In today's professional world, a master's degree in your field is has increasingly become a prerequisite for advancement.
A master's degree is an investment of time and money. Sometimes it involves more sacrifices than you or loved ones made during your undergraduate years.
There are many ways to earn your master's – through traditional day classes, evening classes and online.
Still, earning a master's is often more of a challenge than earning your undergraduate degree. Chances are you're working full time and have a family.
You may still be paying off your undergraduate college loans.
There may not be a nearby college that offers the program you want or need.
You're not sure when to take the leap into graduate school world.
The bottom line, though, is that this investment places you a step ahead of your colleagues when it comes to advancement in your job or profession. Your current and future employers see that you care enough to learn even more about your field. You've put time and money into your career because you're passionate about it.
Earning your master's is rewarding, both personally and financially. In the lifelong scheme of things, it's worth the effort.
We're here to help with articles from leading experts in the field answering the very real questions you have and helping solve some of the problems you face.
Looking back over your undergraduate years you might remember your freshman year as one of learning how to live away from home, parties, making friends, confusion about what you want to major in, finding structure.
Our country's higher education system has continuously evolved over the past 20 years. According to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, 36% of adults ages 25 to 34 had earned at least a bachelor's degree. By comparison, in 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that only 27% of adults had earned a bachelor's degree or higher. There is a general trend showing we are becoming better educated as more of us graduate high school, and go on to college to earn a bachelor's degree.
This year, for the first time, the number of women and men enrolled in graduate schools in the United States topped the three-million mark. That's up from fewer than one million in 1990. And the trajectory is steady. About three-and-a-half million will be in graduate school by 2024 with enrollment increases projected every year between now and then by the U.S. Department of Education.
Two decades ago, when I began teaching at the graduate level in an MBA program, virtually all students were "working adults," The average age was typically in the 30s and 40s and the majority of students came into the program with an undergraduate degree in a related discipline and were working in the field that, more or less, was related to that discipline. Most MBA students were mid-level accountants, marketing professionals, managers, or business owners looking to obtain the credentials and knowledge that would allow them to move up the proverbial "corporate ladder."
Choosing a college will be one of the biggest decisions in your life. Once you've decided to take the plunge into higher education, you must decide which school is right for you. College is a huge investment of both time and money, so choosing the right school is essential in meeting your personal, financial, and professional goals.
Meet Our Authors
Dr. Kate Jellema
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
Marlboro College in Vermont
Dr. David M. Setley
Eugene C. Fish Endowed Professor of Business
Associate Professor and Chairperson
Director, Master of Business Administration
Lebanon Valley College
Department of Business and Economics
Kelley Jacobs is passionate about education and helping others navigate the higher education system. Kelley is an avid researcher with experience in qualitative and quantitative research as well as program evaluation.