ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS: SHOULD YOU GET A MASTER’S DEGREE?

The requirements for more education keep changing. Where once a two-year degree was enough to qualify you for many jobs, now even a four-year degree is often second-rate. You may not even be in consideration for many jobs unless you have a graduate degree. At the same time, some careers are moving away from master’s degrees. How do you know what direction to take?

WHEN YOU NEED A MASTER’S DEGREE

Some career choices require a master’s degree. For instance, if you want to teach in a bachelor degree program, you need a master’s degree or higher. Many medical careers require an advanced degree as well. If you are considering going in this direction with your career, you want to think about how much education is needed before you begin.

Don’t forget to look at trends. Even if you do not need a master’s degree in your field now, find out if the majority of students are getting one. This will give you an indication of what will be required in the future. You don’t want to go to school, graduate, get a job and then be obsolete in a few years because new students all have a higher degree than you.

WHEN YOU DON’T NEED A MASTER’S DEGREE

Some fields don’t require an advanced degree and probably never will. Those careers are the ones that accept two-year degrees or pay four-year graduates a high rate. You probably can’t find many programs even in the best online colleges for these industries, but it’s worth a look if school really isn’t your thing.

CONSIDER YOUR FUTURE PLANS

Think about where you want to be in five or 10 years or even longer. Will you want to be in the exact same career, or do you hope to advance? You may want to think about what those career choices require for education. While you can always go back to school later and find some fantastic accredited online colleges to further your degree, it is often easier to do it now before you have additional responsibilities.

For example, you probably don’t need a master’s degree to teach elementary or high school. But what if someday you want to move out of direct teaching and become a professor in a college or find another career path in education? That master’s degree might be important then.

Even if you aren’t sure where you want to go right now, think about your education options in terms of the future. Visit a site like “College Vault” and find out what online degree programs are offered in your area of interest. Determine how many extra credits are needed and how long it would take to get an advanced degree.

All of this information can help you make the best decision about pursuing a master’s degree now, in the future or not at all. The best time to plan your future career path is early on so you will be less likely to regret the decisions you make in the future.