of research, or require them to further their education.
Grad school is certainly worth it if you know what you want to study and what you want to do. If you are still up in the air about what you want to do with your life, trying to find yourself or figure out what you want to make your career, you may want to take a few more years off and gain more experience in your fields of interest, talk to a career counselor, or even go back to school taking lesser classes which may further your interest to specialize in a certain field.
While there have been some horror stories about people who have gone to school and received their Masters degree, yet were unable to obtain a job in their field or ended up working for minimum wage, the truth is that you need to stand out and be unique among the hundreds of thousands of other people who might be your competition. Taking up a few specialized skills and being able to market yourself, as well as your personality will do a lot more for you than any degree. The degree will certainly help, but your personality might just allow you to go even further within a company.
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Should I Go to Grad School?
An MFA and a MD are very different beasts. But learning is always a good thing. From astronomer to biophysicist, here are some things to consider before heading off to grad school.
First off, let’s look at the numbers:
Master’s Colleges and Universities:
Research University (high research):
Research University (very high research):
Overall Acceptance Rates:
Only 1/5 applications to Doctoral programs are accepted. If you don’t think you’ll make the cut, is it worth the effort and time to apply?
Arts and Humanities:
Biological and Agricultural Studies:
Mathematics and Computer Sciences:
Physical and Earth Sciences:
Public Administration and Services:
Social and Behavioral Sciences:
Will You Earn More?
Lifetime Earnings Increase by Education:
[Average salary by education]
Less than high school: $24,325
High School: $32,600
Some College: $38,675
Professional Degree: $91,200
Earnings vary greatly as to what graduate program you complete:
Top 10 Occupations, Master’s Degree
[occupation,% of total degree type job, average salary]
1.) Elementary and Middle School Teachers, 13%, $53,875
2.) Other Managers, 5.4%, $94,050
3.) Education Administrators, 4%, $69,650
4.) Accountants and Auditors, 3.7%, $75,750
5.) Secondary School Teachers, 3.1%, $55,425
6.) Computer Software Engineers, 2.6%, $95,875
7.) Registered Nurses, 2.5%, $76,100
8.) Post-secondary teachers, 2.5%, $50,600
9.) Counselors, 2.4%, $48,625
10.) Chief Executives, 2.4%, $129,000
Top 10 occupations, Doctoral Degree
1.) Postsecondary teacher, 26%, $70,075
2.) Physicians and Surgeons, 5.7%, $127,125
3.) Physical Sciences, 5.2%, $89,425
4.) Lawyers and Judges, 4.7%, $91,900
5.) Education Administrators, 4.6%, $86,625
6.) Other Managers, 3.7%, $116,750
7.) Psychologists, 3.5%, $62,875
8.) Medical Scientists, 3.5%, $81,475
9.) Pharmacists, 2.6%, $108,950
10.) Chief Executives, 2.1%, $128,275
Top Ten Occupations, Professional Degrees
1.) Lawyers and Judges, 31.5%, $100,800
2.) Physicians and Surgeons, 22.8%, $154,300
3.) Dentists, 3.4%, $100,875
4.) Elementary and Middle School Teachers, 2.8%, $57,300
5.) Pharmacists, 2.3%, $110,500
6.) Veterinarians, 2.1%, $74,525
7.) Accountants and Auditors, 1.7%, $80,075
8.) Other Managers, 1.7%, $96,825
9.) Post-secondary Teachers, 1.6%, $72,975
10.) Registered Nurses, 1.5%, $68050
But you can only make more if you can find a job, right?
Overall jobs requiring Doctoral, Professional, and Master’s degrees are expanding faster than others.
% change 2012-2022:
Doctoral or Professional Degree:+16%
Master’s degree: +18.4%
Bachelor’s Degree: +12.1%
While many fields are expanding, many will have just a few thousand extra openings in the next 10 years.
That’s not to say a graduate degree won’t help you, whatever your job.
Best Outlooks for Grad School Jobs:
4/10 best jobs of 2012
#2 Software Developer
#5 Database Administrator
#6 Web Developer
#7 Computer Systems Analyst
Fastest growing healthcare jobs:
1.) Biomedical engineer
2.) Dental hygienist
3.) Occupational therapist
5.) Physical Therapist
Whatever you do, more education can’t hurt, but it’s nice to know the facts before sacrificing resources for grad school.