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Will an Online Master's Degree Really Advance Your Career?

Posted by Adrienne Erin
Adrienne Erin
Adrienne is a freelance writer who is always interested in learning and writing
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Whether you're a recent graduate or a seasoned employee, you may be wondering if a higher degree will help you advance in your career. There are certainly many benefits to obtaining an online graduate degree, including personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. A Master’s won’t always help you professionally, though. If you're mainly considering a Master's for career advancement, ask yourself these questions before you start applying to schools.

Can I Get a Job Without a Master's?

For recent grads in this economy, it can be very difficult just to get a foot in the door. Entry-level positions in many industries are cutthroat, and there are often hundreds of applicants for a single opening. If you're having trouble finding a job, an online graduate degree may give you the edge you need.

On the other hand, you'll save thousands of dollars and years of your time if can get a job without a Master's. You may also consider getting internship to get some experience. Even if it's unpaid, you won't be paying tuition.

Does My Dream Job Require a Master's Degree?

Some jobs simply require a graduate education. If you really want be a lawyer, physician's assistant or psychiatrist, you may need an advanced degree just to get started.

That doesn't mean graduate school will guarantee a job, though. Be smart and check the employment stats for these jobs before you invest in more elearning. You should also consider internships or job shadowing before you start taking classes. It won't do you any good to discover you don't want to be a doctor after you’ve finished med school.

Will a Master's Give Me a Better Salary?

In some professions, such as teaching, starting salaries automatically go up if you have a Master's. In others, however, companies will not compensate Master's graduates any higher than qualified Bachelor's grads. It really depends on the industry, and you'll probably need to do some research.

If you've always dreamed of working as a counselor at the 12 Palms addiction rehab center, check the going rate for Bachelor's versus Master's degree holders. Sites like glassdoor.com offer a lot of helpful information.

Will an Online Master's Substitute for Experience?

If you've already found a stable job in your chosen profession, you may be wondering if a Master's degree will help you climb the corporate ladder. In many cases, it will, but only if you're smart about the degree you choose. If you work as a healthcare consultant, for example, a Master's in art history may not do you much good, but an MBA could open a lot of doors.

In any case, you should never assume that a Master's will guarantee a higher salary or a better job. Like many skills, a higher degree is only beneficial is you're smart about how you use it.

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Adrienne is a freelance writer who is always interested in learning and writing more about online education and e-learning.


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