Education

A Master’s Degree is Only Worth Your Money if it Satisfies These 3 Criteria

Joanne Poh 0 Comments

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Despite the rigorous education system Singaporeans are put through, it’s fairly rare for people here to obtain master’s degrees. Delaying entry into the workforce for another year or two while continuing to pay for tuition fees is too much of a sacrifice for the average Singaporean.

Yet it appears that the tides are a-changing, and more and more Singaporeans are opting to further their studies and obtain masters degrees. Local unis are offering more master’s programmes, and doing a part-time degree or stopping work for a year or two to get that master’s are looking more and more viable for young Singaporeans.

Here are three good reasons to get a master’s degree from a financial point of view. If cost is a big factor for you, you should tick the following three boxes before committing to a course.

 

Your current qualifications are limiting your career options

One reason many Singaporeans don’t go for master’s degrees is because the qualification will have little to no effect on their career options or salary. For instance, a law graduate with a masters of law typically gets paid the same starting salary when entering private practice as one with a bachelor’s degree.

But there are some situations where your existing highest qualification might be limiting you in your career, and you need to get a master’s degree in order to progress.

For instance, if you graduated with a bachelor’s degree majoring in psychology, you cannot be recognised as a psychologist without furthering your studies and obtaining at least a master’s degree. Architecture students in local universities need to have at least a master’s in order to become registered architects.

 

A master’s degree will help you to attain skills or make a change you can’t get just by working

Master’s degrees offer an easy way to feed yourself with the knowledge you might need to progress at work or force a career change, but a lot of times these skills can be picked up at the workplace or even on your own, at home.

If cost is a concern, you want to ensure before signing up for a master’s degree course that you’ll be picking up skills that are not only useful, but that you can’t just gain for free by working a couple of years.

For instance, if you’re in corporate communications but want to transition into SEO, social media management and marketing, there is really no need to sign up for a masters degree that covers marketing or digital media, since these are skills that are best learnt on the job. You might either have to ask your boss to help you expand your skillset or switch to a new role, but there is really no need to go back to school.

We often think of going back to school as an “easy” option if we can afford it, because we’ll be spoon fed with all the information we need in a short amount of time.

That’s really not accurate an accurate assumption, as most masters degree courses are peppered with modules you won’t be able to directly use at work anyway, and after graduation you’ll still have to spend some time getting up to speed in the actual workplace before you become truly employable.

Masters degrees can be a good way to help you to make a career change when you lack the skills to do so on your own. For instance, if you’re a civil engineer who wants to go into computer engineering, rather than redo your bachelor’s degree, one thing you can do is to pick up skills online and then go for a master’s degree in your new field.

 

It gels with your longterm goals

If you’re fresh out of school and are thinking of taking a master’s degree course without even experiencing work in your chosen field, stop right there you young whippersnapper.

A master’s degree is only worth the money if it gels with your longterm goals. Lots of young people whose parents have cash to burn end up furthering their studies just because they don’t want to enter the workforce yet.

This is problematic if you later realise you don’t like working in that field after all. While getting a basic degree is almost always justified even if you do something unrelated later on, a redundant master’s degree is just a waste of time and money, unless those are things you can afford to waste.

Would you consider enrolling in a master’s degree course? Tell us why or why not in the comments.

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

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