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Masters degree - is it worth it?

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View Poll Results: Is a masters degree a worthwhile investment?
I have a masters, it is worth it
18
38.30%
I have a masters, it is useless/not worth it
4
8.51%
I don't have a masters, it is worthwhile though
5
10.64%
I don't have a masters, it is a waste of time/money
9
19.15%
Jedi masters training, worthwhile it is, mmmm?
11
23.40%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

Masters degree - is it worth it?

Old 12-28-11, 12:29 AM
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Masters degree - is it worth it?

I recently finished my bachelors degree and have noticed a few other Otters have too. So, my question for all: is a masters degree worth it?

My situation is: bachelors in business management/administration and organizational behavior. The school I went to offers a 13 month masters in organizational behavior program for around $26,000. I can get a 25% discount and my employer will reimburse up to $4,000 in a calendar year (the program spreads over 2 calendar years so I can maximize this).

However, I can't see any immediate benefit. No raise, no promotion at face value. I would think this would open up doors, I just don't see them now.

So is it worth it? What can I do with a masters?
Old 12-28-11, 12:35 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

26000-6500(25%)=19500-8000=11500 one time cost

Lets say 13000 with books and other costs.

Now, will any economist would tell you to discount future payoffs, but I think 13000$ for an increased pay ceiling is a minimal cost.
Old 12-28-11, 12:41 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

These are usually tough decisions. I work in the student lending field currently and have worked in lending as a whole for 9 years. To me, a good barometer would be to add up how much your Bachelor's cost and how much the Master's will cost and determine if, realistically, you could obtain a job with an annual salary that would pay as much or more than that. This isn't necessarily a black-or-white way of analyzing if the benefits outweigh the costs, but if your long-term salary prospects are considerably lower than the cost of the education, that is something to think about. In the short-term, if you will have student loan payments upon graduation, you should find out how much that will be per month and if you can handle that obligation on top of other living expenses with whatever income you will have upon graduation.

If you already have a job that you like, pays the bills, and that the Master's would not really help you advance further, then maybe the Master's isn't something to pursue right now; however, if the employer is offering reimbursement and discounts and the Master's could help you with other employers should you lose your job at some point, you may as well take advantage of it if you have the financial ability to cover what the employer doesn't.

Disclaimer: I'm not a financial adviser, this is just from my experience speaking with other people in similar situations and from analyzing student/education industry data.
Old 12-28-11, 01:05 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

Depends most on:
1) type of degree.
2) how well you did in undergrad.
3) amount of loans from undergrad.

In your case, I guess you should go for it - if you are sure the employer will pay the 4k/year and you wouldn't sweat paying the diff yourself.
Old 12-28-11, 01:12 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

I'm going for a Master's degree. Tuition is cheap in Florida.
Old 12-28-11, 01:22 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
I'm going for a Master's degree. Tuition is cheap in Florida.
Well at UCF You Can't Fail.

(I have two MAs from UCF).
Old 12-28-11, 02:52 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

According to an article at Forbes.com, the best masters degrees are

1. Physician Assistance Studies
2. Computer Science
3. Civil Engineering
4. Mathematics
5. Physics
6. Information Technology
7. Human Resources Management
8. Economics
9. Geology
10. Business (MBA)

The worst:
21. Speech Pathology
22. Accounting
23. Social Work
24. Psychology
25. Library and Information Science
26. Fine Arts
27. Counseling
28. Education
29. English
30. Divinity

Best is defined as providing the best opportunities for pay and employment over the next 10 years.

I had to google 'Organizational Behavior' and I'm guessing the ROI is kinda low i.e. I doubt many employers are looking for people with that degree. If I were you, I'd go for an MBA.

Having said that, I think people can be successful without an advanced degree. I've noticed that those people have certain traits - ambitious, excellent communication and organizational skills, are charismatic and inspirational, and results-driven.
Old 12-28-11, 03:23 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

I found an MBA to be very much worth it, just in terms of how it got you to think. Even if you don't use it as a credential for your job it helps you deal with businesses every day.

One of my areas of emphasis in the program was what was called organizational psychology, which I guess is like organizational behavior. It was very interesting, but very much a subset of an MBA. I would get the MBA.
Old 12-28-11, 03:32 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

Originally Posted by GMan2819 View Post
...If I were you, I'd go for an MBA...
I'd put your time and energy towards obtaining an MBA. If that's not possible (I don't know who offers MBA degrees in our area) then the organizational behavior degree would work; having any masters degree will open up doors and will look good overall.
Old 12-28-11, 05:36 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

in teaching, it's practically a must.
Old 12-28-11, 07:46 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

It has always appeared to me that the people with a bachelor's degree are still doing boring, repetitive work, just for more pay.

I like that Forbes list. When I was a store clerk at B Daltons, I worked with a clerk had a master's degree in Library Science. Six years of college, and he was working at the mall.
Old 12-28-11, 07:51 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

If it's the terminal degree in your field, probably, If it isn't, probably not.
Old 12-28-11, 07:54 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
Depends most on:
1) type of degree.
2) how well you did in undergrad.
3) amount of loans from undergrad.

In your case, I guess you should go for it - if you are sure the employer will pay the 4k/year and you wouldn't sweat paying the diff yourself.
What he said. The only reason I haven't pursued a Masters is because I owe too much on my undergrad...can't afford more debt.
Old 12-28-11, 11:00 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

I got a Master's Degree, but it's not worth it right now for me. I only got it because worked paid for it all (based on my grades) and I went through the program with other people I worked with, so it was easier to rely on them if you had to miss class or needed something. If I were to quit my job today it would probably be useful in that it would make me slightly more attractive of a candidate because of it, but I'm not using it in my current job.
Old 12-28-11, 12:06 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

If you're going to further your education it's worth every penny. If you're going just so you can get a salary boost, save your money.
Old 12-28-11, 03:12 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post
If you're going to further your education it's worth every penny. If you're going just so you can get a salary boost, save your money.
Huh,
I would say the opposite. It's not worth getting a master's simply to better yourself or further your education. It's really only worth it if you are going to see a future benefit. There are plenty of other, much cheaper ways to further your education, they just don't come with the opportunities and benefits you see from that piece of paper.
Old 12-28-11, 06:27 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

I'd say after 5 years on the job, a masters is less important than total work experience. A masters will get you more pay to start with but if you take those years you were and worked instead I don't think the payback would be significant.
Old 12-28-11, 06:32 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

I have an MFA and it is required for me to teach in a tenured position at a 4-year University. For me there was no other choice.
Old 12-28-11, 06:45 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

Originally Posted by Decadance View Post
Well at UCF You Can't Fail.

(I have two MAs from UCF).
I've always heard it called You Can't Finish.
Old 12-28-11, 06:52 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

It is a tough call. I got mine, because it was paid for. However, I am working for people without Ms degrees because they have their time in, although they can't tell the difference between their ass and a drift tube....
Old 12-28-11, 06:57 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

Most masters are really not worth it (for the record I have a MS and an MBA) unless you want to remain a specialist for your entire career. Generally, most people will want something like an MBA that allows you a little more versatility.
Old 12-28-11, 07:45 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

MBAs are nice, I suppose. If you have an undergrad where you took no business or economic classes, it can really help.
Old 12-28-11, 11:41 PM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

I hope so, since I'm about to start my second semester towards my MBA.
Old 12-29-11, 12:57 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
I've always heard it called You Can't Finish.
The stupid kids call it that.
Old 12-29-11, 01:06 AM
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Re: Masters degree - is it worth it?

I'm shocked that speech language pathology was listed as one of the worst masters degrees for employment. I got a job on a phone interview to a place that I didn't even apply to (they called me based on someone seeing my resume elsewhere). I made the mistake of putting my name with a couple headhunters this time last year, and I STILL get weekly calls from people asking if i need a job--usually at 6 a.m. since I have an Oregon phone number but live in Alaska.

As for the question, yeah, for me it was worth it since there is very little employment for someone with a BA in communication disorders. Even less for someone with a BA in English (which is what I have--I had to do a year of postbac work to cross over to communication disorders). My BA led to no better employment than if I had just a high school diploma, but I pretty much love being an slp.

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