Should I do a masters or get a job? 3 important factors to consider.

Many university or college graduates are considering getting a Master's or PhD degree once they graduated from their Bachelor's degree. For most of them, this choice wouldn't pay off. Let’s consider 3 important factors why this is the case.

1. A Master's will not help you get you a job.

Master's degrees are highly regarded by employers. However, holding a master's qualification won't guarantee you a job. For technical positions such as a lawyer or teacher, a master's degree is essential while for many others it may be helpful to check entry requirements for the particular roles.

Often, having work experience trumps getting a master's: If you don't have work experience, you may not be qualified for higher-level positions. Those who go straight to graduate school often find themselves being overqualified for entry-level positions but being underqualified for higher-level positions.

2. A technical degree may be more practical than a general degree

There are many types of master's degree available: Some are general degrees that are applicable to almost all industries, such as a degree in business management. These degrees offer a good foundation which can lead to careers in a large variety of functions and disciplines.

However, many managers now look for graduates with technical degrees. For example, degrees in agriculture, engineering and information technology are high demand in the marketplace. By pursuing a technical degree in a more specific area of expertise, the candidate will have an edge over others with a general degree.

You should check the job market first to see what are the entry requirements for the position. You may speak to professionals in the industry, or speak to an academic counselor before you apply. You can also ask the school for statistics on job placement to see where recent graduates were placed.

Increasingly, schools are offering general degrees with a specialist or technical stream. If you cannot decide which route to pursue, you may consider these to kill two birds with one stone.

3. Practical experience may be more beneficial

When you pursue your Master's degree, not only do you have to prepare for tuition, but you also have to give up your time which could be used generating income.

Is this massive opportunity cost worth it? Generally, master's degree graduates earn more than their undergraduate counterparts. Many applicants had a misconception that getting a master's degree will automatically help them earn more. However, you must think about why you want to get a Master's degree before pursuing further, as holding a master's degree will only help if it is related to what you are doing as your career goal. You need to consider everything in your career plan, and whether or not the master's study is a significant boost above your existing credentials.

Part-time programs exist for this very reason. You could gain real world experience while getting your degree at the same time. In part-time study mode, students usually have to commit 20 hours a week to their studies, which usually take place in the evenings or weekends. Other modes of studying are available, such as blended learning, which combines classroom sessions with online learning; block mode learning, which is an intense face-to-face study over a short period; and distance learning, which you could complete from home at your own time. However, be skeptical when getting an online degree, and check the reputation of the online university before you submit your application.

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