In today's job market, it's difficult to know if getting a master's degree is worthwhile. The time, cost and effort it takes can be daunting, especially for working adults who are in a profession and often have loved ones to provide for at home.
At the same time, is that bachelor's degree you've sat on for five or more years doing anything to further your career and broaden your options?
Here are some things to consider in deciding if a master's degree is right for you.
The time commitment
Long hours, sleepless nights and time spent apart from your loved ones is rough. Naturally, one of the first things to consider in regards to a master's program is the time commitment it will require.
Many programs have traditionally been taught on campus and full time. This makes it difficult to keep working at your job. However, there are many programs built specifically around working adults. This means classes can be attended 100 percent online, or at night after work, making the time commitment easier to swallow.
Universities who offer these classes are committed to your success as a professional and will work with your schedule.
If you are like most working adults in their 30s, you probably still have over $30,000 in student loan debt from your bachelor's degree. There is no question that is a heavy load to bear, especially when starting your career and family. This can make a master's degree all the more intimidating.
However, a master's degree can pay off, literally. Many master's degrees result in a pay increase of 15-23 percent, meaning your degree could pay for itself in just a few years.
To help make it worth your money, do your research about what type of school your employer or potential employers in your field require. Some fully accredited schools will be vastly more affordable than others, while still giving you the same high level of education you need.
The relevance and benefit to your career
Have you ever looked into a master's program, only to leave feeling frustrated it didn't fit your needs as a professional? Some universities are fixing that, by tailoring programs to student needs.
The University College at the University of Denver, for example, has created its entire graduate program to cater to students and their careers. With a variety of available classes, customizing class loads and schedules is a simple process. Additionally, its affordable tuition shows it's focused on aiding, not detracting from, your professional experience.
If you are ready to start this fall but haven't finished (or started) an application, you can attend classes for the quarter while your application is in process.
Because everyone's needs are different, contact the University of Denver for more information on how a master's degree could be right for you.