School Options

For many professionals, going back to school to pursue a master’s degree or some other certification is considered the least appealing option when faced with unemployment. Many people see it as merely a last ditch effort when the job hunt fails. Combine the tuition cost with the idea they may need to put their job search on hold, and it’s easy to see why people avoid returning to the classroom. But increased class options and the higher earning potential associated with an advanced degree show why it could be worth the effort.

Higher earning potential

A study from Georgetown University showed that depending on their industry, those with a master’s degree earned an average of $13,000-$32,000 more per year compared to those with a bachelor’s degree. If you extrapolate that out 10 years or more, it’s easy to see why a master’s degree could pay off handsomely in the long-run. The key is finding a program that will meet your professional needs and be structured so that you can graduate quickly and start earning that higher income.

Online-only education

There are a number of universities that offer curriculum exclusively online and market themselves as the perfect option for both working professionals and those balancing family obligations. While many do offer a competitive education that prepares students well for the job market, it’s important to consider how future employers will view these schools. Making sure a program is accredited and has a good reputation can make a difference once you graduate. If your schedule allows, more and more traditional universities are tailoring programs that combine both online and in-person sessions to better facilitate non-traditional students. These programs can be a great way to pursue a degree from a more recognizable university.

Career-focused programs

Along with offering different ways to take classes, schools are also offering more career-specific programs such as healthcare communications and supply chain management. University officials hope these programs will appeal to students already well-versed in their industries who are looking for a particularly focused curriculum. These programs can offer job seekers a leg up into positions they are already qualified for and put them at the top of the candidate pool.

Deciding to go back to school is a major investment and a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. But with the wealth of options available and the opportunity to increase your earning power, it may be the move you needed all along.

Below you will find additional information and resources about pursuing advanced degrees:

Georgetown University study on earning differential between majors and degrees

Five things to consider before going back to school

List of master’s degree programs in the U.S.

Guide to online graduate degrees by area of study