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Compelling Reasons to Skip Graduate School
The Higher Education Tier-Cake
Surprisingly, many individuals do not understand a graduate degree. Perhaps it would be best to look at college/higher education like a tiered wedding cake.
(“Up here,” people are in residencies, etc.)
***Doctorate Degree (Law, Medical, Professor, etc.)***
**Master’s Degree (Many areas: Education, Social Work, Marketing, etc.)**
*College Foundation is Bachelor’s Degree, B.A./B.S. (in the Sciences or in the Arts)*
Associate, Industrial, & Technical Degrees in specific employs (i.e. IT or Child Care)
[And here you have the base of a high school education}
Supporting the Universities?
There are those persons who would argue that most of the higher tiers of learning are structured mainly to keep our universities and colleges afloat financially. Obviously, it takes a pretty healthy budget to operate the many facets of a college campus. A testament to this are the numerous philanthropic entities and efforts after graduation that encourage all alumni to continue financial support to their alma mater (your graduating college; term is derived from Latin meaning “fostering mother.”
The “Powers That Be”
Certain professions/institutions push mandates on their employees (based on the economics of human resources supply and demand). A prevalent institution that supports this dogma is the world of education (e.g. public school teachers). Depending on the rate of teacher supply and demand, each state’s Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB) can make the decision to require their teachers to continue their graduate education through at least the Master’s degree in order to renew their teaching credentials. States that suffer from almost perpetual teacher shortages, such as Texas, will likely never be able to require their teachers to make such a potentially superfluous journey while also teaching full-time. Certainly, extra education is admirable and commendable; and although it should be a factor in determining each educator’s pay scale, to make it a condition of continued employment is questionable. After all, teachers already spend a required number of hours each year in professional development (PD) to keep up with current teaching strategies and pedagogy. Some states are beginning to see that they are losing or failing to attract very qualified teachers to their state due to this restriction.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Hence, what about you? Here are some likely reasons to seek a graduate degree:
- You’re on an obvious track to medical school, law school, or a targeted profession such as School Administrator
- You live in a state that requires ongoing education to maintain your current position, e.g. public school teaching or nursing
- A Master’s Degree would give you a competitive edge specifically in your targeted job or job market, e.g. advertising or architecture
Examine Some Practical Numbers and Statistics
You may choose to do some empirical research to see if salary ranges are truly beneficial based on holding a higher degree. In many cases, it is likely that there is not a significant difference.
Furthermore, it would also be prudent to do some real number crunching comparing these scenarios:
- How much time and money is graduate school going to cost you, including the time spent studying instead of working?
- Compare and contrast the above statement with how much you would earn with your bachelor’s degree in the amount of time and money you’d invest in that Master’s Degree.
There are those “perpetual” students who truly enjoy attending higher education, always learning and reaching new tiers. If that is you and you can afford it time and money-wise, by all means don’t let anyone stop you.
Conversely, if you are weighing both sides of this “coin,” make a two-sided chart and compare numbers and time. Be sure to consider the above information as it applies to your particular situation.
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