Going Back To School

Some of the books that I’ve been reading lately really push the fact that having a high level of education is something that will be very worthwhile for your career. And I couldn’t agree more; in our day and age any advantage that you can give yourself over the people who will be competing for your job is worth taking. With that said I have been mulling over the idea of going back to school to get my masters degree. I was originally debating getting an MBA but a master’s degree in management is just as worthwhile in my opinion.

As I’ve been thinking about this myself I went through the typical exercise of weighing the pros and cons to see if this was right for me or for anyone. First off I don’t think you can ever go wrong in continuing to expand your education but that doesn’t mean its right for you.

Pros

  • Increases your specialization in the workforce making you a better candidate for the job
  • It increases your qualifications for better and higher paying jobs
  • The higher your level of education the higher your annual salary
  • By Specializing you increase the number of opportunities that will cross your path
  • People will give you and your ideas more respect

Cons

  • You can become overspecialized limiting your potential job opportunities
  • Going back to school is extremely expensive – can be offset if working at the same time
  • It can take years to get an advanced degree especially if done part time
  • Disruptive to your life – going back to school is a life changing endeavor

Some of the biggest items in the Cons list are ones that don’t argue the pros but simply make you question if this is the right time or the thing for you. If you are a single parent holding down two jobs to make ends meet it might be hard to take even one class a week towards your degree. The costs and disruption to your life maybe too much to overcome, at least for the time being and this is why weighing the pros and cons is necessary when contemplating something such as going back to school.

Personally it’s not a matter of if I go back to school but when and I know what is involved since I’ve done it in the past. Thankfully in our day and age we’ve got a lot of options when it comes to continuing your education. A lot of schools now offer online course that can allow you to continue your education. I took this option when I first returned to finish my bachelor degree and it’ll be my choice for when I return. You just have to ensure that the courses you take are accredited so you don’t end up getting a degree from Bob’s University that no one acknowledges.

[tags]school, going back to school, pros and cons

2 thoughts on “Going Back To School”

  1. I think a lot of it is good PR for schools and nothing more. And a lot depends on your age. I went back to school in my 40s and went into computers. Made decent money till the tech crash. Now I’m back to making around $23k a year and have about $6k in student loan debt to pay back. Going back to school is useful only if you are A) fairly young B) are taking classes for something that might actually get you a higher paying job. Otherwise, you are stressing yourself out for no good reason. Too many people go back to school, ruining relationships and not really furthering themselves.

  2. Whoa! Sounds like Teri’s experience was painful. However, I can spin it the exact opposite. I too decided to go back to school in 1999, just before the tech crash to become a computer programmer. At the time I was making about the same as Teri, 20-23k.

    When I came out of school it was tough, it took a full 2 1/2 months of pounding doors before I even got a bite. However this initial bite opened doors for me and led to another job and then another. I went from making 20-23k in 1999 to making 60k by the end of 2000. So my experience was very positive.

    I think education is always a good investment. No matter what happens no one can take it away from you, and more often than not it will improve your career choices and compensation.

    I would be curious to hear why Teri has settled back into her old career and had to abandon the IT world. I don’t know where she lives, but here in Calgary there are jobs abound in IT.

    I recall in our programming class we started with 29 students, finished with only 13 and out of those 13 only 9 graduated. I think in the late 90’s there were a lot of people rushing to cash in on the tech boom, whether it was stocks or careers. Unfortunately many of these people were expecting an easy ride without putting the effort in, or not doing it for the right reasons (ie. because you love programming).

    IMHO 🙂

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