Dr. Ree Langham
August 12, 2018
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2017, approximately 21 million people enrolled in a secondary graduate program. Before you make the jump, consider carefully the pros and cons of graduate school.
People enroll in graduate school for a variety of reasons – i.e. a love of the field, career advancement, curiosity, a higher future pay, etc. Some even enroll out of boredom or to delay entering the “real world.” Keep in mind, the field you plan to enter plays a major role in whether or not graduate school will be beneficial for you. And, while some fields require an advanced degree, others may not.
For instance, if you want to become a physician, psychiatrist, attorney, clinical social worker, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, psychologist, veterinarian, dentist, judge, etc., you will need to obtain an advanced degree (along with a certification and/or a license) to practice. However, if you want to become a CPA (specialized accountant), a computer programmer, or a retail or warehouse manager, an advanced degree, like a master’s degree or doctorate may not be needed.
While it can be tough trying to decide, if getting a grad degree is right for you, the best thing you can do is research your chosen field and the job market (past, current, and future) for your area. Also, talk to others in your field – employees and hiring managers for tips and a “real world” perspective of what you should expect, once you enter it. Grad degrees are most definitely needed and even “required” in some fields – but not in others. So, determine your reason for wanting to get a grad degree and base your decision on that.
If you want to get a grad degree because you are passionate about the field – that’s great. Go for it! But, if you are solely trying to gain more money, for instance, as an elementary school teacher, you may not receive a good return on your investment. Remember, this is your life, so make sure you are making the right decisions for your future.