Master’s Degree or a Second Career
The reasons for thinking about studying a master’s degree are quite numerous. One of the most common occurs when you end up developing in an area other than your undergraduate studies by chance in life. The question often arises from this situation as to whether it is better to study a second degree or a master’s degree. It is a complex decision worth analyzing in-depth as it will require you to invest resources in all senses: time, money, and effort.
Before making a decision and starting any procedure, it is important to know that you will not always be able to do a master’s degree. Next, we will tell you when it is possible and better to opt for a second career.
Can I study a master’s degree different from my career?
If you are deciding between going for a second degree or a master’s degree and you feel more interested in the latter, it is important to know that there are two types of master’s degrees open to any profile. These are:
MBA (Master of Business Administration)
This acronym stands for Master of Business Administration. According to Forbes, this degree is ideal for those seeking managerial or senior management positions.
It is usually a good alternative when:
- Your career change has occurred gradually and naturally, leading you to higher positions.
- You have reached a limit in knowledge and studies.
- You would like to stay in the corporate world and keep climbing in it.
This Master’s degree is a continuation from where you stopped as an undergraduate. However, at this stage, you bring analysis skills to bear in tackling issues. Indeed, it is true that for some courses having a bachelor’s degree in that field is not required. This type of Master’s degree is a precursor to the pursuit of a doctorate.
Study a second degree or a master’s degree, what is recommended?
Based on the above, surely you already have a general idea of when each option is better. If you have doubts, here are the advantages and disadvantages of both options:
Advantages of studying a second degree
Enrolling in a second career should be a considered decision. Dedicating four more courses to studies requires careful thought. However, taking the step has many positive aspects:
- You acquire complete knowledge of this new area, which will help you correct errors and supplement the information you do not have.
- You obtain a professional degree that allows you to climb from low to medium positions, which is ideal when your company does not see enough experience.
- You complement your knowledge, which allows you to expand the services you offer to your clients.
- It allows a change of perspective. The Master’s degrees are aimed at students who already have university studies. Consequently, the evaluation methodology and systems are often different to grade.
Disadvantages of going for a second degree
- Studying a second career takes longer, at least three years. This will depend on the chosen career and university.
- You sacrifice moments of relaxation and time with your family, so it is advisable to assess whether this is feasible or if shorter courses are the best option (e.g., diplomas, courses, and workshops).
Advantages of opting for a master’s degree
When in doubt, the negative consequences of each decision can block us. In a sense, it is important to try to find the strengths of each option. If you are studying for a master’s degree, these are some of the advantages you can benefit from:
- They are much shorter than a second degree since they last an average of two years and require less time of dedication because the hours and study programs are more flexible.
- Master’s degrees are seen with greater academic weight than a second degree, the value that is rewarded with better positions and salaries.
- You gain in-depth, specialized knowledge in the area that interests you.
- The change of perspective: The Master’s degrees are aimed at students who already have university studies. Consequently, the evaluation methodology and systems are often different to grade.
Disadvantages of studying a master’s degree
- The investment of time and money required is greater than in a career or continuing education programs.
- Depending on the chosen Master’s degree and its program, it is necessary to stop working to attend the studies in some cases.
What to Consider Before Deciding
Decision making always has its pros and cons. When we choose one path, we usually have to give up another. That is why we must ask ourselves a series of preliminary questions before reaching any conclusion. Having reflected on the subject will make us feel more confident in deciding. Although getting a Master’s degree is indeed more beneficial for your professional career rather than getting a second degree, you don’t want to make it halfway through graduate school and discover that you weren’t as enthusiastic about this professional line as you had initially imagined. Below we have mentioned out some factors you should consider before making the final decision:
Explore Your New Career Field First
It is not until you finish a degree before you try out other interests. Pick up an elective in another field to determine whether you are interested in another field.
Take, for instance, you like arts, but you haven’t taken any art courses. Take ana art course or look into internships you may already qualify for before investing thousands of dollars in additional education.
Shadow a Professional
Do you have an idea what it looks like to go for a postgraduate study in your field? Many professionals will give you an insight into what their professional life is all about for you to determine whether this is a journey you want to embark upon after you finish your first degree. Visit your institution’s counseling or career services department to fix a shadow day.
Talk To a Graduate School Advisor
Make an appointment with a graduate advisor to research the requirement needed to acquire a master’s degree. Going through a course catalog is quite essential. Still, knowing the courses, you will take based on your first degree is a significant factor in considering whether to continue in that field or go for a second degree.
Check the offer of masters and degrees and select the ones that attract you the most. Your passion should most times determine what you want to do, whether it is to further your education in a particular field or start afresh.
Find out about the possibilities of distance study. Decide how much work and dedication you can take on. Take into account the economic factor. A new degree and a master’s degree require a different investment. Think about your academic future. Does the idea of studying for a doctorate or taking public exams attract you? Put vocation and employability on balance. What leads you to start this new stage?
With this small guide, we are sure that it has become clearer to you if it is better to study a second career or a master’s degree according to your profile.
Analyze in detail the advantages that each one has and choose what best meets your current needs.