Master’s Degree vs Work Experience: What is the Right Path for Me?

The debate between first gaining experience working jobs vs master’s right after graduating college has been going on for years. It’s no surprise that there are varying points of view when it comes to this topic, and the truth of the matter is, there is no correct answer. Each of these paths has its pros and cons.

In this article, we help you decide between leveling up your career via a master’s degree or work experience by listing down the advantages and disadvantages of each one. Keep reading to gain clarity on your path ahead!

masters degree

Applying for a Master’s Degree Before Working

Committing to a master’s degree right after college is a worthy goal that can assure you a fruitful future. Indeed, this path will give you access to new opportunities and make you more valuable in the workforce, but it will also be mentally taxing.

Below are some pros and cons of choosing to immediately pursue graduate school right after college:

Pros

New Opportunities

Having a master’s degree on your résumé when you apply for jobs makes you a coveted candidate for recruiters. This is because the theoretical knowledge and specialized techniques you learned can easily be applied to the position you’re vying for.

Possessing a master’s degree makes you eligible to apply for higher positions at work and it gives you the opportunity to receive a higher salary. In a study conducted in 2020 by students from the De La Salle University-Manila, they’ve proven that individuals who possess a master’s degree earn significantly more than those who don’t possess one.

Career Specialization

Specializing in a certain track for your profession isn’t unheard of and further education can help you achieve just that. By diving into a master’s for your line of work, you become more valuable to your industry. This is because of the technical knowledge that you learn from your professors.

The technical knowledge you gain gives you a better understanding of the intricacies of your industry, making your inputs invaluable to your company.

Self-Fulfillment

Attaining a master’s degree is an achievement that can only be accomplished with the right discipline and mental aptitude. Not to mention that the confidence you attain because of this rigorous process can help you in your employment.

Cons

Financial Responsibility

Applying for graduate school right out of college can lead to some financial restrictions for you, particularly if you lack financial support. You’ll need to save up early on to pay for your master’s degree if you don’t get access to a scholarship.

Fortunately, there are various scholarships available to fresh college graduates like you. This type of financial aid will investigate your academic merits and fiscal capabilities before granting you funding, so it does pay to be diligent in your academics.

Lack of time

Pursuing higher education will leave you with a great deal of pages for readings, numerous papers to write, and meaningful discussions to participate in. What this means for the post-graduate student is that the academic obligations of an MA candidate won’t leave you with as much leisure time as everyone else.

You can opt for an online master’s program to help you with flexibility, but the academic burden will remain the same.

applying for a job before masters

Looking for a Job and Working Before Master’s

Applying for a job right after college has financial advantages that you can reap immediately. It can also give you practical knowledge that you can apply to your academic pursuit, should you choose to go in the future.  

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of finding a job right after college:

Pros

Real-World Experience

Applying for a job can give you real-world experience that you can’t get anywhere else. These experiences can lead you to become an efficient professional who knows the ins and outs of their industry early on in your career.

Your field experience can also come in handy if you decide to apply for graduate school, because you can apply it to the theoretical knowledge you’ll get in school.

Financial Stability

Gaining employment right after college can give you a chance to save up for your financial goals and allow you to pursue things that you couldn’t before.

Cons

Qualifications

Choosing to find employment right out of college can be quite difficult because of the saturation of job applicants. Your résumé may be passed over for an applicant who has a better academic record, more experience, or a better culture fit.

Each applicant is different, and some have a competitive edge over others in the job market. This could be through the awards they gained in school, the degree they possess, and the confidence they have when presenting themselves to interviewers.   

Stagnation

After some time in the workforce, you’ll eventually reach a job ceiling because you lack some qualifications for a promotion. Like it or not, there are jobs that require a master’s degree and your company may have set these requirements for the position you’re appealing for.

The lack of movement in your career can leave you feeling like you’ve stagnated.

Difficulty in Adapting

Delaying your master’s degree can lead you to have some difficulty in assimilating back to school. Dilemmas like this can arise because you’re no longer used to the academic demands of higher education.

Adding a new factor to your routine so suddenly can also lead you to have a challenging time in balancing your responsibilities.

Making the Choice Between Finding a Job vs Doing Master’s Degree

One of the most common misconceptions you’ve probably heard is that you can only choose between a job or masters, but that’s simply not true.

The reality is when you’re pursuing higher education, your institution gives you the freedom to plan out your studies according to your time and budget. So, you won’t ever have to choose between advancing your career or earning money.

All your future plans after a master’s degree can come true if you wisely structure your academic load for each semester and follow it religiously. Through this practice, you can secure your future while working on your present.

Advancing Your Career with OEd

We hope that you gained clarity on whether to pursue a master’s degree before work or work before master’s. This kind of decision impacts your future earning potential and the trajectory of your career, so it’s essential that you plan for the road ahead.

Choosing an institution that can cater to your schedule and your needs is key to achieving success. AMA Post Grad provides you with the freedom to confidently pursue your studies while working by giving you a pure online setup and a flexible learning schedule.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about the versatile educational structure we can provide for you.

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