By Paul Silli
I was sitting at my kitchen table sipping some coffee casually reading a newspaper story which was about graduate students and their potential earnings. After reading the story, it made me re-think if getting my master’s degree is beneficial. Understand, I don’t like to second guess myself, but this article made me question my decision. The costs and time needed to complete any graduate program are extremely high. A friend of mine received his graduate degree in Electrical Engineering. He is now working for Hewlett Packard, and making a lot of money. So for him, it was worth it.
For me, when I leave school, I will owe more than $13,000 in loans. I am finding the classes to be fun and informative… but is this goal cost efficient? After speaking with my teacher pals, I found most of them do not have the energy or money to start and complete a graduate program. They often tell me “With my kids and household duties,” I simply don’t have the time.” 😉
According to salary.com: http://www.salary.com/learning/layouthtmls/leal_display_nocat_Ser285_Par409.html, research shows if a person achieves a master’s degree, in any field, the average annual salary is about $53,000. However, for teachers, the increase in salary is about 4%, (give or take), depending on the county. So, for example, if a teacher is making $40,000 a year, they would earn about $41,600 with a master’s degree. You don’t have to be a math teacher to see if you indebt yourself by $10,000 or more – for a degree, it would take near 10 years in “salary increases” just to break even.
As a teacher, I know there is “no price” for the wisdom and quality of learning I am receiving. But it does make me think. Before entering my graduate program, I did do plenty of research… however, this news story challenged my decision. So I ask: Will the long term benefits of a master’s degree outweigh the initial costs? What is knowledge truly worth?