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7 Signs It’s Time to Pursue Your Graduate Degree

7 Signs It’s Time to Pursue Your Graduate Degree

Are you sick of your daily grind? Wish you could move to a better neighborhood with better schools for your kids? Had you hoped to garner more respect in your career? You don’t have to slog through an exhausting work day or feel you’re not living up to your potential forever. The right graduate program can reinvigorate your career, help you earn more money, and turn work into a place you’re excited to go. Whether you’re hoping to change fields entirely or excited to climb the corporate ladder, here are some signs that it’s time to pursue your graduate degree. 

You’ve Hit a Career Ceiling

Organizational bureaucracy can be frustrating. No matter how good you are at your job, you might not be able to advance to the next level without an advanced degree. Some workplaces require that all managers attend graduate school. Others mandate graduate training for certain salary brackets. If you’re thriving in your career but find that your advancement has stalled, this is a clear signal that a graduate program could jumpstart things. 

You Need to Make More Money

More money opens more doors—to better schools, a better house, more vacations, more downtime, more help, and so much more. In 2019, median weekly earnings with a master’s degree were $1,497, which is $249 more than with a bachelor’s degree. This increase in earnings adds up over time. With these figures, you could earn nearly $130,000 more over 10 years. This means that starting earlier can help you reap greater financial benefits over the life of your career.

If budgeting and asking for a raise aren’t working, then maybe the problem isn’t how you ask your boss for more money or how you manage the money you have. Maybe your lack of advanced training is holding you back. You can fix that now. 

You Want to Begin a New Career 

Do you like how you spend your days? If you work full-time, work takes up a third of each day. Factor in commuting, overtime, late-night emails, and work stress, and work can easily become the primary focus of your life. Make sure you’re expending all that energy on something you actually enjoy. 

Many professions require a master’s degree. For example, if you want to become a licensed mental health counselor, you’ll need to complete a graduate program. Even if a job doesn’t require a master’s degree, though, advanced training can make you a more competitive candidate. If you’re new to a particular field, your education is a good substitute for career experience and may help you get your foot in the door. 

Considering an MBA? Get a glimpse into life after graduation in our guide, The  Ultimate Career Roadmap for MBA Graduates, here.

You Want to Start Your Own Business 

People of all backgrounds and experience levels start their own businesses every day. A graduate program is not a requirement. However, in some fields, advanced training can make you a much more competitive entrepreneur. That’s especially true if you hope to become a consultant. Your clients will hire you for your knowledge and experience; a master’s degree lends significant credibility. 

The right master’s program may also help you gain the skills you need to run your own business. An MBA offers significant training in business management, which can help you get your business off the ground. 

You Need More Training to Do Your Job 

A master’s degree is more than just a piece of paper that can open career doors. It offers rigorous, in-depth training in your chosen field. If you constantly struggle at work or feel like you seek solutions for on-the-job problems while coming up short, a graduate program may help. Teachers, for example, can master better classroom management, while business professionals can learn the art and science of running and growing a company. 

Don’t dismiss a degree as a mere certificate of completion. Your classes help you cultivate new skills while strengthening the attributes you already have. Talking through workplace problems with your peers can help you gain a new perspective that supports greater flexibility, innovation, and creativity. 

You Want More Credibility and Authority

Knowledge isn’t the only thing that can help you thrive in a competitive market. The appearance of knowledge is just as important. Even if you’re an expert in your field, you may not get the credit you deserve without additional training. A master’s degree can help silence the people who talk over you in meetings and ensure that screeners don’t ignore your resume. Even a master’s degree in a field unrelated to your current job can elevate your stature and make you seem more authoritative. Moreover, the right school will help you learn how to cultivate a confident, authoritative persona so that you can put your knowledge to work for your company in a way that also advances your own interests. 

You Want to Ascend the Corporate Ladder 

If you want a role in management, especially at a larger corporation, you may need an MBA or an advanced degree in your chosen field. Even if your company does not strictly require a certain type of professional training, a graduate degree can still get you closer to your professional goals. That’s because many companies offer higher pay to people who have completed a graduate program. Others will promote you more quickly or perceive you as more knowledgeable. If you’re not advancing as quickly as you want to or your pay is low for your position, a graduate program might rectify that. 

Questions to Ask Yourself

Still uncertain whether a graduate program is the right next move? If the answer to several of these is “yes,” then it might be time to begin shopping for schools: 

  • Are you eager to change careers?
  • Could you make more money with a master’s degree? 
  • Do you have dreams of running your own consulting company? 
  • Does your dream career require graduate training? 
  • Are you consistently struggling to make ends meet because you don’t make enough money? 
  • Do you want more job security
  • Do you want to command more authority and seem more credible at work? 
  • Are you tired of people with advanced degrees getting promoted while you are passed over? 
  • Does your workplace require graduate degrees for certain roles? 
  • Do you want to become a manager? 
  • Are you eager to learn more about your chosen field? 
  • Do you need to make more professional connections? 
  • Does your workplace offer financial assistance for students who go back to college? 
  • Do you have support from family or friends who can help with your children or other responsibilities? 

Graduate School: More Accessible Than You Realize 

If you know you could benefit from a return to school, you’re probably worried about how school will fit into your life. Adult learners need graduate programs tailored to their unique needs. SNU offers flexible options, including one-night-a-week classes and online-only training. We also work with you to make school more affordable. Almost all of our students get financial assistance, thanks to our supportive and diligent financial aid office. In some cases, you might even be eligible for student loan forgiveness, making the path toward your dream job easier than ever before!

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