Master’s or PhD.: Which Should You Choose?

Graduates w DiplomasIf you’re planning on applying to graduate school or are already attending, you may struggle with the decision of how far to take your education. What are the advantages of obtaining a terminal degree? Do you really want to spend years in school to get a doctorate? Will you be better off in the long run to stop with a master’s? The answers to these questions depend on your individual career goals and interests. Some important points to help you decide:

Pursue a master’s degree if …

– You want to become qualified for more jobs in your industry.

– You want to increase your earning potential.

– You are interested in teaching at a community or technical college, or as a lecturer/instructor at a four-year university.

– Wish to finish your education within the next two to three years.

– You are more interested in working in industry rather than academia.

Pursue a PhD if…

– You want to conduct research in your field of study.

– You want to work as a professor at a four year college or university.

– You have an intense interest in a specific area of study.

– You love learning and don’t mind going to school for several more years.

– You are willing to relocate for jobs and research opportunities.

– There are lucrative job opportunities for PhD holders in your field.

In general, those seeking a PhD are willing to sacrifice time and money in order to pursue their interests. PhD holders can make high salaries, especially consultants or industry executives. However, pursuing a doctorate often means working for modest wages for many years or even decades. If you are committed to becoming an expert in your field and overseeing research, a PhD may be the best choice. If you don’t have the patience to spend five or more years obtaining a graduate degree but want to increase your career prospects, a master’s degree is a good option. You can always return to school later to pursue a terminal degree.