If you’re thinking about getting a master’s degree, you’ve already taken the first step toward making yourself stand out. Only 18% of Americans hold this achievement. You’re not just expanding your mind- you’re also opening doors for great future opportunities.

So, should you get a master’s degree? Read on to learn when the answer is no vs when you should say ‘yes’ to going back to school.

Who Should Go for a Master’s?

It goes without saying that the intensity of a master’s program isn’t for everyone. You can’t just Google ‘what is a master’s degree?’ and understand the intensity of getting one. It requires tons of studying and even more discipline.

You probably shouldn’t get a master’s if you:

  • Don’t like studying
  • Aren’t interested in research
  • Struggle to collaborate on projects
  • Have serious problems with public speaking
  • Will need to take out tons of loans
  • Aren’t a fan of travel or going to new places
  • Not extremely passionate about a certain field

Sometimes, people also just don’t go for their master’s because they’re already satisfied with the job they have. That’s also fine. You shouldn’t go back to school unless you’re personally driven to.

Don’t let anyone pressure you into it. You can always change your mind and decide to get a master’s later when you want a change.

However, if you don’t fall into these categories, getting a master’s in your favorite subject is probably an awesome idea! Here’s why.

They’re Fun to Get

People who pursue MAs and MSs usually do it because they love a specific topic. Whether you want to learn more about linguistics or differential calculus, you’re going to get to engage a lot with your topic of choice.

This means none of the annoying gen ed classes you had to take in undergrad. You’ll spend your days studying something that you’re already in love with.

You’ll also have a lot of time to talk with other people who share your passion. Master’s students tend to be closer to professors than undergrads because of the close proximity of their research. You’ll get to discuss new ideas with leading and well-respected experts in your field.

Pretty cool, huh?

To top it all off, you’ll be able to meet other students who share your interests. These might be future colleagues that you’ll collaborate with on papers and projects. They also might just be lifelong friends that you have a lot in common with.

You Learn Real World Skills

Master’s programs teach you real-world skills that undergrad just can’t. While you might have some healthy study habits from previous degrees, you probably don’t have the strong study skills you need to make it in academia. Advanced fields take a lot of research, and you’ll need to research papers and eventually even books.

These publications would be tough if you didn’t have strong study skills!

Another real-world thing you’ll learn in a master’s program is collaboration. You’re going to need to work closely with professors, TAs, and other students. Projects and tests won’t be individual anymore. You’ll need to work together to find practical solutions to problems.

Finally, master’s programs are a great opportunity to go on a new adventure. You’ll be able to live alone and start fresh in a new place. Like every other stage of your life, a master’s program is a great place to find yourself.

You Might Get Awesome Opportunities

Master’s degrees also come with tons of awesome possibilities! You may have done a study abroad in undergrad, in which case you already know what an awesome experience it is.

Master’s programs are even more likely to take you abroad than undergrad ones. You might even get paid for it. This is because you’ll probably be doing research at foreign universities or conducting studies overseas.

Doing this won’t just be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It might open up job opportunities in other parts of the world. Who knows? A master’s program might just be the start of your next adventure.

You’ll Be More Competitive in the Job Market

Because so few people have master’s degrees, it’s something that will really stand out on your resume. You’ll have more high-level careers open up to you. An MA or MS is obviously necessary if you’re looking to go into academia, but it also can help you in any industry.

You can have a more successful career in business, sales, marketing, or beyond with a master’s. You’ll have more knowledge of the workplace and a better understanding of the topic you’re passionate about. Employers love that.

They also love the real-world skills you’ll develop while studying for your master’s. They’ll know that you’re more likely to have these skills than other candidates, so they’ll probably hire you instead

You’ll Probably Get Paid More

Getting a MA or MS makes you more competitive in the job market, but it can also give you a salary boost. When you’re negotiating your rates, you have better grounds to ask for a few thousand more dollars annually than another candidate might get. After all, your skills and expertise will be in high demand.

On average, people who’ve gone to grad school earn about 22% more. This estimate comes from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

This is just a starting salary figure, too. You’re probably going to get raises over time, too, and they’ll be higher than they would be if you just had a bachelor’s degree.

When opportunities for more jobs open up to you, so do the chances of higher pay. After all, your status as a master’s program graduate will be preferred.

Learn More About Getting a Master’s Degree

So, should you get a master’s degree? It depends on your interests and values. For a lot of people, it’s a great idea. You get to learn about your favorite subjects and get a better job later on.

Now that you know some master’s degree basics, it’s time to get more intel on how to succeed in school. Check out the ‘health’ tab on our home page to learn how to take care of yourself amidst the wonderful chaos that is college.

Photo via Unsplash




I've been writing since 2008 about a wide range of topics. I also love making furniture in my spare time, and birdwatching with my wife near our home in southern England.

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