Master’s Degrees By the Numbers

Master's degree infographic

Your view of a Master’s degree program and its benefits will vary depending on which stage of your life you choose to return to school. Lifelong learners may see it as a natural extension of their ongoing education, while those who are career-focused may view it as a high-risk, high-reward proposition. No matter which group you fall into, you’ll want to crunch the numbers before making your decision. A closer look at the accompanying infographic will tell you whether a Master’s is worth the investment.

 

Which Master’s degree is right for you?

 

Are you looking to jumpstart your business career, or are you eyeing post-graduate research at a university? There are more than 80 titles of Master’s degrees, and answering questions like this one will inch you closer to deciding which degree is right for you.

 

How much time do you have?

 

Commonly, a Master’s degree program is two years — about half the length of a Bachelor’s program. That doesn’t mean it’s easier. Your focus stays solely on the subject (and specialization) you wish to pursue, but you have to decide how to balance a heavy school load with work and family.

 

How will you pay for it?

 

For many students, this question will be the determining factor when it comes to graduate school. You’ll want to research the cost of your chosen Master’s program, and decide whether it’s more affordable to pursue your degree online instead of at a traditional campus. You’ll also want to know how much you can borrow in federal loans, which an estimated 39 percent of graduate students use to finance their educations.

 

Will your Master’s make the difference now? Or later?

 

Does your occupation demand a Master’s degree? Some workers can be successful throughout their entire careers with a Bachelor’s degree. Before you make your decision, you should know whether a Master’s degree will make the difference you want it to, and know how much competition you’re facing in your field. For example, out of the 752,000 Master’s graduates in 2012-13, about 25 percent were business students, and 22 percent were education students. If that’s your competition, you should consider graduate school, even if you go later in life. The average graduate student is 32 years old, so they’ve got a leg up on the younger generation, which is comprised of far fewer Master’s recipients.

 

Knowledge is power, in any stage of life. Knowing all you can about the Master’s degree as a whole, as well as the program you want to pursue, will help you make the right decision about whether now is the right time to earn your degree.

 

Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.

 

References

 

Master's Degrees. (2008). Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-structure-us.html

 

Career Outlook: Should I get a master’s degree? (2015, September 1). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm

 

Clinefelter, D. L., & Aslanian, C. B. (2015). Online college students 2015: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.

 

The Condition of Education: Graduate Degree Fields. (2015, April). Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_ctb.asp

 

Failure is Not an Option. Par. 12. (2012, April). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/education/edlife/failure-is-not-an-option.html?_r=1

 

Fast Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=27

 

 

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