When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Go to Grad School
Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated November 2010
Why right now is an idea time to explore a graduate degree or an MBA
Economists report that the so-called Great Recession is waning. But if you’re like most people, then you’re still struggling with long-term career questions, unemployment, financial constraints, or all of the above.
Unfortunately, the job market’s recovery is expected to lag. After a major recession, job prospects usually don’t improve for at least a year or two. In the present case, experts say, the rebound might be even slower.
In the meantime, graduate school
is a smart strategy for unemployed or under
employed professionals. Rather than fight the discouraging job search odds, you can use the current employment lull to your advantage. Dedicate the next few years to a Masters
, or an MBA
. By the time employers start hiring again, you’ll be poised to land a stable, well-paying job.
Graduate school provides many professional advantages, including:
Increased earning power
The data clearly shows that additional education leads to higher earnings. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, lifetime salaries increase by $200,000 to $400,000 when a Masters
degree is in effect. For PhDs
and other doctoral degrees, the payout is even higher. And graduate students who complete professional degrees – in law
, for example – earn nearly one million dollars more than colleagues with just an undergraduate degree.
Increased job satisfaction
Money experts do advise that certain career paths are more improved by grad school than others. MBAs
and professional degrees are always
a smart investment, with proven returns. Computer science
degrees are also particularly lucrative. But even if you’re interested in a Masters degree in liberal arts
or social work
, your earnings will still be better than whatever you might yield with just an undergraduate degree. Plus, you’ll be qualified for bigger and better assignments.
These days, unemployment is affecting the country’s best and brightest professionals. In turn, the current pool of job applicants is more competitive than ever before. If you don’t have a Masters
degree, you probably won’t make the cut. And even if you’re lucky enough to land a good job, your income and your advancement opportunities will always be limited.
If you completed your undergraduate degree many years ago, or if you did so half-heartedly, you may be discovering that your chosen major isn’t as rewarding or as marketable as you’d hoped. It’s not too late to change your focus. Many graduate programs
are interested in career changers and late-bloomers. In fact, your previous field of study can usually complement and enhance your new pursuits.
Without a satisfying job, you’ll lose mental acuity. You might even start to question your own intelligence and potential. Graduate school is a smart way to stay sharp, while your peers are working part-time and collecting unemployment. Career counselors stress that graduate school
is more than just a diversion during tough economic times. Confidence and fresh thinking can be two of your best assets, when the job market turns around.
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