If you’re planning on applying to graduate school or are already attending, you may struggle with the decision of how far to take your education. What are the advantages of obtaining a terminal degree? Do you really want to spend years in school to get a doctorate? Will you be better off in the long run to stop with a master’s? The answers to these questions depend on your individual career goals and interests. Some important points to help you decide:
Pursue a master’s degree if …
– You want to become qualified for more jobs in your industry.
– You want to increase your earning potential.
– You are interested in teaching at a community or technical college, or as a lecturer/instructor at a four-year university.
– Wish to finish your education within the next two to three years.
– You are more interested in working in industry rather than academia.
Pursue a PhD if…
– You want to conduct research in your field of study.
– You want to work as a professor at a four year college or university.
– You have an intense interest in a specific area of study.
– You love learning and don’t mind going to school for several more years.
– You are willing to relocate for jobs and research opportunities.
– There are lucrative job opportunities for PhD holders in your field.
In general, those seeking a PhD are willing to sacrifice time and money in order to pursue their interests. PhD holders can make high salaries, especially consultants or industry executives. However, pursuing a doctorate often means working for modest wages for many years or even decades. If you are committed to becoming an expert in your field and overseeing research, a PhD may be the best choice. If you don’t have the patience to spend five or more years obtaining a graduate degree but want to increase your career prospects, a master’s degree is a good option. You can always return to school later to pursue a terminal degree.