Thousands of new college grads will enter the workforce this year, but with unemployment at 8.2% and underemployment near 18%, many will put off the taxing job search process and opt out of the weak job market to pursue graduate degrees.
“In a technology driven world, the need for those who not only understand, but can improve upon technology is high,” Bardaro says. “As businesses of all types depend upon technology to get things done, computer science degree-holders will remain in high demand.” (…)
Not all master’s degree holders enjoy anywhere near such optimistic job prospects or extraordinary pay. Getting a master’s in library and information science, English, music, or education can be extremely gratifying but pricy. Median mid-career median pay for all those degrees is under $63,000, and employment for them isn’t expected to grow significantly over the next few years.
Library and information science degree-holders bring in $57,600 mid-career, on average. Common jobs for them are school librarian, library director and reference librarian, and there are expected to be just 8.5% more of them by 2020. The low pay rank and estimated growth rank make library and information science the worst master’s degree for jobs right now. (…)
“People may pursue a master’s degree in the hopes of a higher salary, but it doesn’t always work out,” she says. “Two absolute benefits of graduate education are increased knowledge in a field and the ability to set oneself apart from those with only a bachelor’s degree. However, these two things together might not be enough for a given person.”
These may be the best and worst master’s degrees in terms of pay and employment opportunities, but it’s also important to think about work-life balance and employee satisfaction for the common jobs associated with these degrees. “You need to consider overall happiness,” Bardaro says. “If obtaining a master’s degree causes an imbalance due to time devoted to education and potentially more stress at work, then one will need to decide if these costs are worth it. Evaluating the benefits of a master’s degree is not just about the potential for higher pay, but also about the opportunities it will bring, the skills and knowledge it can provide, and overall satisfaction.”