Going to graduate school isn’t considered necessary for most careers, but it can provide a boost for many jobs. Deciding to further your education is not something you should take lightly. There are sacrifices involved, for you and members of your household, but the benefits can outweigh any temporary drawbacks. Whether you are considering returning to school, or continuing your education, it is important to consider the positives and the negatives.
Have a Plan for Your Education
Too often, people go back to school because they are unhappy with their careers. This can work if you have a clear plan for how your degree will improve your quality of life. It becomes a problem when people use college as an attempt to avoid what is happening in real life. College is often the last carefree memory people have before entering the working world. If you are unhappy with your job, boss, coworkers, or career trajectory, it is easy to idolize that time and want to return to it. This is not healthy and, unless you deal with the issues that are making you unhappy, you will find yourself in the same situation again, only older and with more debt.
Understand the Costs and How they Relate to Future Income
Money and time spent on education are never wasted, but it is still important to plan for it. Having a vague idea of returning to school to be more attractive to prospective employers is not enough. You need to think about what you want to do with your career and decide how a graduate degree can help you get there. Law school is one example of a degree that can make you more attractive to employers. Taking out student loans to pay for expensive tuition payments is a good investment. Graduates are highly employable, earn a healthy income, and are in demand. Individuals with law degrees don’t always practice law. They may work in politics or business. Investing in a law degree would not be considered risky.
Research the Future Job Market
Before you decide to continue your education, understand what your future employment options will be. If you are happy with your job but need a graduate degree to advance, you can look to be people in positions above you to see what the work and responsibility look like. If you are thinking of changing careers entirely, talk to people in your prospective field. What is a typical day like? How is the work environment? You don’t want to further invest in your education only to find out there are obvious things about the career that you don’t care for.
Also, consider the finances of a graduate degree. Will you be able to continue to work while earning your degree? Will you have to take out loans to fund your living expenses as well as your school expenses? Doing so isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just make sure that your future job will provide the kind of income necessary to pay back your loans while still offering you a satisfactory quality of life.