An Advanced Degree Doesn’t Mean More Pay or A Senior Position

An advanced degree is not always enough

Most reputable graduate schools require some years of experience before considering applicants.  I know this may be different for other areas including teaching or social work.  But generally speaking don’t presume that because you have an advanced degree that it will translate into additional income or a  senior position.  Before forking over the  funds associated with matriculation into a graduate program, consider if the pay raise you may earn merits  the thousands of dollars you will inevitably spend to obtain those additional credentials.  If you decide to pursue a graduate degree no matter your field, recognize that it does not replace “real work” experience.  A person with a master’s degree and minimal relevant work experience will be compensated accordingly.  In most cases you will only be eligible for an  entry-level positions within your field.  Master’s degrees are usually best for those who have some work experience and wish to use the degree to advance in that same area or pivot into a different profession.   

 If you know you want an advanced degree consider the same principles  for securing a full-time offer at the undergraduate level also apply at the graduate level: take nothing for granted, you will have to attend events, meet representatives at career fairs, get involved, maintain a strong professional net work and  polish your resume and interview skills.  I think advance degrees are  generally a good idea, however don’t expect that the degree will automatically translate into greater opportunities.  A colleague of mine once recounted how her students would tout the fact that they had MBA’s and should be able to get a job. Her response to this attitude:  ” Congrats! Now get in line with  the thousands of others who have the same degree”.   No matter what degree you decide to pursue you must always consider that you will have to exert some effort in finding employment, the degree is rarely ever enough.


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