Post # 1
So my life has been going amazing so far, we bought our home last year, were married in September and I have an amazing job I love. The one thing however that I always thought I would do was complete my Masters. I have my undergrad in History and want to work in the museums field. I already have a job semi in that field but as I work closely with other museums and galleries, more and more people seem to have their Masters. So I applied to do distance education to get my Masters so I can keep working in my job and today I received my letter of offer! I am starting to get nervous that it wont pay off since I am already working in my field. For all you bees out there with a Master’s, have you found it has helped you further your career? I am really hoping to hear from others to help with my big decision.
Post # 2
I have my BS and MS in electrical engineering and it hasn’t helped me in my job. It would make my resume look better if I were looking for a new job, but since I stayed at the same company, it hasn’t done anything for me. As for the knowledge gained, the formal training hasn’t help either since I think on the job training/learning goes much further than any classroom lessons. But since work paid for the whole thing, there was no question for me to do it.
Post # 3
Congrats! I techincually have 2. One masters in a social science field which hasn’t helped me at all (it was free) after I went to law school which essentially tripled my income. I think you need to ask people in your field if they thought it was necessary, if the concencus is yes, and you’ll be able to pay off your degree go for it! As an aside try to negotiate for as much scholarship money as possible.
Post # 4
I am applying for a master’s in a field tangentially related to my original bachelor’s. Here is what I found from polling my friends with master’s degrees.
Most regret it. It was an extra expense, they aren’t working in that specific field (most were in psychology, English or related like journalism, or history), and it didn’t improve their ability to get hired in any field.
It seemed the only people who didn’t regret it were people working in very specific fields that essentially required it (social work, nursing, certain STEM fields), and even then some ended up quitting the field eventually and then finding it not helpful.
So I ultimately came to the conclusion that you should only do it if it is required for your field (not nice to have…actually required) or you have a deep passion for the area of study and it is a labor of love (I fall into the latter category). If you do it thinking it’s going to drastically boost your earning potential in a liberal arts field, you’re likely to end up fairly disappointed. You will probably want to ask your coworkers and people in your field for more guidance.
Post # 5
Mine definitely did. I’m a wildlife biologist and you pretty much need a MS in order to have a permanent, benefits, “real job”. In the sciences schooling is usually free in exchange for being a teaching assistant and/or research assistant, so that makes it easier. It’s still fucking hard to do a MS though!
in your case, I would weigh what benefits you’d get from it. If you wanted to change jobs, would a masters help significantly? Would a masters eventually help you earn more money in your current job? How much would your debt be? Could you juggle doing graduate school and working full-time?
All in all, I think a masters is really great in a field where it’s fairly necessary, and perhaps not worth it in a field where it’s less necessary and the degree costs a lot.
Post # 6
Since most of the people in your field have their masters, it seems like getting your masters would give you a little more job security in your field.
I did my masters concurrently with my graduate/professional degree. It didn’t really make a definite difference in my career, but I appreciate the extra learning and perspective. It was also helpful that doing the extra degree didn’t require extra tuition.
Post # 7
I have an MA but I haven’t reentered the job market yet and can’t really say how useful it will be. I can say, though, that I wouldn’t have gone for an MA in the humanities a) if I had to pay for it, and b) if it wasn’t from a well-respected school in my field.
I know too many people working low-paying nonprofit type jobs (including at museums) but carrying 100k in grad school loans. I’d strongly recommend applying to funded programs, e.g. those that offer fellowships or at least have opportunities to be hired as a TA or research assistant.
Also, distance education is often not taken very seriously, so I’d be careful to make sure that the school you’re considering has a solid reputation in your field. Lastly, beyond its reputation, I’d really consider how much you think you’ll get out of a distance education program. Some people love them, but all my experience with online classes has been horrible, and they have notoriously low completion rates.
Post # 8
I have two friends with MAs in museum studies– both history majors, too!. The first worked for a major museum for years (and hussled with part-time jobs for a long time to afford to take that position– babysitting or waiting tables at night or on the weekends). She started to be mentored in the field and eventually went to a major university on our city part time for her MA. With the degree, she now works as a true, titled curator and loves it.
The second was a history major I knew from undergrad. She went straight from college to grad school (a very good one, as well), but seemed to havve had a hard time launching her career. She now works for a local historical society after a long period of working outside of her field.
The two other friends I have in major museums both do not have MAs. From my limited experience, this is a job that is a lot more about who you know– you have to put in the grunt work and work your way up in the museum. Once you start moving up, you will be told to go get it, but I wouldn’t get it hoping that it will open new doors for you.
I’d ask people in the field that you trust. It is a BIG expense for a job that doesn’t pay very well. You should know, going in, that you will at least have that job!
Post # 9
Thanks everyone for your input! I am deffinetly weighing all the different options. I am lucky to have a job in my feild and am making my contacts, I just was wondering if that was enough. I have asked my coworkers and mentors and it is all mixed. I wouldn’t be going into debt for this degree, but I would be paying for it myself. I have a lot to consider and your comments are appreciated!
Post # 10
So I’m halfway through a fast track masters program. I’m 32. I got married last October and this was a bucket list item that I needed to check off before it was too late. It was something I always pictured myself doing as well. I will be the first person in my family to get my masters and I do think it will be a big accomplishment when I am able to finish. I’m not going to lie, it is HARD and I am doing very well but I do question if it will be worth it in the end like I’m imagining… I am taking out a loan to pay for it but my salary will go up so it will work itself out…I will be proud of myself that I did it when it’s all done so I guess that’s what matters. Good luck Bee!
Post # 11
What field would the MA be in and what job are you hoping to get at the end of it?
Post # 12
Mid-masters program here. Getting my MS. Hard work, especially with working full-time. Necessary, however for the next stage in my career – Nurse Practioner. 3 years of work & 60k of debt. And I will still have to become board certified before i can practice. I had always planned on getting my doctorate, but I don’t know if I’ll continue after my master’s. It’d be nice to have my terminal degree, though. Might even trot out Dr. Jannigirl for the yearly christmas card.
My husband has his MBA, and I do think it has helped him in his career.
Post # 13
mrsnitti17 : I have a Master of Teaching, and I’m a teacher, so it did help because my undergraduate degree is not in education. Next year I’m starting a Master of Education in Gifted and Talented, which I hope will help in terms of leadership opportunities and jobs outside of classroom teaching.
Post # 14
It bums me out that people seem to feel their education is only worthwhile if it helped them in a career. Knowledge is indeed valuable for its own sake.
Post # 15
OP, your poll is missing one important response: Has your Master’s helped you live a more fulfilling life? I’d vote yes.